This is Me!!!

(This blog post is NOT a review of a movie. I am using a specific song from this movie to get my point across. ~B)

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The Greatest Showman is a movie inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum starring a wonderfully, talented cast and an awesome soundtrack.

One day ( I really don’t remember when, ……o excuse me for leaving out that detail) I was watching it (again) and I was discovering some new things I either forgot or just overlooked during the past times I viewed the movie.
It was almost like I was watching it for the first time.

It wasn’t the actual movie that was resonating with me but rather the music. If you know me, you know how much I love music and how I use it therapeutically to assist me in ridding myself of my brain fog or just to lift my spirits on dark days.

Anyway, it was getting towards the end of the movie when “The Bearded Lady” played by Keala Settle, started singing her song, “This is Me!” As I was listening to the words of the song, really listening, is when it hit me.

The Greatest Showman - Keala Settle 'didn't want' bearded lady role | Films  | Entertainment | Express.co.uk

The opening lines of the song are . . .
“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts

I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

The biggest difference between those of us who are “Living Well with Dementia” and the “Bearded Lady” is, well, she’s a Lady with a beard. That’s kind of hard to miss. We don’t have any outward signs for anyone to see but when we speak, our Dementia may come out by causing us to lose our words, or just go silent. The reason I love this song is because when she is singing her song, I can feel both her pain and her strength. She was fed up being stigmatized just because of the way she looked.

At that point (and every time after I’ve listened to the song) the tears flowed, lots of tears. It was if she was singing it not only directly to me but to everyone and anyone who has some sort of disability, anyone who has been shunned or just forgotten by the public and/or members of their family, just because, in their eyes, we were now different.

The song continues . . .
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

If you have heard me speak before, you have heard me say,
“I have Alzheimer’s Disease BUT it doesn’t have me!”
I don’t allow my Disease(s) to define who I am, because in my mind, I am still me. People that really know me know I AM still me. I don’t know how to be anything else.

The reason this is so powerful for me is because I began, early on, to hear things like, “You don’t look like you have Alzheimer’s!” and “WOW, you speak so well!” or they would ask me in a sort of a hushed tone, “how are you?” or would turn to whoever was with me and ask them, again in a hushed tone as to shield the question from me, “So, how’s he doing?”

I admit, I may have slowed a bit but, as Maureen reminds me, I’ll be 60 next month so it’s a matter of aging. (In my head, I still feel like I’m 40. LOLOLOL)

I guess it would be easier if Alzheimer’s came with a scar or some sort of mark but it doesn’t. It’s an invisible disease so no one can see it and it makes it hard for some folks to accept it when we still look like we always did. The only “outward sign” we do exhibit is when we speak and we lose our words. When that happens with me, I turn to Maureen and she throws me the word and I continue on like nothing has happened but I see the look on other’s faces. It’s a look of sorrow and that’s the last thing I want people to look at me with.

As the song goes . . .
I make no apologies, this is me
!

Please remember this the next time you interact with someone who has a Dementia-Related Illness, any type of unseen Disability or a visible sign of their disability. Treat them as a person, an individual, for that is what they are.
When in doubt, ask yourself, “Self . . . how would I want to be treated if I had a Dementia-Related Illness or any type of illness or disability, visible or invisible.
If you don’t come up with the answer, “I WANT TO BE TREATED NORMALLY”, you may want to ask yourself again.

For those of you that haven’t heard the song, here is the link. as well as the lyrics . . .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjxugyZCfuw

This Is Me

Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble
I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say ‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us, For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me
Oh-oh-oh-oh Oh-oh-oh-oh Oh-oh-oh-oh Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us, For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come, And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

And I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) There’s nothing I’m not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
This is brave, this is bruised
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
(marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I’m gonna send a flood, Gonna drown ’em out
Oh, This is me!


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