Take the Plunge

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. It always does feel strange to be knocked out of your comfort zone, but I hope you will feel exhilarated too,”Jojo Moyes

I admit I was inspired by the book Me Before You and surprisingly, I enjoyed the film almost as much. I am an avid reader. Most of my friends will tell you that I can be found with my Kindle in my hands, almost at all times. I am a bit shy until I become comfortable and reading serves as one of my escapes. Getting back to the point: the lessons and inspiration I gained from this amazing novel. I was a bit anxious to see the film, as it was the target of some negative publicity. I can’t say too much to that point as I don’t want to spoil it for any of you. As an individual who is differently abled, something that got under my skin was the main, overwhelming opinion that these critics gave to the film. Now please, allow me to explain. Everyone, and again I restate, everyone is entitled to their own opinion! I am not disputing that fact. My issue is forming an opinion without any consideration to facts.

The male protagonist of this film, Will, was left paralyzed following an accident. The film follows the developing friendship between him and his aid Lou and the lessons that they learn from each other, enriching their lives equally. The negativity surrounding the film is a direct result of a very controversial decision that Will makes. Understandably, this issue will always be cut down the middle, there is never going to be a time in which the opinion is unified. In my opinion, Moyes was a genius for that. Controversy creates dialogue, and from that, awareness can be raised. Every negative review that I read, speaking to the controversy was written by an able-bodied individual. My issue with this is simple: I can understand your opinion, but if you have not walked a mile in our shoes, how can you “advocate” for something based on your interpretation? I am not one of those crusaders who seeks to change the world, but as with I Am Me, I hope to give a voice to those who feel they have none. I hope to create change by initiating a conversation, by educating. The beautiful community that I am a part of has a voice, an opinion that matters and that shouldn’t be forgotten. While some may not agree with the novel, or be able to see past some aspects, I applaud Moyes for having the courage to bring this multidimensional subject to the forefront.

The conversations, books, lessons that stick with me are usually those that challenge me and teach me invaluable lessons- this novel did just that and those are the final thoughts I want to leave you with. If I have learned anything in the last eight years and twenty-three procedures later, it is that nothing can be taken for granted: your health, loved ones, physical condition. Life is far too short and beautiful to be lived anything less than to the fullest.
1. Have those conversations that scare you. Leave nothing left unsaid. Those conversations will be the ones you regret.
2. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your needs. At the end of the day, no one knows you better than yourself.
3. Give yourself the opportunity to live a little outside of your box, your comfort zone. (I have a friend that pushes me to do this, and as hard as it is, I am grateful). You cannot grow by being stagnant. Those hard lessons, difficult situations, things we wouldn’t do out of fear, those are generally the situations that bring the most growth.
4. Lastly, directly quoted from Moyes: “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible. So live!”