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Selma Blair, MS and Me.

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Selma Blair was recently praised widely for holding her cane front and centre on the famed Oscars red carpet. She was praised for her ‘bravery,’ her, ‘strength,’ and for, ‘refusing to let her Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

diagnosis define her.’ Seeing Selma with her stick had a positive impact on me. It is refreshing and empowering to see someone with a huge profile present herself as a disabled woman without shame. 

I couldn’t help wondering, however, if some of the media’s comment had missed the point somewhat. Was Selma ‘refusing to

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let her MS diagnosis define her?’ Or was she defiantly demonstrating the very opposite?

MS defines me. It is the thread that runs through every aspect of my identity. It affects my relationships, my activities, my opinions, my politics. I can no longer imagine my life without it although I can remember clearly the time before it struck. 

MS is not something I can brush under the carpet or push to one side. It is not a side issue. It is intrinsically woven in to my life. I have not always felt this way. In the early years I was able to

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compartmentalise it, viewing myself primarily as a professional woman who happened to have this disease. As MS gradually depleted my ability to work in the traditional sense, I was forced to face my health head on. 

Applying for ill health retirement, I had to describe my symptoms with brutal and painful honesty. When I read through three pages documenting my illness I realised with certainty that I could no longer separate me from my MS. 

A few days ago I posted on the Mums Like Us instagram that I was “channelling Selma Blair.” I was

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heading  out with a group of school mums. These mums usually see me pushing a push chair and therefore, not with my walking stick. I needed to  be unapologetically, openly, brazenly disabled in that moment because, like Selma, I felt there was nowhere to hide.  This was my red carpet.
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- 9 Mar 19

Selma Blair was recently praised widely for holding her cane front and centre on the famed Oscars red carpet. She was praised for her ‘bravery,’ her, ‘strength,’ and for, ‘refusing to let her Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

diagnosis define her.’ Seeing Selma with her stick had a positive impact on me. It is refreshing and empowering to see someone with a huge profile present herself as a disabled woman without shame. 

I couldn’t help wondering, however, if some of the media’s comment had missed the point somewhat. Was Selma ‘refusing to let her MS diagnosis define her?’ Or was she defiantly demonstrating the very opposite?

MS defines me. It is the thread that runs through every aspect of my identity. It affects my relationships, my activities, my opinions, my politics. I can no longer imagine my life without it although I can remember clearly the time before it struck. 

MS is not something I can brush under the carpet or push to one side. It is not a side issue. It is intrinsically woven in to my life. I have not always felt this way. In the early years I was able to compartmentalise it, viewing myself primarily as a professional woman who happened to have this disease. As MS gradually depleted my ability to work in the traditional sense, I was forced to face my health head on. 

Applying for ill health retirement, I had to describe my symptoms with brutal and painful honesty. When I read through three pages documenting my illness I realised with certainty that I could no longer separate me from my MS. 

A few days ago I posted on the Mums Like Us instagram that I was “channelling Selma Blair.” I was heading  out with a group of school mums. These mums usually see me pushing a push chair and therefore, not with my walking stick. I needed to  be unapologetically, openly, brazenly disabled in that moment because, like Selma, I felt there was nowhere to hide.  This was my red carpet.

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