#LiveBoldly You And I – #MeWithYou

This post is to add my voice to the many disabled people protesting the film “Me Before You”, and the unsatisfactory responses of the actors of the film, and the writer of the book (the film is based on a book)

First, I ask you to read this review. It tells you all you need to know about the film, and why we protest it. I will just quote one sentence here but the whole article is brilliant.

“Live into your disability.” (Richard Propes)

One of the people involved with the film said that the story was only one case, that it was unfair that protesters were calling the film a “snuff movie”, a movie that makes disability worse than death, and that we should walk in people’s shoes.

So, the film defenders want us, disabled people to walk in disabled people’s shoes.

Confusing?

Not really. We are supposed to walk on disabled-people-who-want-to-die shoes. Our own shoes, the shoes of disabled people who do #LiveBoldly, who are proud, who fight against ableism, those shoes will not serve the film’s purpose of cheap tears at the expense of our right to live disabled.

The “walk in people’s shoes” is an end-of-conversation phrase very well known to disabled activists. It is used by non-disabled people to justify silencing, dismissal, abuse and even murder of disabled people. It is very convenient to ignore that we have shoes too. Instead of trying to walk in our shoes, some people prefer to throw them out, while we are wearing them.

The perception that being disabled is the worst thing that can happen to a person is not new, but it is a wrong assumption.

If you need a lot of help, you are expected to feel shame.

If you need a lot of help, you are expected to feel like a burden to others.

If you need a lot of help, you are expected to devalue your needs and see them as nuisances.

If you need a lot of help, you are expected to have no expectations of a fulfilling life.

If you need a lot of help, you are expected to want to be out of the way.

I need a lot of help and I reject these non-disabled ableist expectations.

I need a lot of help and I #LiveBoldly.

I am not a quadriplegic like the character in the film, even if I sometimes need a wheelchair. I have cerebral palsy, and I am Autistic and epileptic, with intractable seizures. I am not in a romantic relationship but I do have a best friend who is also my caregiver/assistant and in our relationship there is no #MeBeforeYou. My quality of life is defined by what I can do – with help, not by ableist assumptions. My friend’s quality of life would not improve if I died because her life would not have me in it. We are both active participants in our lives together. We #LiveBoldly and because I am not a passive presence in my own life, I lead the “Boldly” part, and she supports me.

In my disabled life, the theme is – Me With You.

Some great posts (there are many more) by other disabled people, and one by a partner of a disabled person who also #LiveBoldly with her:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-suicide-disability-me-before-you-perspec-0601-md-20160531-story.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mik-scarlet/everyone-before-me-or-so-it-seems_b_10211318.html?edition=uk

http://cdrnys.org/blog/advocacy/hollywood-lies-i-prefer-my-disabled-girlfriend-alive/

https://medium.com/@OptimisticGrin/people-who-use-wheelchairs-dont-actually-want-to-kill-themselves-d76493596eb6#.mjvidtbci

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jun/02/me-before-you-disabled-backlash-not-pitied?CMP=share_btn_tw

Image has the text "It is very convenient to ignore that we have shoes too. Instead of trying to walk in our shoes, some people prefer to throw them out, while we are wearing them. awnnetwork.org" Background photo is a pair of green sneakers sitting sitting on a wooden staircase.
Image has the text “It is very convenient to ignore that we have shoes too. Instead of trying to walk in our shoes, some people prefer to throw them out, while we are wearing them. awnnetwork.org” Background photo is a pair of green sneakers sitting sitting on a wooden staircase.

4 thoughts on “#LiveBoldly You And I – #MeWithYou”

  1. Pingback: Appalachian aspie part two.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. And for speaking up in protest. I didn’t know about the film. I can relate to so much of what you wrote about the expectations towards disabled people. Let them walk in my shoes!!!!!!!!

  3. :D! I got to meet both of you at least once.

    “My friend’s quality of life would not improve if I died because her life would not have me in it.”

    EXACTLY. It’s funny, If my best friend died my quality of life not only wouldn’t improve— It would drop dramatically. For a couple of days I would just be an inconsolable wreck, unable to conceive of Reality as it was. Even thinking of it causes me to crack up, actually, particularly if I imagine the immediate, specific consequences.

    Care-giving has multiple meanings, and there’s multiple ways to do it. She assists you with things you need help to do, but I’m pretty sure that applies vice-versa to emotional problems and other personal needs. <3 No one can exist alone, yet we stigmatize people who need certain kinds of help. This movie paints a picture of disability that's sickening to people who have lived it.

  4. Great post. Thanks for writing. I too am against the film (and book).
    I am not disabled myself, I am the mother of a wonderful autistic daughter. I feel strongly that every life is valid and beautiful. Disability is not something to pity and look down on. Each person is an individual. The support my daughter receives is what she needs. However I will always encourage and support her to live boldly by her own rules.
    Hope that made sense xxx

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