He turned his sickness into a business. And then he became ‘human’ when compassion and friendship trumped his hateful prejudice toward the homosexuals suffering by his side. This man, the late Ron Woodroof, an AIDS-afflicted, sex-addicted, alcohol-abusing homophobe, is portrayed by Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, a film earning four paws!
Why am I reviewing this film for a yoga blog, you may wonder? Well, it’s so relevant to the health, compassion, and passion that I find running parallel with a yogic lifestyle. With any dedicated athletic lifestyle! With any passionate commitment. My review is divided into three sections. Weight loss. Medical treatment. And entrepreneurialism. First we’ll address weight loss.
McConaughey lost 45 pounds to portray this role, reporting that he locked himself into his Texas mansion for six months because socialising was a no no. Dinners were a no no. Sun was a no no. And he claims that restriction, typically on a diet of Diet Coke, egg whites, and a piece of chicken per day (Daily Mail UK), actually made him smarter. More time existed to do things like writing, reading, and thinking. But at around the 145-pound point (he dropped to 133 in the end), McConaughey began losing his eyesight, comparing this to complications of the IRA hunger strikers of Northern Ireland of 20 years ago.
McConaughey commented on restriction, “You have to reprogramme all of your habits, and the days get so long. You think it must be lunchtime already, and it’s only 9.30 in the morning.” Many readers of this blog can compare his complications to those associated with anorexia and bulimia. Many of my readers can totally relate. I definitely can. And even though it’s not ideal to dramatically manipulate the body, I think it’s awesome that he could do such a thing, mindfully, for a job. Conventional advocates for healthy living will certainly disagree, but one can’t argue with results. He whittled down to look like the man suffering from AIDS. And he did a superb job at it.
In this second section, we’ll address the medical treatment. The year was 1985, and understanding AIDS had only just begun. Given 30 days to live at diagnosis, Woodroff buys stolen experimental drug from a hospital orderly. After meeting with a doctor across the border, he learns that his experimental drug is actually hurting his immune system. Prescribed vitamins and natural supplements combined with a healthy non-processed diet, Woodroff creates a business by selling these ‘natural drugs’ earning clients away from the hospital, producing results, and eventually clashing with the FDA (because he makes them look like fools).
In the long run, Woodroof lives much longer than 30 days (I shan’t spoil the official information for you!), but he had to fight for his right to care for his body, as he saw fit. Ripping hospital IVs from his arm and distributing literature on HIS studies, he was rejected by conventional society but embraced by those who saw that his system actually worked. This so touches home with me regarding Bulimia and Yoga. Dealing with an eating disorder and practicing yoga are very personal things, both involving the body. And although they’re not medical conditions, a person should have total control of their ED ‘treatment’. A person should have total control of their yoga ‘practice’. But if faced with a life threatening disease, should a person have the right to make their own medical decisions, obtaining treatment and drugs they see fit for their body, assuming that drugs of subject are legal? Should a person have the right to treat themselves holistically? Should a person own their Yes? Should a person own their No? I can only imagine and assume I’d want to own both. And it’s so inspiring that Woodroof fought for and exercised his personal rights accordingly.
In this third section, I shall address passion! The man was given 30 days. Dying of AIDs, he discovered his own way, traveled internationally, posed as priests and doctors to smuggle drugs into the country to help others whilst growing a business and improving his own condition. Wow! Entrepreneurial success stories excite me, and I couldn’t be any more inspired today than I already am. He had nothing to live for. But he created everything. And he helped so many! He helped the gay community that he so feared and hated. The transvestite (played by the handsome Jared Leto) who became his BFF. The American doctor who gave that saucy attitude right back to him. He was a healer. A dealer. A man to be reckoned with. In this section, I won’t even ask what you think. There’s only one answer. This was a brilliant man. With a heart of gold!
So if you want to get shocked into reminder about having safe sex (yeah, I’m your mom today), into turning your passion into a business (yeah, I’m Gary Vaynerchuk today), and into respecting all living things (yeah, I’m the Dali Lama today)… see this film. TODAY. What else is your iPad doing on a Sunday? It should be on your lap, with your dog, streaming Dallas Buyers Club right this very moment! You will be so happy that you watched it.
Have a good day, and namaste. :)
What do you think of Dallas Buyers Club?