#liveboldly – what does that even mean?

(again…spoilers in this about the book/movie “Me Before You” – you have been warned.)

So I’ve shared my feelings about “Me Before You” in a previous post. But did I mention the hashtag some brilliant person in the social media department came up with for the movie?

The hashtag for the film is – and I can’t make this shit up – #liveboldly

Needless to say, people with disabilities are like “Dude, what the frig?” It was basically my husband’s reaction when I told him about that last night over dinner.

See, it’s hard to tout #liveboldly when the movie is about the abled person learning to live again while the disabled person plots their own demise because living in a disabled body is totally pointless. Because you can only #liveboldly if you have working legs. Though in a way, it could also be implied that unless you’re physically whole in every way, and mentally in a good place, living boldly is out of your reach. Curl up into a ball and die already. Life is pointless unless you’re able.

The able-bodied female was allowed to #liveboldly – even encouraged to by her disabled counterpart, who had already decided life was pointless, and that living boldly was beyond his reach because he was disabled. He gave her all the reasons why she should live, but refused to listen to her reasons as to why his life was also worth living.

The book wants us to embrace the idea that we should get out there and live – unless there’s something wrong with us. Then it’s okay to give up and die.

Mixed messages much?

For those of you new to my scene, I have a daughter with disabilities, mostly cognitive, some minor physical issues. I’ve had to sit and listen to pregnant women say that if they find out their unborn child appears to have disabilities, they would end the pregnancy. That they couldn’t possibly raise a child with special needs. A child like mine.

Let me restate –

If they knew they’d have a child like my daughter Maura, they’d end her life before it began.

But I’m not supposed to take offense to this?

I’m not supposed to think that this diminishes the value and worthiness of my daughter’s life?

Now, imagine a whole book written about how it’s okay for the disabled person to be killed off in a story about living boldly. Imagine a book where the mom is held back by her disabled child so decides to end the child’s life so she can finally do all the things she wanted. That would be considered horrible, right? Not bold, empowering, or inspiring, but horrifying.

Luckily, my daughter with disabilities can’t read this stuff. She doesn’t comprehend that people would want to abort the fetus like her, or that anyone might consider her life having less value. In a way, her ignorance of all this is a blessing. Now, that doesn’t mean she can’t read a person – in fact, my daughter is an amazing judge of character and is perfectly aware if she’s being treated shabbily by someone. And if anyone knows how to #liveboldly it’s this girl.

Ours is a household of individuals. Six people, six comfort zones, six sets of abilities, six unique personalities, and six ideas as to what it means to #liveboldly. My husband loves to hurtle down trails on mountain bikes. Me? I found dyeing my hair a different color to be a huge step. My son has designs for an epic cross-country road trip. Both my daughters are the queens of always trying new things, even though their ability levels are different.

But it’s not always about hurtling down mountains or epic travel ideas. Sometimes, living boldly is about fighting anxiety, facing a fear, realizing that what you really need to do is not all the things, but to sit and be quiet for a while. Sometimes, life is boldly lived by slowing down, relaxing, watching the clouds go by. Sometimes, being bold is wearing what you want, choosing the purple nail polish, saying what you truly think about something. Sometimes, the boldest thing you can do is accept yourself for who you are, not worrying about what you can’t do,  and knowing that there are so many ways of living fully, not just the ones suggested to us by bucket lists and movies.

To me, there’s no real definition of what it means to #liveboldly – but it is about living.

Maura and me,  Old Head, Co. Cork, IRE 2011. The bold one was trying to peer off every cliff, just like her siblings. Anxiety mom lived through it.
Maura and me, Old Head, Co. Cork, IRE 2011. The bold one was trying to peer off every cliff, just like her siblings. Anxiety mom lived through it.