There’s different ways you can look at the movie (I have not seen it yet, but I know how it ends, I’ve seen the trailer and what different critics are saying about it). Unfortunately, one of the main characters, the guy who becomes paralyzed in the movie commits suicide, even though I was told “he changes his partner’s life profoundly and impacts her positively in their journey.” That is something I respect. I also know not everyone who sustains a spinal cord injury or faces a traumatic life changing event can overcome it and commits suicide. That is a reality for some people and a very sad one; a cause we should all care about as society and that we must fight to prevent because every single life matters. My main purpose with sharing my thoughts on this, is NOT to bash this particular movie. I am actually reading the book and will probably laugh, cry and more while reading it and will be going to watch this movie with my fiance. My goal is to inspire change, for us to move forward.
Although for many of us who have been injured and paralyzed, our lives have changed completely, I can honestly say for myself, I never considered suicide because I was now going to have to live life in a wheelchair! See every story is different. I was paralyzed in a freaky car accident, and let’s just say that I was very lucky to survive. I wanted to be grateful towards life, regardless because my boyfriend at the time didn’t survive… But I will always be grateful because he saved my life. My biggest loss? Losing a loved one, not the ability to walk. But I gained my drive from realizing how lucky I was to be here. No, it wasn’t easy specially at first, but I’ve moved on and all of you who know or follow me, know how hard I fight to live a happy life, and to even more, inject positivity and gratefulness into other people! And I can also honestly say that even though living with a disability can be challenging and at times bring depression to some people, like any other human being at a low point, I can also say that so many of the people I have encountered who live life in a wheelchair or with a disability are so amazing and BEYOND POSITIVE, and more positive than a lot of people who seem to have “full abilities” . Seriously!
So also understand our side when many of us fight arduously to get ahead, to accomplish our dreams and goals, to despite any challenges we may live with, we choose to live a HAPPY AND PRODUCTIVE LIFE with a DISABILITY. Take Christopher Reeves, a high level quadriplegic too, as an example and everything he did, his legacy… And then we see things like this, that can say, “if you are severely disabled you’re better off dead” or “if you’re severely disabled life will not be happy”… this in a way feels like a slap in the face to many of us!
However, also being objective, it is a movie, one more plot, one more love story, and certainly full of drama. Suicide IS a reality for many people sadly, disabled or not and every single life IS WORTH LIVING! But this is a conversation at least that SHOULD BE HAPPENING and what I honestly hope is simply that more ACTUAL POSITIVE STORIES OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH A DISABILITY ARE PORTRAYED IN HOLLYWOOD OR ON THE BIG SCREEN because we need those stories to be heard to break negative stereotypes and perceptions!! Because as a community, the disability community, we have progressed so much and we want Hollywood, and people at large ultimately, to catch up to speed and see this!!! BUT NOT JUST FOR US AS THE DISABLED COMMUNITY, BUT BECAUSE OF THE MESSAGE IT’S SENDING TO THE MASSES, TO SOCIETY!!
*PLEASE IMAGINE THIS, watching this movie, how it touches you and makes you cry, it makes you sad and what would you think after? Some might think “that would stuck if that was me” The person in the wheelchair… Because you see how bad it is, what a “miserable” or sad life that could be… But wait, imagine, what if that really then became YOU? What if you became a quadriplegic after watching this movie?! It’s very possible, at anytime that can happen to ANYONE. Think of what this movie is saying, the message and how powerful it can be! Wouldn’t you want to see a beautiful love story where yes someone had a disability, but still found Love and made the best of his or her life as his or her partner’s too?!?!
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● I just want to end this by sharing an inside Story, and a very personal one to me, my love story! My fiance and I reunited years later after meeting in high school. It was the worst time in both of our heads to be in a relationship, it’s the last thing we thought about, we didn’t want to get in a relationship… But what is meant to be, is meant to be and this love story happened in God’s time. We never dated in high school, but Chris, my fiance, remembers having a big crush on me as he sat behind me in math class. Years later we reunited and I was now single, and in a wheelchair. Prior to that, he had struggled with finding love, just at a low point, in different ways… he wanted to believe in God and that he had good things in store for him…but wondered if God would have something positive for him… he was broken and after getting together with me, even though my life isn’t easy, I am grateful for everything that I have and he says I am like “his angel and that his life has really changed for him in a positive way and in a profound way, because of me.” His faith in God has been completely renewed in part because of my faith in God and what I’ve shared with him. He has seen how great God is and how his life has changed as he continues to believe in him. And we got engaged! He proposed to me on TV (“Que Noche” Telemundo) and we are making the best of life, together! As I say, “he walks and I roll, but always together. No matter what, we roll proud and strong. And we thank God for bringing us together.” ♡
The fact that my fiancé sees me as “his angel” and says that his life is better now because I’m in it is so touching and beautiful… (it makes me tear up thinking about it) and yes I happen to have a disability. But that’s not what makes me who I am. As a matter of fact, the things he liked about me when we were young and 16 are still things he loves about me now. It’s still me, I just roll on two wheels and became a somewhat better version of myself. And I feel that way because I’m actually stronger after facing my car accident. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not gone through everything I’ve faced. After acquiring a disability and overcoming adversity, I consider myself a better person all around and feel blessed that I can be a blessing to him too and his family. I’m so happy to share these recent photos that mean the world to me, our engagement photos by photographer Jeff Bradshaw. Our love is a blessing!!
☆ Can you imagine if Hollywood, if more #producers, #writers the #filmindustry were open to sharing a story that looks more like this? This is only one example of many positive love stories of people living with paralysis or disability, moving on in life happily and finding love. That would be a step in the right direction and clearly we are not there yet. But with a post like this, with us sharing our real positive stories, living with a disability, I hope we get closer! It’s time to move forward!
THIS is a conversation that NEEDS TO BE HAPPENING, so I’m a glad this movie gives us the chance to do so! (See, that’s the forever optimist in me ). I love romantic movies and want to see this as a romance/drama movie, but it is important to evaluate its message and for people to think about all of this, to be aware, to not let stories like this that are getting so much attention, affect the way they may see life for someone living with a disability. I’m not bashing the movie. I couldn’t just not share this, because not everyone who lives with a disability sees life in a wheelchair negatively, so much to end it… And I just hope this can impact someone positively because every life matters.
IF YOU ARE LIVING WITH A DISABILITY OR JUST ACQUIRED ONE AND HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT GIVING UP ON LIFE, PLEASE DON’T! THERE IS SO MUCH YOU CAN STILL DO! I have seriously done more IN MY WHEELCHAIR than I would’ve thought before my accident. Please ask for help if you’ve considered suicide. As far as love? We all experience heartache, and it doesn’t matter your gender, race, abilities, etc. BUT NEVER GIVE UP ON LIFE OR ON LOVE. I promise you will find the right person. Sometimes you have to go through heartache or a long journey before you find that special one, but that journey, prepares you and leads you to the one for you. Don’t give up the hope, keep believing! Blessings
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