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What I Have in Common with the Dallas Buyers Club

Recently I finally got to watch “The Dallas Buyers Club,” starring two of my fav actors – Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.

First of all (and just for the record), Matthew McConaughey will always be hot.

Not quite as hot as STING, but still quite hot. 😉

Second of all – oh. my. goodness. what an actor he is!! If I hadn’t seen his name on the credits I would not have recognized him. And what courage it must have taken to alter his appearance so drastically – to literally embody a role of a dying man – and still emerge with his sense of personal self intact.

I was also so impressed with Jennifer Garner – for her acting, of course, and for having the good taste to choose such an important role, but even more (and on a very personal level) for her clear and present ownership of her new post-motherhood curves.

I loved her in “Alias,” when she perfected all those karate moves I can’t even pull off in my dreams (and rocked the abs to match)….but I loved her even more in this recent film, in her softer shape that spoke of body love and acceptance at every point along the ever-changing continuum of shapes and sizes. 

Go Jennifer!!

The movie as a whole has stayed with me. I remember working for Meals on Wheels in the mid-1990’s, and being slightly afraid at being told I would be dropping off meals for HIV+ shut-ins.

I was a total innocent back then (and still struggling greatly with an eating disorder at that point) and I just wasn’t sure how the virus was transmitted – could I get it by touching the person’s front door?

I chose to deliver the meals anyway – a decision I will always be glad I made.

The pain, the anger, the frustration those early HIV/AIDS patients – those precious, frightened PEOPLE – must have felt upon suddenly finding themselves marooned in such a hostile climate – to be honest, it hit a little too close to home for me as I thought back to my own early eating disordered years.

I got sick nine years before “eating disorders” were recognized as an official medical diagnosis. OMG – the pain I felt.

I didn’t know what I had but I knew it was going to kill me. No one else took it seriously because I didn’t have the right words to describe what was wrong or what I needed.

There were no treatments designed for “people like me.”

Doctors either lumped “us” in with “all the rest” of the “mental patients” or gave us expert advice like “just eat more” and “don’t worry – it’s probably just a phase and you’ll grow out of it.”

Meanwhile, grassroots mentors and secretive support groups were providing stopgap safe havens of support and love – which is how I eventually worked my way out of my illness and into recovery.

Watching The Dallas Buyers Club brought it all back – all the pain and also all the gratitude.

Today, post-film, I find I am especially grateful for how far I’ve come (in recovery and as a person), how far we’ve come (as scientists and society), and most of all, how much promise our individual and world-wide progress holds for our shared future.

Today’s Takeaway: Can you look back to a time in your life when you were afraid of something – a disease, a type of person, a potential outcome – that you are no longer fearful of? What changed to lessen your fear? How can you learn from that experience to ease current fears you may have?

What I Have in Common with the Dallas Buyers Club

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Songwriter. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2014). What I Have in Common with the Dallas Buyers Club. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 Jun 2014
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