Monday, April 28, 2014

Is the fault in the stars, or somewhere else?

Hey y'all,

Since it's a Monday, I figure: Hey, why not tackle a depressing subject. Because I'm like that, guys. Let's take a pile of depresso and throw on a heap of sadness. I promise to offer free hugs at the end. Here we go: If you've been anywhere but living under a rock, you've probably seen this cover/poster around.

Now I will be the first to admit: I have not read this book. And I probably won't. Before any of you start throwing things, let me explain. I don't really want to read a story about two sick, star-crossed lovers. That's not really the type of novel I go for. Having lost a close loved one to cancer, this book would probably literally destroy any kind of emotional stability that I have.
And glass is easily broken.
So this probably explains my problem. But I don't get books like this. Or movies for that matter.There was a period of time where movie producers seemed to go out of their way to make extremely tragic movies. Almost as if they were paid on a tear-by-tear basis.

Make sure the tissues are within easy reach.
Are these bad movies? Not at all. When I remembered a scene from 'Stepmom' writing this, I almost started crying. Susan Sarandon was amazing in that movie.

So what's the big deal? You ask. Why do you have your knickers in such a bunch? You exclaim.

Here's my problem. These movies make terminal disease beautiful, lovely, important life-teaching moments. Can diseases be this way? Yes. For sure. I don't want to take any meaning away from terrible times, from anyone. But the problem is: When we beautify such heartbreaking, horrible, tragic diseases, we make them enviable.

Take 'A Walk to Remember.' It's pitched as a teenage romance. As in: God, I wish someone loved me like Shane West loved Mandy Moore. Isn't it sweet? Wasn't it so romantic? My answer?

What is it? Tragic. Horrible. NO ONE should die that young. Heck, take away the young. Any terminable disease that rips people from life, is a horrible, nasty, nightmare thing. It isn't romantic. It isn't beautiful. It is painful. And scary. And every other terrible adjective we can throw at it.

Now please believe me when I say: I hope people can find some meaning within these life moments. But I'm afraid, that when Hollywood and books make them seem so beautiful, real people start to doubt themselves. Because in those moments when you are curled up on the floor, sobbing because you are sick, or your mom is sick, or your significant other, or your little baby girl, I don't want you to think: But Keanu Reeves learned so much from this disease. Why can't I be more like him? Why can't I respond to this sickness with a smile on my face, as if I'm blessed to be given this burden?

It's human nature to react poorly to bad medical news. Whatever your religion or system of belief, death is scary. We can't help but cling to the life we know, and we want our loved ones there with us. Which means we want to fight tooth and nail against any disease that threatens to take us, or them, away.

And fighting is human. Thank God for the survivors. They are amazing. They are the true story. The true miracle and happy ending.

But the idea of romanticizing death or the actual disease itself: That's not alright. It's normal to be crushed by the loss of a loved one. And no one should be expected to take a diagnosis like cancer with a beatific smile. You're allowed to be scared. No matter what Hollywood may tell you.

Life is a miracle. And I get that these movies and books are supposed to prove this to us. But it isn't right to belittle the struggle that people with terminable illnesses go through. Or the nightmare their family members and loved ones will face. Because anyone who says those moments are beautiful? Honestly, they are lying to you.

Maybe thousands of people are reading the above-mentioned book and imagining they had such a love story. But when it comes down to it, no one would want to trade places with the main characters. Because everyone wants to be healthy and free from disease.

If you're not, if your family member or loved one is not, then from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry. If you're struggling, that's normal. If you feel like you're in a deep dark hole and you can't understand why this is happening, that's normal. If you fight to get out of bed in the morning because everything seems to hard. That. Is. Normal.

These romanticized movies are not the truth, and that's my problem with them. To pretend these diseases are beautiful, is to take away the power from the survivors and the fighters. Their disease is not beautiful. But their fight is. To make movie magic from the loss of the fight is wrong. Plain and simple.

Because it is the fight that is important. It is the person that is important. They are what is beautiful.

And I'm sorry to make you all read something so heavy on a Monday. So here's a hug, and a box full of kittens. I love you. XO, JD

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