TIFF time!

TIFF-Logo

So the Toronto International Film Festival is fast approaching and I’m getting excited! I love going to TIFF, it’s one of my favourite times of the year! Toronto comes alive and you can just feel the excitement in the air. Tons of people come for it, and the city goes a bit crazy. They bring films from all over the world, and this year there are almost 400 films being screened, from 70+ countries! Its a film nerd’s dream come true, right at my doorstep!

Usually I get a package of tickets to share with my brother, this year we have 5 each, and today I got to select which films we would see. They randomly select a window of time you are able to log in and choose, and this year I had pretty good luck as most of what I wanted to see was still available! This doesn’t always happen. I remember last year cursing at the screen as the words “off sale” blinked at me, over and over, mocking me! This year I was prepared. I’m talking about spreadsheets, and multiple options for each day, I was ready to go. Let just say I have a lot of free time right now, so I really committed. ;)

The only thing I’m a bit worried about is getting around. As I mentioned there are a ton of people, just everywhere you look. I also have a feeling I will be taking a lot of cabs. But it’s worth it! They do at least have what they call a “lobby pass”, which allows anyone with mobility issues to sit in a designated waiting area before each screening instead of waiting in line. I had this last year, and it was a really good thing that I did because TIFF is full of eager beavers who show up hours before the screenings to wait in line. Me + standing in line for hours? Don’t think so! It was really easy to get this pass last year, they didn’t really ask me for any details and just gave me one. I guess that was taken advantage of though, because this year I apparently have to prove my need for it. I’m assuming this is because some people were abusing it, and If that’s the case I totally understand them having to put some stricter rules on obtaining a pass… but it still feels pretty awkward to have to prove that I am “disabled enough” to need it. Especially in my case, where I don’t actually have any written proof of my issues. I guess I will be calling my doctor for a note?

Anyways, I wont let that all put a damper on it for me, I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m sure it will all work out. Got some really great films lined up to see, and I’m looking forward to all the uniquely TIFF things (like everyone yelling ARR when the anti pirating ad comes up!) that are in store. Gotta love festival time in Toronto!

M

A&W Day in Canada!

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So tomorrow is a special day at all A&W locations across Canada. It is their 6th annual “Crusin’ to end MS” fundraising day! Every time someone purchases a teen burger, $1 will be donated to the MS Society! They also have donation buckets, and paper cut outs for purchase. It’s really great to see this kind of recognition of MS. In Canada over 100 thousand people are currently living with MS, yet the a lot of Canadians know very little about it! It really is a great feeling to have such a big company draw attention to it. Tomorrow I’m heading over to an A&W location with a big group of extended family for lunch, and I can’t wait to get my guilt-free burger eating on ;) 

If you can’t make it out to an A&W you can still take part! For every hashtag of #CruisinToEndMS on twitter, they will again donate $1. Oh also, if you RSVP to the event on facebook, hollaaa, that’s one more dolla! (yeah I just said that.)

Check it out! https://www.facebook.com/events/588314511290255/

M

Postivity!

So I have decided it’s time to focus on the positives. I think I’ve been a bit caught up in all of the negativity of everything latley, and it’s time to get over that now. You can just decide that, right? Well I’m going to.

Earlier today I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. Tying to get around big crowds in the city with the good ol’ leg issues and a my trusty walker can be..interesting. But I’ve now decided that instead of focusing on how hard it was to do what sounds like it should be simple, I’m going to focus on the fact that I did it. Maybe I have to take a lot of taxi’s and breaks to do things these days, but I did it!

Yeah, today was a bit of bad day, but tomorrow is a new one. Tomorrow I’m going to focus on the positive. I’m going to look into finding a new place in a different neighbourhood. I think earlier was thinking of it as something I should do, after my experience with the crowds today, but really I’ve been talking about moving for a while now. While it’s busy everywhere in the city, maybe getting away from the crazy mega mall would be just what I need!

Basically, I’m deciding that it’s time to get out of this funk. I think the whole MS thing can feel a bit all-encompassing sometimes. Especially right now when I’m still recovering from a flare, and having a lot of issues in general surrounding my health. I think because of that I need to make a bit more of an effort to see past it all. I was at a funeral yesterday, and Its never more apparent how short life really is than when someone passes away. It’s a wake up call to everyone, and you start to reflect on life in general. For me, it’s reminded me how much there is that I still want to do in mine. It’s time to start living, I just need to figure out where to begin.

M

Ignorance..maybe it’s not bliss.

Today I shared something on my facebook that upset me. George Takei (yeah..Sulu himself!) who usually is quite firm on his stance of equality for all, posted an insensitive meme about a woman in a wheelchair, who was standing to reach something from a shelf. This something happened to be a bottle of alcohol, which apparently was comical to Mr. Takei. The caption read “there has been a miracle in the alcohol aisle”. I am choosing not to share the meme here, because I personally don’t want to see it again.

