Anika and I went to the movies today. Hurrah! That was a treat in itself. I heard that the dolphin movie was worth seeing. And I expected messages of injury and recovery and people helping. But I was surprised by the disability stories. Rewirting the disability story from a tragic, loss-focused sadness to a chance to transform. Change.
I knew Winter's story from my teaching. We've read Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again to our students. I knew that she overcame amazing odds. And that people went to incredible lengths to help her.
But they wove a human story alongside her story in the movie. As her human friends saw how she rejected attempts to help her, they saw their how their own pride held them back instead of helping them move forward. I thought about myself, and how I resist my own braces. Saying I don't really need them. I'm fine. But perhaps I am causing damage down the road by overworking muscles.
There were some great lines and I don't want to give anything away just yet since the movie is new in the theaters. Maybe when it's out on video I'll reflect again with more details. For now, I was surprised by my own reactions. The movie-makers wanted to trigger emotions. Of course. But I also felt that this movie spoke to me.
Just this morning, I dreamed that, one day, characters with disabilities would have leading roles in the shows my daughter watches (kid sitcoms) or in movies, or anywhere. And not as a passing storyline where they say, "Oh, gosh, what a terrible diagnosis," and then continue on just like normal after a few token accommodations. And not as a sad, inspirational study of suffering. The reality. Of a whole life even with damages.
So the thing that I liked was that this movie shared an attitude of embracing disabilities. Celebrating disabilities. And, yes, it was also about overcoming challenges and striving towards normal (which is not my belief at all. I want to celebrate limitations). And there were plenty of cliches to go around.
Still. Good messages too. The supporting roles learned that hiding from the world was unnecessary, that their attempts to protect their family and friends from the truth of their limitations only hurt more than getting out there on their own terms.
There was also a big window into the stories we are creating with the war. The disability community is growing every day as veterans return forever-changed. I hope they find sites like mine. I hope we can create a chance to grow and discover. I know, trust me, I know the depression and sadness. But what a transformative idea. To be made greater. Rather than smaller.
We all need help sometimes. And that's fine.
Now I have a new dream. I want to visit Winter. :)