Once upon a time, I used to act. I used to act a lot. You could even go so far as to call it a passion that I consistently chased until I figured out that the chances of me being successful at said passion were slim to none. At the encouragement of my parents and peers, I dipped and started chasing my second passion, which was medicine. I still audition for a play every once and a while here at the USF Theater department when my schedule allows me to do so. I played the lead in the last production I was in, which was a modern take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare.
Link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxqW-ce_zFY
I don’t regret quitting theater. Generally, I’m a very practical and realistic person and feel like I made the right choice at the time. However, I do miss those picturesque moments where the chemistry between you and a fellow actor ignited sparks on the stage. I miss the process of becoming an entirely different being. I miss the applaud after a show well done. And most of all, I miss the relationships I made with other people who shared the same passion as I did.
This brings me to the reason for this blog. A close friend of mine, depicted in the pictures displayed, committed suicide. I was pretty apprehensive about writing about this in the first place, so I won’t reveal his name for privacy reasons. It was the second hit of the year after finding out my godfather died earlier. Safe to say it was a pretty depressing semester. I guess you could say I lost a friend in two senses of the word. One being the art of theater itself and more recently, a physical friend.
Regardless I have to find some way to make this connect to an author for a grade, so I’ll give it my best shot. Ruth Hubbard makes a point to talk about the importance of giving power to normal citizens over life and death. This is because, according to Hubbard, social constraints have been dictated by those in power as to who is allowed to live based on his or her burden to society. My friend didn’t leave a reason for suicide, but he was diagnosed with depression. This brings me to another idea proposed by Hubbard in which she states that western society views physical disability as evidence of a form of pollution or sin. This gives people in positions of power an excuse to“make decisions about what lives to ‘target’ as not worth living.” But more often than not, those deemed not worthy of life are physically disabled. There isn’t mention of mental disability, which isn’t visible. I don’t enjoy speculating about these things, especially when it comes to those that I have personal connections with, but it does give me room to think. For people with invisible disabilities, the social constraints don’t disappear. However, the fact that the disability isn’t visible removes the responsibility of targeting a person as not worth living from others. Therefore that responsibility is left solely to the person whom the disability affects. Hence, suicide.
In this case, Hubbard’s original idea of leaving power over life and death to the every day citizen is met. Only the individual knows what they are truly going through and should be able to decide whether or not they live. However how much of that power should be left in the hands of those that have mental disabilities?
By Patrick Felisma
Hubbard, Ruth. “Abortion and Disability.” The Disability Studies Reader. By Lennard Davis. 2nd ed. N.p.: Routledge, n.d. 93-103. Print.