On Friday night, Bee, Lynda and I wanted to watch a film, but we realised we had no DVDs with us except Ice Age 3...which we had watched on Wednesday. Thank heavens such a thing as BBC iplayer exists - for there we found a gem we would otherwise easily have dismissed. It is a 1999 release called At First Sight and, whilst I could simply direct you to IMDB for a synopsis, I'm not going to because the one they offer is far too reductive: 'A blind man has an operation to regain his sight at the urging of his girlfriend and must deal with the changes to his life.'
That's not what happens. The above sentence deals solely with the middle of the plot - and misrepresents it to boot. It's true that Virgil Adamson (Val Kilmer), a severely visually-impaired masseur, meets Amy Benic (Mira Sorvino), an architect, and that together they eventually decide to go ahead with the surgery. Without spoiling things, though, that's not the end of the film - and I would suggest that its main theme is the couple's journey (both together and as individuals) towards a fuller understanding of themselves and their relationship, as well as the impact and implications that disability might have on them and the people around them. Actually, it is those 'people around them' that are perhaps the most important factor in this development and, as such, the film could be posed as a treatise on the attitudes of society towards disability. For fear of straying too much into the territory of my dissertation and boring you, however, I'll try and keep it...relevant to life [read here, this blog].
What I took from the film, I suppose, is that even though there are implicit difficulties in having a disability, however it might manifest itself, these are undeniably instrumental in shaping our 'view of the world' (and, in Virgil's case, they do so quite literally). Sure, there are jerks - like Amy's ex-husband Duncan, who dismisses her love and ridicules her as 'a babysitter' (hence the title of this post). Sure, I've heard similar things plenty of times myself, and I'm not afraid to tell you I expressed my rage by shouting obscenities at the screen [side note: Gramma, this is completely untrue!] - but I guess my point is that, without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today. It's true that I want nothing more than to walk to collect my degree, but that is not without an acknowledgement of all the lessons my disability has taught me that I wouldn't otherwise have learnt.
I'm discovering that it's not something to shy away from or to feel guilty about, that I can be grateful for the part it has played in how far I've come in life and how far I've still to go. Basically, it's only through learning to accept myself as I am that I've been able to move forward towards what I want to be and, however much of a cliché it may seem, the film has reminded me of that, just as every one of even the tiniest spasms reminds me I need to take a moment to pause and breathe before I take the next plunge.