The Last Taboos

What we all think about, but never talk about

On Refusing to Be a Victim

The powerful new film "Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil le Clercq" shows us the power of will through a paralyzed ballerina. Here are the four ways she persevered. Read More

Belief is one thing, facts are another.

"...Le Clercq did not passively lie there: “Get me off this fucking floor,” she said, with vehemence but not outrage..."

But at the end of the day, whether she said it with vehemence or outrage, unless someone else helped her, she was going to stay on the floor. Whether she was passive or not, lying there on the floor was exactly what she was going to do.

She couldn't change that on her own, and her belief was not going to lift her up. The facts are she couldn't move herself, no matter whether she placed herself as victim or not.

Comment about previous comment

Actually even if paralyzed, she could move herself, she could move the most important part of herself, she could move/change/choose her reaction and her experience of that event of falling on the floor.

While we may not be able to move by ourselves because of our physical condition, we can by ourselves move how we choose to live it. And I think that is the most important part.

Furthermore, with such an attitude, it is quite likely that should she find herself in the middle of the desert on her wheelchair, life would probably, out of nowhere, bring her a 4X4 riding along at the exactly the right time and place.

To continue the conversation

Le clercq did in fact need assistance, and in that moment she was vulnerable not only to her physical limitations but also to the judgements of others. As she said in the story, she knew she'd need to deal with pity from others.

But none of that defines her as a victim. That I, admittedly, see the first commenter's point that nothing in her external world changed due to her attitude, it wasn't her external world she was trying to change. And isn't that the point, that all of us face challenges we can't beat in the normal sense of that word, and so we have to make the challenge managable by accepting that we can't "beat" it.

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Jeanne Safer, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in New York City for 40 years, is the author of 5 books on taboo topics.

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