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Jameela Jamil Reveals She’s ‘Had Cancer Twice,’ & Now Considers Aging a ‘Privilege’

Actress and activist Jameela Jamil is the first person to be vulnerable and share her past struggles — and last night, she got even more real with her followers. Jamil tweeted she’s “had cancer twice” in response to a troll criticizing her dress and saying she was “too old” to wear it. Jamil reflected on the way our society looks down on aging, and talked about how her health struggles have shaped her relationship with getting older.

The exchange started with someone commenting on a video Jamil tweeted of herself. “You are too old to dress like that. Not a good look,” the troll wrote. Jamil tweeted a screenshot of this comment along with her thoughts, and continued for a few tweets on the theme of aging, and why insults like this still exist. “I would just like to say, that as someone who has been chronically ill my whole life, and had cancer twice, I find it EXTREMELY offensive that there is a cultural taboo around aging,” Jamil writes. “Those of us who fight for our lives and those who lost that fight young, deserve more respect.”

She adds one more note: “It is a sickness of our society to look at aging as anything other than an achievement/privilege.” Mic down, Jamil!

Jamil has spoken about her health struggles before, most recently reminding fans of her lifelong battle with coeliac disease. The Good Place star was also born partially deaf, suffers from severe allergies, and was hit by a car in her teens, after which she had to relearn how to walk, as the Belfast Telegraph reports. In 2015, Jamil spoke out about the breast cancer scare she faced at age 29 — how it was a reminder of life’s unpredictability, and inspired her to take a leap of faith and go after her dreams upon learning she was cancer-free. “That scare shocked me to the core, that’s for certain, but I felt so lucky to be alive,” she said at the time.

Then and now, Jamil has remained firm that her challenges have only made her stronger, and strengthened her resolve to fight for the life she wants. “You can either get bitter and angry about things which have happened to you, or channel that energy positively into making things better,” Jamil told the Telegraph, reflecting on her choice to quit her job and start a new life. “That’s what I want to do from now on.” It seems as though she hasn’t stopped.

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