Angelina Jolie is the vocal point of the September 2017 issue of Vanity Fair. She graces the cover and gives a telling interview for the first time post Brad. The actress discussed the past year and the many ups and downs that it brought, including: her divorce from Brad Pitt, her latest directing venture, and perhaps the biggest admission, Jolie opened up about her Bell’s Palsy diagnosis.
When you think about Angelina Jolie, what do you think about? She’s a strong, talented, and independent woman and mother who processes a heart of gold. She also happens to live with Bell’s Palsy. That caught your attention, didn’t it? But does it change how you look at and describe Angie?
This is me (from a couple of years ago). I’m a sarcastic and witty teenage girl who is intelligent, determined, and spunky. I’m passionate about what I love and have aspirations that are bigger than the state live in (Wisconsin). I also have Cerebral Palsy. Out of all my wonderful qualities, that always seems to be the defining feature. Why is that? When all of social media read this article, the same thing happened more often than not. We weren’t really talking about how great it is that Angelina is bringing awareness to the Cambodian genocide through her movie or how she continued to be a great mother to her children through what was probably her biggest heartbreak ever…we were talking about how she has Bell’s Palsy. That became her defining feature.
Whenever I meet people, 99% of the time the question “What happened to you?” comes up. Now, I don’t mind answering this question. I actually prefer that it gets asked instead of making assumptions. It’s what comes after that confuses me. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” somebody says, regretting that they asked. I smile and nod my head, but think to myself…Why are you sorry?
I asked the same question while reading through the many “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this,” comments under Angelina’s diagnosis headlines. Why are they apologizing? Angelina Jolie is still the same beautiful, talented, strong, and amazing woman she was before she revealed her diagnosis. Just like I’m the same witty and sarcastic girl you thought I was before you knew I had Cerebral Palsy. So, why apologize? I probably enjoy my life more than a good chunk of able bodied people, and Angie probably still is the poised A-lister she always was. There’s really no need to say sorry.
By human nature a disability, illness, or medical condition is considered to be “bad”, so by human nature people who don’t deal with one feel some amount of pity for those who do. In all actuality however, people who deal a disability, condition etc. don’t need to be felt sorry for because they have as many blessings as “normal” do. They are not their disability. They are not their illness. They are not their condition. They’re just who they are.
I am not my Cerebral Palsy. I’m just the witty, sarcastic, and spunky me I’ve always been. Angelina Jolie is not her Bell’s Palsy. She’s just the beautiful, talented, and fierce woman that she always was. The point is, a physical difference doesn’t change anything, and I think Angelina Jolie is the perfect example.
Photos Courtesy of: Vanity Fair Magazine