Disability In Cinema: Exploring Empowerment


What do you take for granted in life? The ability to walk, run and jump?  How about a fully-functioning brain, open to the wonders of imaginative and creative thinking? Maybe the power of speech? Or the feel of grass stroking the soles of your feet, or the air swelling and dancing in your strong, healthy lungs.

It may be a cliché, but these things are an underrated luxury for so many of you out there. Perhaps you’ve grown so used to them by now that you’ll never truly understand the magic of such simplicities unless they were taken away. Maybe you are one of those unfortunate souls, to have had the pleasure of feeling warm sand and cool water on your skin in almost the same instance, only to have the privilege taken away in the cruellest of circumstances?

Or, just because the universe aligned itself in such a way during your conception, the delicacies of nature and human biology were exposed as you were brought into this world, forever blind to the sensations that one or more of these acts can evoke.

If you belong to the last two groups, then you will inevitably understand the frustration that comes from a lack of understanding – sometimes even ignorance – about your affliction. Now, I usually refrain as much as possible from writing in the first-person, but it seems apt to do so here.

Suffering with the inherited disease cystic fibrosis (and ironically, enduring a two week stay in the hospital as I write this) I have found disability to be a cage, caused by physical defects as well as social barriers. People are considerate enough, sure, but sometimes you just wish there was somebody who knew exactly how you were feeling at your lowest as well as your highest.