all about me

 

That’s Dorian Grey?  It’s the 100th time now, said my friend with very apparent exaggeration and a genuine look of disgust. This, however, was a ruse to recommend me the latest book she was reading, a love story, “Me before you” by Jojo Moyes. I don’t mind rereading and genres don’t concern me. Hence I thought I’d give it a chance but I don’t trust her taste therefore when it wasn’t available for free on the world wide web and with talks going on for turning it into a movie I skipped buying it telling her I’ll watch the movie and telling myself I’ll hold on to my money for now.

That was in 2013 and I had forgotten all about it until one fine day in 2017 the internet informed me of the movie and I watched it.

“Me before you” is a romance novel first published on January 2012. Although it may seem realistic, the book is a work of fiction, a romantic story of a wealthy man with disability Will Traynor and his caregiver Louisa Clark, living amid the people who try to convince him not to take his own life; they fail and he dies. It is an “autobiographical” account of Will after he has been quadriplegic since a road accident several years earlier. The plot is the same in the film.  In one of the scene, he says, “I get that this could be a good life, but it’s not my life. I can’t be the sort of man who accepts this.” Since throughout the movie Will is shown to be strong, determined and uncompromising, it seems clear that the “sort of man” who would put up with a paralyzed body and its demands could only be inferior to him. The idea that it is better to be dead than live with disabilities has been showcased many times.  Like in Million Dollar Baby, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, The Sea Inside and etc. Television Film Theater all seems to love those individuals who want to die; they’re less keen to cover the rest “who want to live”.

When able people talk about suicide, they’re discouraged, offered prevention, psychiatric support because then suicide is never seen as desirable. When a person with disability talks of it, suddenly the conversation is overtaken with words like ‘choice’  ‘autonomy’ ‘freedom’ ‘out of love’ and people rush to uphold these prized principles then the talk of prevention and mental health support are rare. What kind of message is this since when did suicide become ok?

It’s said only the injured can understand the pain of the wounded, do we really need be injured to understand the right to life of the person with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 thoughts on “all about me

  1. albert says:

    Powerful reflection, Srijana. I’m with you on this.

    (Maybe you read some of my Charlie stories. If so, you see there the other side of this issue. Paralyzed at 60 from a tragic fall, he never gave up. Well, he almost did at first, but his doctor told him that he had more teaching to do. And with the love and support of friends, he carried on. No, he LIVED as he had done before–fully, beautifully, though in constant pain and prone to discouragement. It was both a joy and a sorrow to be his friend. I miss him.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Srijana says:

      Yes, I have read some of Charlie stories and it encourages to me be me.When a person has a acquired*disability everything you thought you are changes , and to have a friendship that didn’t change is a blessing .You are wonderfully good person Albert

      Like

  2. Alex says:

    Your last question is a very good question. One that I’ve asked myself many times. From my perspective, we are all “disabled” is some way. Depending on the level of “disability” many people try to ignore or deny any “disability” they may have which, I believe, causes the to deny or try to ignore the “disabililties” of others. I have found that understanding my “disability” helps me to understand others. If I were to deny my “disability” then I would be denying who I am and also lose the empathy or understanding for the “disabilities” of others. In other words, I would lose my compassion for others. I myself have received very little compassion in this life. In fact I’ve suffered greatly because my “disability” isn’t in view physically. Though it used to make me angry being treated with such disregard simply because people couldn’t understand nor see my “disability”, it caused me to treat others as I would have liked others to treat me, with respect and compassion. Therefore, possibly affirming the thought within the question, without understanding my own “disability” I might not have understanding, respect and compassion for the “disabilities” of others. I can’t say for sure being that I’ve been “disabled” all my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Srijana says:

      Correct, if we deny our disability we would be denying our very self. I understand that invisible disability is so much difficult than a visible disability to understand and comprehend just by seeing a person .I too have my stories When people didn’t understand that I had a disability and am not sorry that I do but it would wonderfully refreshing if I was not thought to be faking the disability

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alex says:

