Today I’m excited to present a guest post with Allison as I’m one of the stops on her blog tour to promote her exciting new book, Super Sick : Making Peace With Chronic Illness.
Shame and guilt can go hand in hand and be a continual companion for many with chronic illness, myself included. This post looks at issues around that shame through the fictional character Wade Wilson. Enjoy!
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Welcome to the blog tour for Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness! Each stop in the tour features a fictional character who experiences chronic pain or illness.
Often, when a book or movie represents a disability or illness, the entire thing is about that illness; think Forrest Gump or The Fault in Our Stars. These characters’ identities are entirely swallowed up by their disabilities. In other shows, characters with illnesses are only there on the sidelines to “inspire” the protagonist, in the way that Tiny Tim’s only purpose in A Christmas Carol is to be pitied by Scrooge.
Writers have also excluded characters with disabilities from stories due to the idea that once you’re disabled or chronically ill, you’re done. You’re no longer a hero until you have found a cure or have “overcome” your disability.
As someone with a chronic illness, I appreciate it when I see three-dimensional protagonists who have conditions and are learning to deal with them while taking part in a larger narrative—characters like Wade Wilson.
Sure, maybe you shake your head at Wade Wilson in Deadpool for leaving his girlfriend, Vanessa, because he was diagnosed with cancer and he doesn’t want her to watch him die. It doesn’t make sense! She wants to be there for him. It’s not his choice to make!
Maybe you are even more annoyed when he is cured (cured of the cancer, that is, not of the chronic pain), but still doesn’t return to her because he’s disfigured and ashamed. He sees himself as a monster and doesn’t think he deserves to be with her, even though she loves him.
I was annoyed with his decision, too. It’s easy to be mad at someone else instead of confronting this exact same tendency in myself.
I, too, am ashamed of my illness. I feel like I’m worth less than others, because they can do things that I can’t. They don’t need to take a three hour nap in the afternoon because they’re too exhausted to go back to work. They don’t need to rush to the bathroom with pain squeezing their gut at the drop of a hat. They don’t need to cancel on their friends for the umpteenth time because they’re too sick to leave the house.
Why would anyone choose me, when they could have a relationship with someone healthy?
It’s taken a long time to accept that my illness is part of me, but it doesn’t define me. It has nothing to do with my value as a person. People have chosen to love me, sickness and all, and it’s not my job to “protect” them from me or reject them because I think they could do better.
I am valuable, I am loved, just the way I am, and so are you. Take it from Deadpool and don’t make the same mistakes he did. Or else the whole world will taste like Mama June after hot yoga.
Do you struggle with chronic pain or illness, or do you know someone who does? What have you noticed about how fictional characters with these conditions are portrayed?
About the Author
Allison Alexander is an earthbending Ravenclaw from Hoth who’s more comfortable curling up at home with a video game than venturing out into the wild. As an author, editor, and blogger, Allison aims to make spaces for minority characters in science fiction, fantasy, and pop culture. Also, her favourite character class in Dungeons & Dragons is a bard, so that should tell you everything you need to know about her.
From her home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada—which she shares with her husband, Jordan—Allison writes books, edits novels, and mentors aspiring authors. Her book, Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness (Mythos & Ink) details her experiences with chronic illness and analyzes fictional characters who struggle with disabilities. She includes interviews with other chronic sufferers and explores how society values healthiness, doctors don’t always have answers, and faith, friendship, and romance add pressure to already complicated situations.
Visit The Other Stops On The Tour
- April 16: Create Write Now – Laura Roslin & Perseverance
- April 17: Mythos & Ink – Launch Day Party on Facebook
- April 17: The Paperback Voyager – Doctor House & Pain Management
- April 18: Armed with a Book – Raven Reyes & Pressing On
- April 19: The Geeky Gimp – Cloud Strife & Depression
- April 20: The Writerly Way – Raoden & Chronic Pain
- April 21: Invisibly Me – Wade Wilson & Shame
- April 22: Avalinah’s Books – Jane Foster & Worthlessness
Check It Out
Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and other major booksellers on April 17, 2020, as Kindle, hardback & paperback.
The Book Depository (free worldwide delivery)