Over the last few years I’ve seen my version of The Wheelchair Chronicles countless times and with every viewing, I’m often cringing at what I’m saying on screen. Being my own worst critic, I’m saying to myself during these viewings, “what the hell was I talking about, why did I say what I said in this scene, I can’t believe I said that.” I realize recently during a private viewing session I did for a friend of mine that I’m a completely different person now than I was when I did those interview sessions. 2017 Justin Cooper is different from 2013 Justin Cooper (the year I recorded those sessions).
For example, in parts of the film, I talk about wanting independence and not wanting help from strangers, friends, and even my mom. I felt that in order to be independent, I had to do everything by myself, I had to “prove” to everyone how independent I was gonna be. That was me in 2013 and in the present day I’m thinking to myself, why would you say something like that? It makes no sense. I say that because my interpretation of being independent was slightly off. Being independent is not about trying to prove to others that you don’t need their help or that you can do everything by yourself. In all honesty, I can’t do everything by myself and I require help from my friends and family in certain situations because I see them as being apart of my team, my support system. I can still crave independence but without the strong support system in my life I’m nothing, I’m nothing without them.
Let’s be real, I’m my own worst critic when it comes to my film. In the two showings that I’ve done so far people have been positive in their reviews and understand where I was coming from in talking about being independent but from those interview sessions I’ve grown and have learned more about myself and I’ve met so many wonderful people who made me see that needed help and being on a team is not bad at all.