Be prepared for an info dump and possible rambling as I clumsily try to explain my very emotional reaction after watching the recently released movie, Yesterday. This movie as described by IMDB –
Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter in an English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. After a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, Jack becomes on overnight sensation with a little help from his agent.
Do not read further if you are planning on seeing the movie.
So the end of the movie sees Jack admitting that he never wrote these songs and then segued into his future with him marrying his childhood sweetheart, returning to his teaching career and having children.
A pretty typical, ordinary life that most people appreciate and manage to live with very little effort. But somehow I was a hot blubbering mess. Because I know this picket fence dream is not easy for some people. It’s not been easy for our family and yet we are happy. It won’t be easy for some of my family members and it’s not easy and almost impossible for people with a disability.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a legal office waiting room. I’ve just met with a solicitor to begin the process of lodging a submission with Royal Commission investigating abuse of disabled people. I am waiting for my husband to pick me up because I don’t have the spoons to get home via public transport. And this is only the beginning of the process. What put me in this office was significant abuse and neglect of a family member that occurred four years ago. I have carried this physically and emotionally. I have never put it down. It has pressed on my chest and shortened my breath. It has left scars and I pay a price every time I take steps to improve systems. That price feels like I leave pieces of me behind every time I ask someone to care, or to explain why this happens or prevent another child from being exposed to hell.
Is the price I pay too high? I believe it’s very high and I’m bracing myself for more trauma. Is it necessary? I firmly believe it is.
Over the past four years I have really felt very lonely and that I am undertaking a solitary journey to advocate for change. However, I have this optimism that sharing our story will change one person who may reach out to another person who may be heard by a different person who maybe capable of making change.
Knowing the arduous and painful process we navigated makes me question this very process. Why is it so hard? Why are our children not safe? Why don’t police act against assaults against our children when it happens on school property. Why is their no independent advocacy organization representing our children and listening to their voices.
I know the life we’ve lead as a happy and close family is down to several things. We have had to lean on each other during isolating times. There have been many. We trust each other and never break promises. But as a family we cannot completely be responsible for ensuring our children get the ordinary life they’re entitled to and the ordinary life they in fact seek.
Unfortunately, society still determines attitudes around inclusion and stigma. This is only just one of the reasons why we need the Royal Commission. Then there are righting wrongs, improving systems and stopping abuse, neglect and exploitation of disabled people.
Like I said. This piece may not flow very well. I’m really still trying to understand my own reaction to what was in fact a lovely movie. But watching that ending broke me like nothing else. That character chose to walk away from fame and fortune and took the path of an ordinary life. My child fights every single moment for that very simple right. He sees an ordinary life a dream he perhaps might achieve when in fact it’s a fundamental human right.