I read the Hunger Games the first month it came out. I hated it. I hate the film. And the more that people loved it, the more scared I became of those people.
At the end of the film they wonder what will happen now, “We should home and forget.” Katniss says.
“I don’t want to forget.” Her fellow contestant says, trying to lean forward to nuzzle her in affection. Killing was a romantic bonding experience with sponsors, TV ratings, and kids who spend a week in the muck and still look like a J Crew ad: The Hunger Games.
How is it I can suggest that killing someone, or someone struggling against a disease like cancer should show the cost; not just smiles and music and be labeled a ‘hopeless idealist?’
Dave Hingsburger, learning disability advocate, wrote about his neighbor, Tessa, painting a picture of this woman his would see out in the city having tea and conclude that cancer doesn’t have to have ugly parts but can be cheerful and consistent. Even though he saw her but once a month, he truly believed, perhaps had to believe that the other 29 days were the same as the day he saw her go out for tea. That radiation, repeated chemo, nausea, insomnia, weight loss, hair loss, bowel dysfunction, fatigue, fugue did not have to be bad or ugly as long as they are met with a smile. She died. His highest praise was that in going out ‘you never would have known.’
I can’t live up to that. Who can? It is an idea which makes all the people with chronic, life threatening and life ending diseases and Tessa herself a failure for all the minutes and hours and days where others would know. The times on the floor, top riding up, belly exposed, helpless or crying; the times dependant on someone feeding you a drink and cleaning up your drool.
Chronic, progressive and life ending diseases change the body, because they must change the body from what worked to what doesn’t. Buddhists would say that is part of what being alive is about: that change.
Recently my life has been ugly. So I didn’t write, because the failure to be what I worked to be, shamed me. There is ugliness is my disease presentation, in my body, in how local society averts the eyes, in the sentences I say and days where I end up causing instead of help, whether myself or another. It is a failure to be what I so much desire to be. And, so there is ugliness in my closest relationship: two people, years of fiscal tension beyond breaking, continual pain and a sense of being lost by both. I could focus on how much is my fault, or not, or I could accept it, and look past it. Do I focus on the ugly or try and find solutions and remind myself that even when it is bad, it doesn’t always HAVE to be ugly. But that that if it wasn’t ugly at times, it simply wouldn’t be true. I will, even at best of times, only be the shadow of the divine I aspire towards.
17 hours ago