Me Before You by Jojo Moyes has made its way up to my favorite books of all time list. And the news is they’re making a movie adaptation! It’ll be starring Emilia Clarke (Mother of Dragons!!!) and Sam Claflin (Finnick from Hunger Games!) I cannot wait!!!
This story takes place in the UK, it’s about the relationship between Louisa Clark, a 26 year old small town girl and Will Traynor, a young, ridiculously handsome, successful man who became a quadriplegic after a car incident. Louisa becomes Will’s caretaker. This story will definitely stir emotions and it does have a touchy topic of suicides. It’s also a story of how to dream big, be fearless and how to love unconditionally.
This post isn’t a book review. I want to write my thoughts on what I learned from this story. I can relate to Louisa a whole lot because we’re both 26 with plenty of growing up to do.
One small scene that stuck out to me was when Will introduced Louisa to a businesswoman at the wedding and the woman replied, “Don’t patronize her (Louisa).” Don’t get me wrong, there is so much more to Will and Louisa’s relationship. I was surprised by this particular scene that the businesswoman was able to point that out and treated Louisa as equal, not someone who needed help.
I didn’t even realize Will was patronizing Louisa as he was introducing her. Ironically, he’s the one who needs help and care from Louisa. Being a successful man that he was, Will harbored good intentions for Louisa when he challenges her to get out of her comfort zone. He pushes her to experience new things. She’s always making excuses to not try by saying, “That’s not me”. Yet, he is also very condescending because he views himself as socially and intellectually superior to her.
Throughout my life, I gave a lot of attention to what people thought of me. I sold myself short to please attention-hungry, egotistic people. I put others’ “feelings” before mine. By doing so, I allowed people to patronize me without even realizing, without ever defending myself when I feel like someone is treating me like I’m beneath them.
I thought about all the times someone gave me advice without my soliciting of it. It was very hurtful and I felt weak. I felt like I needed help and I even accepted my inferiority. I blamed myself, that something is wrong with me that people felt the need to always tell me what I ought to do, how to think, how to live.
I’ve had “friends” who openly voiced my shortcomings and what they felt I was lacking, with good intentions of course. I had let people “box-ed” me and defined who I am. But I had allowed it. I readily believed the problem was me, I didn’t have a firm grasp of who I was. I was easily influenced by what others thought was “right.”
I especially patronized my younger siblings and my past lovers. I think about all the times I thought I was so much better than my siblings. They weren’t doing enough. So stupid. They’re not doing the “right” thing. I wasn’t being supportive, I was a freaking controlling bitch.
I was being controlling because I viewed them as people who needed fixing. This is especially prevalent in romantic relationships. There were times when I felt like I was better than him– intellectually, financially, socially. Looking back, I feel awful for thinking that and acting on it. All the times I wanted them to change because I was too lazy to. All the times I gave advice so they can be who I wanted to be but
can’t was too lazy to.
I was projecting and patronizing, like the way Will Traynor wanted Louisa to be someone that he was and no longer can be, even though it was all good intentioned. To be in a healthy relationship, I have to treat my lover as an equal, not someone who should serve my intentions. I have to love them for who they are, admire their strengths and accept their weaknesses.
I can only speak for myself, as a woman, I feel like I have more “value” for being highly desired, but that shouldn’t give me the right to be a raging bitch. A woman will always be an object of desire, but she can also be an individual worthy of respect, if she respects herself first. I have to reframe my sense of value and that begins by building a strong foundation.
How can I stop others from patronizing me? How can I stop patronizing the people I love?
I think the answer is the same. It’s to be firm in myself and fully accepting of myself, even my weaknesses. There’s no need to seek advice or approval, because when you do, that’s how you attract awful people. I will no longer let people pick at what I’m “lacking” and I won’t pick at what I find “lacking” in my loved ones.
Honestly, I just need to learn how to say fuck off to a lot more assholes. I have to be protective of my world. I have to put myself first, be selective in what’s best for me. I cannot open my door to just anyone who comes knocking.