[Image description: The hardcover of “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”. It’s a grayscale sketch of three children sailing down a rail road track on a pumpcart with a sail.]
If you’re unfamiliar with “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”, it has a story as enigmatic as the illustration inside.
[Image description: A black and white book cover entitled “The Ring and the Bridle”. The cover has a border of Celtic knots. The title is surrounded by filigree. Below the title is a silhouette of a horse rearing.]
Eddie accidentally incurs the wrath of a kelpie when she save her older brother from drowning. Instead of finding help from the local magic community however she instead finds herself “being pulled three different ways”. By the old woman and her jinn who may have ulterior motives, the eternally young Scot with a guilty conscience, and most of all by the local enchanter who offers her a golden bridle to enslave her foe.
The choice however is hers alone.
Eddie drew Matthew towards the bath tub where a black horse stood. He was told this was Dougal and he accepted it. He didn’t question why four people could fit upon the back of a horse that could stand comfortably in a bath tub. He ignored Hala Nejem announcing she had just released a jinn through their front window.
He gave himself overly entirely to the throbbing madness around him.
Chapter Twelve at:
Ao3 | FictionPress
Or everyone in this is an ableist asshat.
[Image description: A person in a suit with their body bent to literally stick their head up their ass.]
[Trigger warning: I could be this on the entire series really as Me Before You is a hot ableist mess but in particular I will talk about suicide in this installment. Tread carefully.]
In light of what happened in Orlando, I’ve decided in this installment I will address why Me Before You is a disingenuous portrayal of disability in terms of representation (also). I believe representation is the greatest way to fight bigotry. Despite all the strides forward we’ve made there is still a deep-rooted fear of homosexuality in my country and many countries. We need more visibility if we are to ever overcome.
And that includes portraying disabled queer people and disabled people of color who are queer or not.
[Image description: Cover of “Me Before You”; movie tie-in edition. It features Lou sitting in Will’s lap.]
As the prologue of the book is so short (in my edition it’s not even four pages) I decided I would use this first post to also introduce myself and my motivations for this analysis.
First, I am physically disabled and neurodivergent. When I was still in highschool I was diagnosed with clinical depression and had suicide idealization. I was eventually stabilized though I still had anxiety and I also developed a proclivity for sleep paralysis and auditory hallucinations in my mid-twenties. Recently I’ve gone back into counseling for depression with the stress of my chronic illness.
My physical disability started when about fifteen months ago with a simple backache. I have desiccated disc disease and I am being investigated for Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia. My right leg is perpetually numb and I have terrible, terrible chronic back pain. I also have balance issues, general malaise, and chronic exhaustion. Because of all of the above I use a wheelchair and cane to get around.
In short I am somewhat similar to Will, the male lead in “Me Before You”. I’m not quadriplegic and for now I can perform all my basic care by myself. Nevertheless I do use a wheelchair and I have had suicide idealization. I also know very well what it feels like to have your will ground down by ableism and an inaccessible world.
[Image description: Close-up of sand running through an hourglass]
So I’ve come to a crossroads. Basically I was going to hold off on making an announcement on this because I wanted a true answer but this is beginning to affect me so much that I have two choices; don’t engage on social media or admit it.
I chose the latter because, well, my health has stopped my ambitions before I won’t let it happen again.
Basically, it has become apparent to doctors I don’t have just degenerative disc disease. A recent MRI revealed my excruciating upper and mid back pain and the numbness along my right rib cage has nothing to do with a slipped disc.
They’re thinking MS, or something like it. A degenerative neurological condition as my condition is continuing to deteriorate.