        I had an interesting experience over the last two days that brought your post to mind. I train people to become certified so they can be employed. In the last two days I’ve come across 3 people whom I spent many hours each going through the steps to become certified. I worked one on one with them because I really want them to succeed. Each of them told me that they couldn’t learn the 10 steps that I created to simplify the tasks because they each have different “disabilities.” It caused me to think of how so many people, at least here in the US, talk about their “disabilities” as weaknesses that prevent them from doing certain things and they expect special privileges. This in itself can cause some bad feelings from supposed “normal” people. I can’t treat these supposed disabled people differently than “normal” people. So many “disabled people don’t want to be known for their “disabilities.” I can understand a ramp for wheelchairs and others who can’t go up stairs but beyond that I would think they would want to be treated like anyone else. At least that is what you seem to be expressing here. I just found this interesting to see people using their disabilities trying to get a free ride, something I can’t and won’t do. Anyway, just some further thoughts I had.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Son of a Sailor says:

    I think most people are about as disabled as they act- some fully able people act much worse than those with true disability,,,,take the people who roll around my grocery store in the electronic carts,,,,,but they’re fully able just lazy-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Srijana says:

      True that .we don’t see people with electronic carts here I don’t think anyone in Nepal has it ..But I have seen movies vids and news, until it’s absolutely necessary it’s wrong to use them it gives the others that genuinely need it bad name

      Like

    • unconventional wisdom says:

      How do you know they are fully able? Could it be that you are making assumptions based on their looks? I am one of those people that looks great, very healthy, but suffer from a very debilitating pain-based condition. Unless it’s your mates who are doing that, people you know very well, I’d suggest you can never be sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Son of a Sailor says:

        Great comment thank you. But, my comment was that “most people are about as disabled as they act, with some fully able people act much worse”- I’ve met some folks who had a lot of physical disability but were a lot less disabled than me because of how they acted on a daily basis. Two weeks ago I ate lunch with a skier going to the next Olympics in Korea,,,,and he was a lot more able than me in so many ways. I don’t judge by how people look, I look at how they act and project. Pain based conditions in folks who look perfectly healthy are really hard for most to understand and deal with unless you have some empathy. Thank you for your comments. Hope you choose to follow us-

        Like

      • Srijana says:

        I am just the same case as you minus the pain and adding cerebellum problem so no one knows unless I show my walking stick but even then I am looked as an animal escaped from the zoo 😁

        Like

  4. Charlotte Poetschner says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. And your words have my brain going in many directions. Years ago (like before the internet) one of my “reders” when I was in graduate school had come across a set of “rights” that persons with disabilities would appreciate. This was before scanners and things, so my reader read the document and I’ve never come across it again.

    But listed in those “rights” were things like … the right for a person with a disability to have a bad day and not have everyone constantly assume that it meant you weren’t dealing well with your disability.

    I remember that each item also gave a brief explanation and, in this case, mentioned that the able-bodied (so-called) are much less afraid, much more comfortable around the “happy” person with a disability. Which, in essence, steals the full range of emotions from those of us who have any sort of disability.

    Which, to get back to what your post discusses, means that we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. There is pressure put on us to be “happy”, to help those around us feel less afraid. Yet, since we are human, we have at least a normal number of bad days. But bad days, or even bad weeks or months, or depression that needs medical attention, doesn’t necessarily have its roots in whether we are disabled or not. Sometimes we’re just having a regular, old bad day like anybody else.

    I was not familiar with the book or movie, but I very much agree with your opinion. Had the main character not had a disability and was considering suicide, we’d be checking him into a mental health doctor. Or, if the story line made out that the main character wasn’t depressed, just, well, thought he’d choose suicide, then we’d be surprised or offended. What’s up? Why’s he throwing his life away?

    But give him a disability–visible or invisible–and, oh, yes, I see…, of course he’s thinking about ending his sad, damaged life.

    That’s where prejudice slips in wearing the mask of compassion. It shows how people with disabilities are seen as “less than” whole. It de-humanizes. Yet wholeness, fullness of humanity, has very little to do with the things we label “disabilities.”

    Thank you for your thoughtful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Srijana says:

      Yes. As you put it so nicely there is pressure put on to be happy always t. o be above to uplift others but we do have bad and that people don’t seem to understand that’s so frustrating at times .I want to write so much but then I can’t put all my feeling into words thank you for reading and writing. Thank you

      Like

  5. unconventional wisdom says:

    Interesting post. I certainly saw your theory in action when my dad, who was disabled, was in hospital and all the able-bodied doctors and nurses seemed to see death as the best option for him. It was necessary to prove to them that he had a meaningful life… edited a magazine, was an artist, went to concerts, had a good sense of humour etc and to fight for this right to treatment.

    Like

  6. bethanyk says:

    I read the book . On the last page I threw the book across the room. Then got up. Got in my wheelchair and threw it outside in the garbage. Never has a book enraged me like this one

    Like

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