What Is A Wheelchair?

What is a wheelchair? I know that’s a silly question to ask, but it’s an important question to ask and give a legitimate answer to. I spent some time looking up the definition of a wheelchair and I saw few definitions that didn’t give me the answer I was looking for but then I came across the Oxford dictionary online and gave me an answer I could work with.

According to the Oxford dictionary a wheelchair is “a chair fitted with wheels for use as a means of transport by a person who is unable to walk as a result of illness, injury or disability.” Okay, so that’s the dictionary version of what a wheelchair is but I would like to add-on to that definition because I feel that’s just a basic, straight to the point definition. But I don’t feel and I know many others who use wheelchairs don’t feel that way either.

I want to define what a wheelchair is to me; I can’t speak for anyone else in a wheelchair because our experiences are completely different from each other so I can only speak on how I define it.

To me my wheelchair is an extension of myself as a person. I use it to get around Chicago whether riding through the various neighborhoods of the city or using it on public transportation. It helps me to go places around the city that would’ve been impossible for me if I didn’t have it.

My wheelchair is the first thing people see when they meet me for the first time and it’s understandable. What I don’t like are people who pretend they don’t see my chair. You know the ones I’m talking about, “oh when I met you I didn’t see your wheelchair, I only see you as a person.” That’s bullshit! People can clearly see I’m in a wheelchair.

My wheelchair has given me a chance to do things in my life I never thought were possible. If it wasn’t for my chair I wouldn’t be a film director and that means The Wheelchair Chronicles would not exist today. If it wasn’t for my wheelchair I wouldn’t have met all the great people who have made an impact on my life and I wouldn’t have developed relationships with these people.

I’ve been in a wheelchair for 12 years now and I’ve finally gotten to understand more about myself sexually and as a man. I’m 31 and I’m comfortable with being in a wheelchair. Now I do want to eventually want to walk again but as of right now I’m in my chair and it will continue to be an extension of what I can do and who I am as a person.

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Author: jcooper82

Hey everybody welcome to Justin's Wheelchair Chronicles. This is a blog that's dedicated to my documentary The Wheelchair Chronicles. I'm 35 years old and I'm a proud graduate of DePaul University. Currently I'm of member of Access Living's Young Professionals Council. This film is a journey into my life and the struggles, the obstacles that I go through in my wheelchair. I'm doing this film not only to show people who I am but I want to have fun filming my crazy adventures in the city of Chicago.

4 thoughts on “What Is A Wheelchair?”

  1. This is so true. Dictionary definitions do nothing to explain what wheelchairs are all about or how they are perceived in the modern world. Is Chicago an accessible city? You don’t mention why you have been 12 years in a wheelchair – was it an accident or illness? I think it is great that you are living a full and creative life.

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