We all know how Social Media works, through the magic of technology we are often ‘treated’ to videos, Memes and other items based on our interests and what we ‘click’ on.
Today, a video popped up on my feed and – you may recognise the gentleman in the photo – an image of Michael J Fox appeared with a voice over. Within seconds I was affronted to the point where I couldn’t bear it. What incensed me so? It was a statement made about ‘Michael J Foxes ‘tragic life’ with Parkinson’s’. How dare they make this assumption and this public statement about his life. True, he has Parkinson’s and has done for over 30 years. However, he has always stated that he is an optimist with much to be thankful for in his life. His family, his work and of course the ‘Michael J Fox Foundation’. Describing his life as ‘Tragic’ to me dismisses all of the good in his life as inconsequential, insignificant and irrelevant.
To me Michael is the epitome of someone living with a difficult diagnosis, but not letting it be the thing that defines him. As someone with the diagnosis myself, it is important to me that I focus as much as possible on the good things in my life and be thankful. I was affronted for Michael, but also for myself and for every person living – and those like my Mother and Father (who also had Parkinson’s) and others who have gone before – that our lives should be thought of as tragic.
We are more than our diagnosis. We are people first and foremost with our hopes and our dreams, our successes and our challenges. I will not have my life written off as ‘tragic’ just because I have this diagnosis. It will be hard at times I know, but along with the hard times there will be joy and laughter and good times too.
So, to whoever that person was in the video clip…. How dare you! It is not your place to label a life as tragic when you are not living it. To me Michael is someone I admire immensely for who he is as a person. For his positive attitude and strength of character and his mission to find a cure for this condition. To me his efforts in life are imbued with magic and hope. Tragic just doesn’t fit for someone like Michael and I hope I never hear anyone use this word to describe my life!