I'm 23 years old, and I have a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy that will eventually kill me. Obviously, he decides he wants to kill himself, because life in a wheelchair is not worth living. In case you haven’t seen the overly-dramatic previews, here’s a quick rundown of the plot: Handsome, wealthy young man with everything going for him, Will, suffers the tragic misfortune of becoming paralyzed after an accident.
I understand that the issue of assisted suicide is incredibly complex, and it’s unfair of me to suggest that everyone with a physical disability loves life as much as I do, but that’s sort of exactly my point! The Masses will never be able to distinguish between Will’s story and the Universal Truth about living with a disability, which is a problem, because it will influence how they think about disability in the future.
I believe that life is beautiful, with or without my disease, and I can introduce you to thousands of my wheelchair brethren who feel the same way—successful, awesome, happy people who are insulted by the notion that their wheelchairs make life not worth living.
This film is not an accurate depiction of typical life with a disability, or even life in general, and I hope that you (don’t) enjoy it accordingly.
Unfortunately, they took those realities and blew them up to a ridiculous degree so that the message became: being in a wheelchair is so awful that you’d be better off dead.
If you’ve followed my escapades over the last five years, you should recognize immediately that the above statement is absurd.
On a daily basis, I am floored by how incredible it is to be alive. I have worked hard and created a successful, fulfilling life for myself. Those feelings are rare, and when I have them, I do my best to refocus my mind on happy things like love, chocolate, swimming, cuddling, Pringles, forests, friendship, cats, music, sunshine, picnics, cuddling, flowers, shopping, eating, laughing, cuddling, learning, writing, green tea, and about a million more things.
I wake up every morning thirsty for more experience. Are there days when I get frustrated at having to ask for help? Am I occasionally terrified of my disease getting worse? Do I worry about burdening my family, my girlfriend, and my friends? Life is really stupidly difficult sometimes, for ~everyone~, but we find ways to cope with our adversities and we keep trucking.
She takes it upon herself to change the poor young man’s mind and convince him to live! Despite the fact that the two characters fall madly in love over the course of six romantic, adventurous, life-changing months, Will can’t cope with being disabled, and—SPOILER! In the end, Will is a brave hero for setting his lover free to explore the world, unencumbered by the burden of having to care for him. Similar to our hero Will, I also require physical assistance with pretty much everything from pooping to brushing my teeth.
Apologies if I let a little sarcasm slip into my plot summary. Also similar to Will, I have experienced loving, intimate relationships with women who did not have physical disabilities, relationships where my partners became primary caregivers.