In life, we face many problems and how we as humans decide how to deal with them plays a vital role on how we view our values, our worth, our integrity and many other qualities of our individual self. In this roller coaster ride that is life, we take charge through our actions, and these actions make up our character. It has been my understanding that what is done to us in life creates who we are and what we represent. What we choose to believe in and find value in reveals the nature of our self, and how we differentiate between what we see as “right or wrong” shows more about our character than almost anything else. What we reveal and choose to hide, be it for reasons based on goodness or insidiousness, or any other feelings. How we represent ourselves reveals more about our self-worth and how we value our lives even more so than how we represent ourselves to the world Judging ourselves critically helps us to analyze our merit and helps us to develop an understanding of how our character develops, and grants us insight onto our self I chose these two writer’s anicles for their risks of honesty, personal merit, and their close relation to my personal experiences.
These articles show us the judgments of these passionate writers, their various struggles, and the paths they took to feel comfortable with their character and strive to reveal their true selves, Both essays share certain thematic natures, and are at the same time very different from one another. In ”The Good Short Life,” Dudley Clendinen, a man who has had first-hand experience of taking care of his elderly mother who was a stroke-victim, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in the year 2010. Lou Gehrig‘s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a fatal muscle disease in which the nerve cells which control muscle movement die, causing the muscles in the body to deteriorate. Clendinen was a gay rights movement activist, an alcoholic, an editorial writer and correspondent at the NY Times, and also was a father to his thirty-year-old daughter. Whitney, I think that it is also of important to note that he came out as homosexual in a very rash way, as he wrote it on the editorial page of the NY Times.
Clendinen wrote a serious and well—thought up article discussing his opinion of how the quality of his life would change if he would have continued to live on with this life-threatening disease of A,L,Sr, and how it would affect the lives of those around him in a bigger picture. There’s no significant treatment for A.LiSr, and he did not think medication was worthwhile for this reason Clendinen mentioned how he had a terminally ill, close cousin who wanted to diet I personally can relate to Clendinen’s essay, for I have history with inherited health problems in my bloodline and diseases which are out of my control; however they were never controlled by the means of my own values, rather the morals that my family heldi He went on to critically reflect upon his life in very logical standings, from considering treatments which were costly, but ineffective as A.L,Si is an incurable diagnosis, He felt that continuing to live with A.L.S. was more a way of dying than living, how lingering around was genuinely wasting away.
Deteriorating with this awful condition would change every important aspect in his life: he couldn’t move around comfortably, couldn’t dance, it would change his love life, how he presented himself to the world, and many others Clendinen contemplated death, generally speaking—— suicide; he wanted to die by his own hand, while he still physically could decide how he wanted to own up to life’s end while he still had some integrity and power over his free will He went on to say, “I respect the wishes of people who want to live as long as they can But would like the same respect for those of us who decide—rationally—not to”. In this way, he fought for his life by fighting for his own choice. In ”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” Jose Antonio Vargas, an illegal immigrant hailing from the Philippines as well as an editorial writer for various magazines and newspapers, was sent by his mother to America in search of a better life at only twelve years old.
His “uncle,” which ended up being a coyote, was paid off around four thousand dollars by his grandfather to smuggle him into the United Statesithere he lived with the same grandpa which he called Lolo and his grandma Lola, Living in America as a Filipino boy, he faced a variety of challenges including school, language barriers, accents, and moreﬁthis caused him to try much harder to fit in. His school teacher supported him, and pushed him to pursue a career in writing After living in America for a few years, he was comfortable and began to feel acceptance being a citizen. When he was of legal age to get a driver‘s permit, he went to the DMV and realized that his green card was a fake, where he then realized he was an illegal immigrant living in America. This fake reality gave Vargas a sense of identity loss, for he started to believe his nationality was being an American, and that was an entire lie, Even though he tried to fake legal documents, the worst part of this was that he realized that he had no control over it. Vargas came out twice in his writing, the first time as a homosexual, and the second as an illegal citizen.
For some people it might be easier sharing secrets with the world depending on the lengths you see them go to keep said secrets, however for me as a person I can’t imagine keeping a secret that could threaten my self-identity, my career, my love life, and how other people viewed me. Before outing himself as an illegal immigrant, Vargas wrote for The Washington Post, where he did his best to steer clear and ignore reporting on immigration policy, which synonymous with his dreaded secret, but the moral is that ignoring things and keeping the same things to yourself does not make them go away or disappear, actually. Quite the contrary, secrets create more anxiety, issues and make life a lot less bearable when you have such a cloud of worry over people potentially finding these secrets out Same goes with Clendinen, if he did not speak up about his opinion on the diagnosis of his A.L.S., and just kept quiet about how he wanted to go about his life from that point on, he would have lived a short, ill-fated, mute and unrewarding lifeiand for what?
You are not living if you are dying, and you cannot live well if you are lying A main theme in both of these essays is the theme of acceptance. Recognizing his lack of options in his medical situation, Clendinen evaluated his life and learned to accept the card he was dealt– and the same goes with Vargas Vargas did not put himself in the situation he was in, neither did Clendinen. Their unfortunate situations did not make them, it made them stronger people. There was nothing either of them could have done to ease their situations, but they both decided to come to terms with them and even make peace with their lives, Something that wasn’t considered much was the idea of love.
In his video “Actions are Illegal, Never People,” Vargas made it known that even though he may have relieved some stress from having this secret on his shoulders for so long, he is still emotionally damaged from the legal issues regarding his illegal citizenship- for legally he could not get married somebody the way that somebody who was a legal citizen the federal government’s defensive marriage act would not recognize the marriage because of his non-citizenship. This creates a lot more issues branching out, such as the fact that even though he could be in love with somebody, the government would not recognize their love as a legal union between two people, which would prevent Vargas and his hypothetical husband from obtaining any legal rights they would share with a marital status such as social security, taxes, health insurance benefits and so forth.
This does not seem just a just thing On the other hand, if Clendinen were to have continued his life with Lou Gehrig’s disease, with or without the costly $14,000/annual incurable treatment, his potential lovers would have had to see him in the most painful stages of life where he would lose control over his body, not be able to move his muscles, would stop talking as much as he used to, would not be able to make love in the way they used to or wanted to because ofA.L.S and would overall affect their love life, family life, and would eventually turn into a different person fan empty person, void from all the splendor he once had in his life before the diagnosis.