In late October 2018, Selma Blair revealed that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease causing the immune system to attack the central nervous system. Since her diagnosis, the actress has been open about her condition and its effect on the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. “I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it,” she wrote on Instagram.
Though I don't have MS, I can relate to some of what Blair is saying. My twin sister and I were born with Crouzon syndrome — a craniofacial condition that caused the bones in our skulls to fuse before being fully developed. As a result, our eyes were large, wide-set, and crooked. We grew up with faces that set us apart from both our family and society. I appreciate the awareness and visibility she's bringing to important conversations.
In addition to her openness about the challenges of MS, the actress has also embraced the ways in which her life and identity have shifted — most notably through fashion. For her first public appearance post-diagnosis, the actress attended the Vanity Fair Oscar party in a Ralph and Russo dress. She also used a cane that was designed just for her.
Though people with disabilities, scars, and facial differences are rarely seen at A-list award shows, mainstream events, or even on television at all, Blair remained stunning, confident, and unapologetic throughout the event. And to see her in attendance, cane and all, sends a positive message to those of us who are different, those of us who have spent our lives feeling as though we have to hide parts of ourselves in order to be accepted.
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