Being Scared and Looking At My Future

I’m scared. It’s hard for me to admit it but it’s true, I’m scared to death. The reason I’m feeling this way is because of my legs. Over the past few months I’ve been having a lot of pain in my legs, to be more precise, my hips. It seems like every morning I wake up and my hips feel like they’re on fire. I’ve tried for months not to worry about it and just block out the pain but recently that hasn’t been the case and now I’m worry that something is seriously happening to me and I’m beginning to question whether I’ll walk again.

Now I’ve had problems with my legs from the moment I was born. I’ve used braces as a child, walked with a serious limp through most of my teenage years, and I’ve been using a wheelchair for close to 13 years and I’ve never worried about my legs this much, so why now? Why am I so scared, why am I suffering with this fear of something bad happening to me?

Then it hit me. I’m scared because my life is changing right before my eyes. I’m preparing to graduate from college, I’m working on my first film, and now I’m thinking about things in my life that I’ve never thought about 5 or even 10 years ago. I’m thinking about marriage, my career, and whether I want to have children. Knowing that I have these leg problems, I’m truly concerned about how this will affect my future.

I don’t want to be constantly worrying about the condition my legs for the rest of my life, that’s why going to see this doctor at Northwestern Hospital is very important to me. I have to find out what’s going and figure what to do about it. I know I have the support of my friends and family through this tough time and I need every bit of support I can get now. I just want to find out what’s wrong with me and what I can do to fix it .

The Urge To Film Again

It’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog, but it’s been even longer since I picked up a camera. I’ve been done shooting my film for close to six months now and yet I miss filming.

I miss picking up a camera and shooting in different locations. Now I’ve got the urge again, the urge to pick up a camera and start shooting anything that moves.

I got a thrill from shooting my film. The idea of recording my experiences through the streets of Chicago invigorated me. I got to learn so much about myself through my travels and how being in a wheelchair has affected me and the people in my life.

I’m an artist and I have so many ideas in my head that are film related and I feel the urge again to record these new-found ideas and spread those ideas across the world.

Filming is my passion now and I need a camera in my hand to record my experiences.

Wheelchair Chronicles Film Update

As much as I don’t want to do this, I have to put completing my film on hold. With trying to finish up school, my time has been stretched out and I just don’t have the time to fully focus on finishing my film at this time. It’s a real difficult decision to make and it’s hurting me so bad now but I’m so close to graduating and I have to fully focus on that. It hurts because I’m so passionate about my first film and I don’t want to let you all down because you’ve been so supportive of me but school comes first.

Thank you all for supporting me and supporting my blog and supporting my film

Justin

I Rather Be An Outcast

When I started out on my film journey, one of my many goals for the film and for myself was to finally be accepted not just by my peers, but by society . You can understand why I made that a goal for myself. At that time, I felt that being accepted by society as a person with a disability would benefit not only me but other people in wheelchairs and other disabilities. Now over a year later, my goal has changed.

I would rather not be accepted by society as a person with a disability. Let me explain. Throughout my 30 years of life, all I’ve wanted was to be accepted. I wanted to be accepted by my friends, family, and other people. I yearned for that acceptance and I was ashamed of my disability. I figured that if I wanted to be successful I had to embrace society, I had to be a part of it, I had to conform. Even when I was working on this film, I still was trying to gain acceptance. Now I don’t want that at all. I don’t want to be “accepted” anymore, I would rather be an outcast than be accepted by society.

Why should I work my ass off to force people to welcome me into their “little club?” Hell, they shunned me to begin with. They treat me like I don’t belong and I’m supposed to work hard to have them welcome me with open arms reluctantly, no way. So I rather stick with being an outcast. As an outcast, I get to be myself. I don’t have to hide who I am to be viewed as normal because I’m not normal.

There are things about me that stand out to many people who I’ve met throughout my life and that’s all that matters to me. Those people who I’ve befriended have accepted me from the beginning as a person and not a man in a wheelchair. I shouldn’t have to work for acceptance, as a black man and a person with a disability; I should already have that acceptance.

Justin

Winter Stories: The Day I Got Stuck In The Snow

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While being in my wheelchair, I’ve experienced many obstacles while traveling through the streets of Chicago. Being that we’re still in winter and with the first significant snowstorm in Chicago, that took place, I wanted to share with you all about the time I got stuck in the snow while riding in my wheelchair. This incident took place in my neighborhood and it was a frightening experience that turned into a great experience thanks to a Good Samaritan.

The incident took place in my neighborhood of Old Town. This happen in December of 2006 and this was at a time when me and my mom were still getting acclimated with our neighborhood just moving into Old Town in August of that year. I was also getting acclimated to my (then) new power chair and the “rebel” in me thought I can do anything in my chair even go through snow. Well on this particular day, I learned that this rebel can be stopped.

It happened on a Sunday morning and I normally go out at that time (no matter the season) to get the Sunday newspapers, get some fresh air and enjoy the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. I made a stop at the Walgreen’s on the corner of North Ave. & Wells. On my way there the sidewalks around where I lived and along North Ave. were relatively clean with a few patches and piles of snow (which I could rollover in my power chair). After picking up the newspapers from Walgreen’s  instead of going back the way I came, the “rebel” in me decided to ride around the neighborhood and go a different direction and that was a mistake.

Instead of heading back west up North Ave. and back to my house, I went east on North Ave. to the next street LaSalle and went south up one block to a street called Burton and that’s where I made my mistake. Now let me describe this street. Around there Burton between LaSalle and Wells is a really short street and it’s like a dead-end and at the end it has a long sidewalk leading to Wells. I went up Burton and I almost got stuck by an alleyway over there due to the snow but I keep pressing on, nothing was gonna stop me.

Wells & Burton
Burton Pl. – This is the street I came up from LaSalle

I approached this bar called Burton Place (pretty good bar, by the way) and there was a lot of snow in that area but I figured that I could make it and as I kept moving through the snow it was bad but then…my chair came to a complete stop! I’m stuck in the snow with no way of backing up. I’m scared to death! I’ve never been stuck in the snow and worse it was very cold. There were people around but I didn’t want them to think I was stuck in the snow. I panicked at that time because I was ashamed of asking for help. I was getting cold but then out of nowhere a man was walking down Wells with a shovel headed in my direction. He saw me and asked if I needed help. I told him reluctantly “yes I did need help” This Good Samaritan spent at least 20 minutes digging me out of the snow and making a path for me to get out. Eventually, I was able to back out and move forward to get out of there.

Burton Place Bar & Grill
Burton Place Bar & Grill

I was so grateful to this random guy because he didn’t have to help me at all. I was sad after that because I didn’t have any money left to give him and I really wanted to give him something for helping me. The interesting thing is that I never saw that guy again because where I live I’m used to seeing people around even if I don’t know them and I never saw that guy again. On that day I learned a tough lesson that day. I’m still a rebel in my wheelchair but at certain points when I’m traveling through the city, I have to shut down the rebel and adventurer in me and be more cautious especially during the winter.