See Me… Not The Chair

I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t care that people stare. Children especially stare more than anyone. I’ve always liked to stand out and this is no different. I don’t care that my wheelchair draws attention to myself. I like the curiosity that it brings to people when they see me. It’s an easy way to start up a conversation. I’ve met so many people through the curiosity that it draws.

When people ask me my story I make sure that I tell them my plans for the future. The story never ends with, “then I broke my neck in a car accident and now I am paralyzed from the chest down.” I go on to explain what I’ve accomplished since the accident. I always make it a point to say that I think that I will be more successful now that I’m in this position than before my accident. Because I truly believe that. If I just explain that I got in a car accident then people tell me they are very sorry for me for what happened. I hate it when people try to pray for me so that I can walk again. If that ever happens anymore I make sure to tell them not to pray that I walk but to pray that I succeed. To pray to help carry out God’s plan for me.

During that first year I was ashamed of being in a wheelchair. I hated seeing friends that I had not seen since the accident and I just felt different. But now when I look in the mirror I see the same person that I saw before the accident. I actually see a better person. I don’t see the chair. I don’t want you to see the chair. I want you to see me and to understand who I am and what I am about. I’m living life to the fullest now to the best of my abilities. I constantly try new things and push myself to go out of my comfort zone.

When I first got injured I was afraid that my youngest nephew would always remember me as his uncle in the wheelchair. He may not remember the memories before my accident because he was only two years old. I was afraid that I would not be able to do anything fun with my nephews. But I was wrong. I’ve gone tubing with them. My youngest nephew likes to sit on my lap and drive my wheelchair around. He also likes to randomly sneak up and grab my joystick and drive me in some random direction. Like this weekend, at the Clarion, I was sitting by the fire and he randomly came up and grabbed the joystick and said that he was going to drive me into the fire. He was just messing around but it’s fun to try and catch him trying to push the buttons on my wheelchair. My oldest nephew is nine years old now and I can have great conversation with him. When I see him he always comes up to me and gives me the biggest hug. I can tell how much he loves me and he treats me no different than before my accident. I’m just happy that I’m alive so that I can watch my nephews grow up and also my nieces. I’ve still got so much I can teach them and so many stories that I can share with them. I can still make them laugh and make them smile. I can still have fun with them.

I thought that a lot of my friends would not stick around. But my friendships now are stronger than they were before my accident. I didn’t think people would really want to hang out with me because I cannot really do much physically. But it’s the opposite and people see a better person and they like being around me more now than before. I’ve learned who my true friends are but really not one of my friends has abandoned me since my accident. I’m so lucky to have such a great group of friends.

I’m so excited to see what the rest of this year has in store for me. Just yesterday I drove the boat through the slalom course going 36 mph perfectly. This was something I never thought I would be a able to do again. I’ve got a bunch of speeches already lined up. We’re working now to get me speeches in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools all around Ohio. I’ve got a team of people that call themselves ‘Team Adam’ that are there to support me and help me to accomplish my goals. I feel like I never would’ve had this type of support if my accident never happen. They see the power in my message and they want to help me spread it to the world.

Our first goal was to raise $7500 for my Kickstarter campaign. We accomplished that and now it’s time to move on to the next goal. That goal is to find an editor to get my book ready to be sent to publishers. I want the book to be in perfect shape before I send it out. I’m certain that there has to be a publisher that would not pass up the opportunity to publish my book. There are certain things that a publisher wants to see. They want to see if I have an audience that wants to read my book. I can show them that I’ve had over 20,000 people read my blog. I’ve reached my goal on Kickstarter. I’ve also given over 40 speeches all around Ohio and I keep getting invited back. All of these are good selling points to a publisher.

So now it’s time to take that next step. To make the dream of publishing a book come true. In my book I hold nothing back. I will tell you all of the mistakes that I have made and all the crazy things that I have done. I’m not ashamed of what I have done. It helps lead to a very powerful message at the end of the book. My story is a roller coaster ride going from funny to tragic to inspirational. You will learn from what I did right and what I did wrong.

So I sit here in my wheelchair not ashamed of it. It reminds me of what I have been through and what I survived. It reminds me that I should be happy to be alive. I used to constantly think what life would be like if this never happened to me. But now I dream of the best outcome for my life despite my situation. I do not think that I would’ve liked who I would have become if this never happened to me. I was going down the wrong path. My accident has forced me to use my mind over my body and a strong and active mind will take you far in life. My chair has taken over most of what I used to do physically. I’ve got my right hand, my mind, my voice, my chair, and the greatest family and friends I could ever ask for and that is all I need for the rest of my life.

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2 thoughts on “See Me… Not The Chair

  1. Your writing just keeps getting better. I love this entry. It gives such wonderful examples of how your attitude has changed since the first year after your accident. You’ve backed up what you believe with such great illustrations. I am so proud of what you have become.

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