I think this is a perfect example of the ignorance surrounding disability. It is assumed that if someone needs a wheelchair, they are paralyzed. This is not always the case. Some people, as most of you probably know, use a wheelchair for many different reasons, like they simply cannot walk far distances. Many people with MS fall into this category, which is partially why I took this so personally. Now this may not be considered “my fight” as I am not in a wheelchair (I have had to use them in my life just not that regularly) but I came across a great article discussing the situation, by someone who does use one on a daily basis, and has experienced an incredible amount of criticism for the use of the chair simply because she is able to move her legs. She is called a “faker” and ridiculed for it. This to me, is disgusting. I understand that many people are simply ignorant around the matter, and don’t know any better, but even so, what gives you the right to judge? I think the author can explain how it feels coming from a disabled person better than I, so have a look at the article here. Reading about how people have been chased down, and often reported to financial aid for lying about their disability, really breaks my heart.

I have (so far) openly seen this treatment in a small way, on one occasion in my life, when I was at the airport and assumed to not really need the wheelchair assistance, which I requested because I have an extra hard time after a long flight. I spoke about this in a previous post. I also get a lot of dirty looks for my use of a walker lately, which I’ve been using while in relapse. MS being an “invisible illness” makes these sort of situations difficult, as I know I don’t appear to need a walking aid, but right now I do. I feel for the poor woman in the photo being publicly humiliated for simply trying to get through her daily tasks without judgement. Whatever her situation is. Not to mention photographed against her knowledge. It makes me feel that this sort of treatment is almost inevitable in my life at some point, which is really quite sad.

What hurt me most, was the fact that the cruelness of the post was pointed out to him, and his reply, instead of taking it down and apologizing, was to say that everyone needed to “take it down a notch” and calm down about it. I was met with similar attitudes by a few people on my facebook today when sharing my disappointment with the original post, which has done nothing but further prove the lack of understanding out there. I didn’t share it to start an argument, I shared it because it hurt my feelings, and it seemed like no one even knew it had happened. I felt like I had to share it on behalf of the poor woman in the picture, and the countless other people who have to deal with this kind of prejudice on a daily basis. The idea of someone having to defend their disability just makes me angry, and I think there needs to more discussion, and education, on the matter.

No one deserves to be made to feel so small.

M

 

 

UPDATE: George Takei released an official apology on August 13th, 11 days after the post was originally put up. I do believe that he now understand how it was wrong, even if it did take him that long to get there. He stated he was away in England and did not see the mass of emails/comments about the post until he came home. Because you know.. there’s no internet in England… ;)

One thing I do agree with that he said for sure, is that this has opened up a conversation on the matter of “ableism” and hopefully even just a few people’s minds were changed in the uproar.

 

 

 

Grief

When someone is given a life changing diagnosis like MS, they go through different stages while trying to accept it, and sometimes circle back to ones they thought they’d moved on from. One thing I’m not sure if many realize we deal with, is grief. Grieving the life you once knew, or thought you were going to have, because it’s different now. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad life, but it will certainly be different. This may not be the most exciting topic to discuss, but I do really want to touch on all different aspect of having MS, and what that means to me on this little old blog of mine.

From time to time I still come back to that feeling of grief. I don’t know if it ever really goes away completely. It’s just difficult to feel like you have to give up on the things you once wanted, or even expected to have. Before I was diagnosed I was in film school and had just started getting out working on film sets a bit, and even though it was hard, I really loved it. I know now I probably won’t be up for those long hours on my feet ever again, hell I could barely do it back then, just didn’t know why! I think I’ve accepted that I have to find other passions, and something else to do with my life, but I don’t actually know what that is just yet. I do have some ideas, things that I’m excited to try, but once in a while I can’t help but feel that grief of the life I could have had without MS. I think that’s also one reasons I hold on to that travel dream of mine, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I feel like I can make it work, even if I need some kind of mobility aid. MS isn’t taking that one from me! We will make it work.

I do try to snap myself out of it whenever I start to focus on what could have been, because that doesn’t really help anything. Also, it could be a lot worse. I really am thankful for what I have, I’m lucky in a lot of ways and I recognize that. I really think MS has made me a stronger person. It has actually taught me a lot about myself, and others. I can see how a lot of the small stuff just isn’t actually important in the long run. It’s taught me to be more empathetic, and to appreciate those who are able to do the same. It’s also taught me how important it is to find the humour in things. If I can’t laugh at it then what’s the point! I’ve also met some great people I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I think I appreciate good friends and family more now. I think being sick shows you who people really are.

So overall, it’s not all negative, this MS stuff, and I think with time I will see that even more!

M