This clip has been watched 51 million times for good reason
Whatever you are facing your ability to withstand adversity; I hate this word, but your ‘resilience’ depends oddly enough on your capacity to be happy. Because that capacity gives you perspective. Embarrassingly I didn’t develop the capacity to be happy until after I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, aged 31. I went to an event for the newly diagnosed. One man in my group said he considered the M.S. a gift – I thought he’s off his head! But he was right.
I’d always assumed I’d be happy when I became a director. I couldn’t be happy until I deserved to be! The first M.S. relapse started two months after the episode of “Casualty” I directed was broadcast. My quest then became I’ll be happy when I find a way to redirect my ambitions through safer creative input – script editing.
For ten years, I was sent around the same treadmill – read, assistant script edit, script edit on a programme that was in difficulty / understaffed- relapse, start again. The last time, on EastEnders, I finally realised that no job is worth giving your right arm for or in my case my right hand. While script editing a problematic block of four episodes without the mentors I’d been promised, my stress level shot up and a relapse started in my right knuckle. It spread gradually throughout the hand like blotting paper soaking up ink or, in this instance, soaking up pins and needles. My right hand became difficult to manipulate – like it would do if freezing cold. I was lucky; after a couple of years – just as the pins and needles spread, they gradually receded until now; there is only a faint outline of pins and needles around the fingertips of my right hand. The final piece of the happiness jigsaw fell into place when I gave up trying to have a career in BBC Drama. Sometimes letting go is the only positive thing left you can do.
It might seem corny, but Nightbird’s audition on America’s Got Talent says it all. It’s about happiness under fire, about the fact we are all a bit fucked up – and that’s OK. You’re not going to find happiness by moving house, changing jobs, changing your name, or even changing your gender because wherever you go, you’ll take unresolved issues with you. Suppression or rejection doesn’t work acceptance of yourself, issues and all is the only credible answer. I’m not saying don’t move house or change jobs or gender – I’m saying don’t expect to find the capacity to be happy anywhere else but within yourself. I found it in the well of gratitude that grew from my diagnosis of M.S. onwards. Twenty-three years after diagnosis and I can still run – that’s a lot to be grateful for.
“I have a 2% chance of survival, but 2% is not zero percent. 2% is something and I wish people knew how amazing it is.” Nightbirde Jane Kristen Marczewski December 29, 1990 – February 19, 2022.
There is a beautiful little wood 4 miles from where I live; every time I go there with my dog, I say a zillion thank yous that I’m here today in this wood no matter what may happen tomorrow – it’s my apology for not wanting to be alive as a teenager – I am the luckiest person I know which means I’m also very happy.