Finding My Own Rescuer | With Mandy Moore

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(Brian Rea for The New York Times)
(Brian Rea for The New York Times)

When Anna March started dating her boyfriend Adam, people made a lot of assumptions about their relationship, because Adam is paraplegic. But as she writes in her piece "Finding my own Rescuer," most of those assumptions didn't reflect reality. Her essay is read by Mandy Moore, who stars in NBC's "This is Us."

Where Are They Now?

Anna March wrote this piece in part to address people's misconceptions about what it's like to date someone in a wheelchair. She says that she doesn't want to minimize the trauma that paraplegics go through, but Adam's disability was never a big deal to her.

"People had this real tendency to act like I was doing some wonderful thing," she says. "They would touch my arm and act like, bless you for being in a relationship with someone who's a paraplegic. And it was incredibly gross and condescending. Love isn't about bodies, and able-bodiedness, or disability. It's just not. It's about commitment, and honoring one another, and caring for one another, and those things. It's not about the walking."

"I want people to think and understand about what they're saying about ability and disability when they say that someone who's able-bodied is somehow doing something noble by dating someone with a disability," she adds. "We're all doing something noble when we openly and honestly try to love someone else."

But the relationship between Anna and Adam eventually deteriorated.

"About a year after my piece appeared in Modern Love, Adam and I split up," she says. "Which was very sad, and which remains very sad. Even though—I can't speak for Adam—but I believe that's what what was best for both of us, although I certainly didn't think that at the time. I think that I didn't love Adam as generously and openly as I could have. And I learned a lot about myself, and how to do better and be better, from that relationship."

After Anna and Adam broke up, Anna and her dog Fred moved a few doors down from the old cottage where she used to live.

"I came back to that very street, with Fred," she says. "And Fred and I started living there again. I needed to go back and learn how to be a better person, and a more generous person, and a more put-together person, in some ways. So I did. I went back, and learned how to do, or taught myself, or learned with the help of lots of people, how to do those very things."

Not long after that move, Anna's grandmother, and Fred, both passed away.

"I feel like I lost everything in the year between 2015 and 2016—Adam, my grandmother, and Fred were the three most important relationships in my life, actually. And in a one-year period, I lost all three. And the Anna of today feels like a girl who survived the fire, you know?"

Anna has one central thing she's learned from her experience.

"Be brave. Be brave in loving someone, be brave in taking risks about who to love, be brave about being generous. Be brave about being willing to get hurt."

And we asked Anna if she's dating now. She says, "No, I'm single. And I'm available, if you want to drop by with some peach pie."

Anna March is a writer, living in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Voices in this Episode

(Mandy Moore / Courtesy Jim Wright Photography)
(Mandy Moore / Courtesy Jim Wright Photography)

A Grammy® and Golden Globes® nominated actress, singer and songwriter—Mandy Moore continues to enjoy versatility in a career marked by memorable performances in family-friendly fare, independent features, and studio films.

Moore will begin production on the third season of the critically acclaimed NBC show “This Is Us” in July 2018. The series follows a group of people born on the same day, including Rebecca (Moore) and Jack, a married couple expecting triplets in Pittsburgh. This role earned Moore a Golden Globe Award nomination while the show received acclaim with an Emmy nomination, Golden Globe nomination, TCA Award nomination, Critics’ Choice Award nomination and was also recognized by The Television Academy Honors. Additionally, Moore also voices the lead character ‘Rapunzel’ in Disney’s animated series “Tangled.”

Next, Moore can be seen in Twentieth Century Fox’s sci-fi thriller, The Darkest Minds, in which she stars as “Cate” alongside Amandla Stenberg and Patrick Gibson. After a disease kills 98% of America's children, the surviving 2% develop superpowers and are placed in internment camps. A 16-year-old girl escapes her camp and joins a group of other teens on the run from the government. The film is set to release on September 14, 2018.

Following The Darkest Minds, Moore will join Woody Harrelson in Roland Emmerich’s Midway. The film is based on the true story of the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the pacific in World War II, and chronicles the exploits of soldiers and aviators involved in the battle.

Moore first came to national attention as a recording artist in 1999 with the release of her debut album, So Real, which reached platinum status in a remarkable three months and produced the top ten single "Candy." She followed with her second album, I Wanna Be With You (Special Edition) which also went platinum and its single, “I Wanna Be With You” stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks. Her self-titled third album, another major seller, featured the #1 hit single "Cry."

In 2002, director Adam Shankman said of Moore, “she has the voice and the face of an angel" as he cast her in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember. The film earned Moore an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female Performance. She also performed four songs featured on the film's soundtrack, which has sold over 5 million albums worldwide.

Moore’s critically acclaimed fourth album, Coverage, highlighted a remarkable collection of classic and some of her personal favorite songs by Elton John, Joan Armatrading, Todd Rundgren and Cat Stevens, among many others.

Moore’s performance in Brian Dannelly's 2004 acclaimed film Saved, for United Artists, had the critics taking notice. Her take on "the perfect Christian girl" who uses her personal relationship with Jesus to take advantage of everyone marked another step in her evolution as a film actress. The film was produced by Michael Stipe and Sandy Stern and co-stars Jena Malone, Eva Amurri, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit and Mary-Louise Parker.

In 2007, Moore released her fifth album, Wild Hope, where she collaborated with critically acclaimed singer/songwriters Lori McKenna, Rachael Yamagata and The Weepies. The album, produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Liz Phair), was praised by Billboard as having “thoughtful musings on love and life…an album full of subtle, but undeniable hooks.”

Moore released her sixth studio album, Amanda Leigh, in 2009 and received great critical acclaim for her work as a co-writer on the album. The album, which featured vintage instrumentation, made Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List” the week it was released. TIME Magazine called it " impeccably recorded album of mature songs" while Rolling Stone lauded the effort with a four-star review.

Moore has a diverse lineup of film credits which includes Dimension Films’ thriller, 47 Meters Down, Dermot Mulroney's Love, Wedding, Marriage opposite James Brolin and Jane Seymour; Sebastian Gutierrez's Hotel Noir opposite Carla Gugino and Kevin Connolly; License to Wed opposite Robin Williams and John Krasinski; Because I Said So opposite Diane Keaton; John Turturro's musical, Romance and Cigarettes with James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and Mary-Louise Parker; and Chasing Liberty, which earned Moore a World Soundtrack Award nomination.

Beyond the big screen, Moore’s notable television appearances include ABC’s beloved drama, Grey's Anatomy, NBC's popular comedy Scrubs, a 5-episode arc on the HBO hit series Entourage where she played herself and the Hallmark channel holiday television film Christmas in Conway, opposite Andy Garcia and Mary Louise Parker. In addition, Moore also lent her voice to the dark humor comedy High School USA! and to Disney Junior’s animated television series, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West in which she voiced the title character. The show marked the first time Disney has debuted a new series as an app before its broadcast debut.

As an Ambassador for PSI’s Five & Alive Organization, Moore is deeply involved in its initiative which addresses health crises facing children under the age of five and their families.

Moore currently resides in Los Angeles.

(Courtesy Anna March)
(Courtesy Anna March)

Anna March is a writer and book midwife residing in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. She is at work on a novel and essay collection.

Headshot of Caitlin O'Keefe

Caitlin O'Keefe Producer, Podcasts & New Programs
Caitlin O'Keefe was a producer of podcasts and new programming at WBUR.



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