Independence Valued

“But I wipe my own a–! I wipe my own a–!” cried the little boy, Julian, in the movie Big Daddy as he was pulled from the adoptive home he’d come to love. He had learned the value of independence upon his arrival. While getting acquainted, his wrongly appointed, immature adoptive father, asked his adoptee, “So, uh, waddaya do? Can you wipe your own a–?” and the ‘yes’ response was met with a nod of obvious approval accompanied with a pleased smile. This response imprinted in the little guy’s mind the favor in and auspiciousness of independence.

Embarking upon the unknown

This is one of my favorites movies that I’ve watched time and time again. The aforementioned scenario is only one of several endearing scenes that I enjoy. However, it was that one statement made by the little boy, that proposed ‘selling point’ of independence cried out at the point he was forced to leave his ‘happy place’ where there was contentment, love, peace, familiarity, people he’d become so fond of, the place he had found comfortability. To leave ‘this place’ (or state), the little boy would be embarking upon (or into) the unknown where the fortuity of unhappiness, confusion, uncertainty and melee may lie. In his mind, he thought that independence was the key, that the independent act of ‘wiping his own a–’ would have enough credence to avoid having to leave his ‘home’ and keep him in his happy place that was both desired and important to him.

Snatched away from my own ‘happy’ state

After watching this movie many times, it was only once I actually ‘heard’ that exclamation that I became cognizant of just how very profound it is to me. I, like the little boy, found myself snatched away from my own ‘happy’ state. However, my ‘snatcher’ wasn’t a movie character, but rather a real life MonSter, Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I happily dwelled within a place, my life, where I was content, comfortable, had peace of mind, familiarity of activities, people, things, places that I was comfortable with and, basically, a life of which I was reasonably fond of…And then MS came and no matter how much of a fight I put up, no matter how much ‘wiping my own a–’ meant to me, I had to leave the state I was so fond of (and perhaps took a bit for granted). I embarked upon the unknown where the fortuity of unhappiness, confusion, uncertainty, melee – and being dependent – lingered.

Finding a different happy place

Incidentally, the conclusion of the movie didn’t end the way young Julian wanted it to at the time he was removed under duress, but it actually ended quite favorably for him – and it had nothing to do with ‘wiping his own a–’. He was fortunate enough to find a similar, but different happy place. Though I have always relished in my independence and long for it as well as the freedom of my Pre-MS days, at this juncture, I am creating daily, a similar, but different happy state, my new normal. … And that entails whether I’m ‘wiping my own a–’ or not!

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