Category Archives: Motivational

I’ve never done the robot on purpose

jj-movement

Living with cerebral palsy is the ultimate guessing game. This cartoon is probably hilarious to anyone that has CP because it’s true. As I sit here writing this blog, a muscle in my left leg is twitching for absolutely no reason. I’m not talking about a small twitch either, I can see it moving. I’m not making it move it’s just doing its own thing. Tomorrow my left leg maybe fine, and my right arm will just refuse to work correctly. I think there are a lots of factors that contribute to my unpredictable body.

I’ve been told that the weather affects everybody whether they realize it or not, if it’s cold outside, my body gets really tight, I might have twitching going on in multiple places. As a rule my body likes warmer weather. If I’m warm and the climate is nice, I have much better odds of having no real anomalies with my body, but if it’s warm and there is rain in the air, my hamstrings might tighten up or they might not, it quite literally depends on the day . I guess I’m the ultimate weathervane.

The unpredictability of my body is hard for those that help me. More times than I can count my dad has been trying to help me put shoes on, and my feet have curled to the point that they are hard to get into a shoe. He normally looks at me and says something like “relax please.” All I can say to him is that I’m trying and that’s truth.

Sometimes my legs won’t straighten enough to put jeans on. When something like this happens, it’s tough on me because they’re quite literally nothing I can do to help. I often feel like a hassle or a burden whether I actually am or not.

My point with this post is not to depress you but to remind you that life is unpredictable. My body is a daily reminder of that for me. The way I deal with it is just to roll with it. If my hands aren’t working, I ask for help  if I need something immediate, and then focus on making them work until they do.

My dad often gets frustrated because I will spill a glass of whatever I am drinking on the floor, simply because my hands decided to have a dance party as I was trying to pick up the glass. I have one particular glass that I love because it’s big. It’s at least 20 ounces and that means I have to ask for refills much less often, (Plus one of my nieces gave it to me have a present, it has a mustache near the top). My dad hates that glass because I spill it fairly often. He says “why not use a glass that’s easier to handle? My answer at least in my mind, is I’m not willing to stop using that glass just because I struggle with it. My logic is that the glass is like physical therapy. As long as I’m not spilling my drink every time I’m picking it up I need to keep using it, because it’s physically good for me to do so.

I repeat Life is unpredictable, just like my body, but you just have to roll with it and keep working through it. If you take shortcuts you might become less able to handle the next thing that comes your way. I feel like there’s at least one fortune cookie in this post. I wonder if I could make money writing fortune cookies?

What’s unpredictable in your life, and how do you handle it?

Give it up for Evie one more time for giving me good material to work with.

I spend lots of time in the matrix

jj-matrix

I am generally a fairly upbeat person. If you see me on the street, odds are I will have a smile and look like I own the place. As I get older I’m having more and more days that I don’t feel like the king of the world. Stuff just hurts. I think everybody deals with that as we age. If you’re out in public very long you will notice that a lot of people haven’t learned how to fake it.

Some mornings I get up and because of cerebral palsy my body just refuses to work. I have a pretty standard routine, of checking email and doing other things that don’t require much from me physically for the first hour of my morning. I do this because it takes that long every day just to figure out what’s working and what’s not. I’ve had several mornings recently that I have gotten out of bed sore, and my hands just didn’t want to work at all. My body doesn’t work well on a good day, but especially when its cold, things get even worse. I go through my hour routine, and my brain says” just take the day off and go back to bed, everything hurts, and it’s not worth it” I never go back to bed.

I want to. I talk about it a lot, but I never actually do. My reason for this? Life is too short. If I go to bed every time I don’t feel like being up, eventually I would be in bed all day. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So I put a smile on my face, and I force myself to do something productive. Before I know it, the entire day is gone, and I still have three hours of work to do.

To be honest, I didn’t want to write this blog today, but it got done anyway. Why push myself like that you ask? The answer is because I don’t want to allow my body to dictate what I do everyday. I complain more than I should to those close to me(just ask Evie).

She motivates me every day for reasons I won’t go into here. Let’s just say she has struggles of her own, and she’s much tougher than me. Being around someone who won’t even admit they are having a bad day, pushes me not to think about my little aches and pains.

What’s the moral of the story? Your mind is amazing and you can push through lots of bad days, just by telling yourself repeatedly and loudly that everything is going your way, and you will not be stopped.

 

The matrix is what you make it. What you believe and tell yourself you feel, can actually come true.

Test it for yourself. Neo has nothing on you.

Thanks to Evie floor making me look at least as good as Keanu Reeves

 

I know I’m a rockstar you don’t have to treat me like one

jj-coa

People watch me everywhere I go. I don’t know if they are curious about the chair, or if I am just so good-looking that they can’t help but stare.   I started to notice it in grade school. Nobody said anything really, there was just always someone watching me. As I got older, that changed. I started to notice people whispering and some would even point. Girls talked to me differently than they did the other guys.  Adults while being unsure about me, even scared of me, generally treated me better than they did other kids. At some point I decided if people we’re going to watch me, I would give them something to watch. I learned to become outgoing, and enjoy being the center of attention wherever I am. I’ll never understand why  people don’t just ask what’s on their mind. If you ever see me on the street and have a question please ask it, no matter how stupid you may think it is. I would rather you ask then not. Anyone who knows me, knows I will answer pretty much anything. Nothing is really off-limits

When I was in college, I had a three hour advertising class that I did not enjoy. There was nothing wrong with the class, I just didn’t want to be there most days. The class started at 1 PM just after lunch. One day, I decided to test a theory .

My theory was that I could roll into the class however late I wanted, and no one would say a word, including the professor who was in her first year. For six weeks I took a long lunch and got to class at least a half hour late every time the class met. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t draw attention to myself, I just rolled in, with my drink in hand, and took my seat. The professor never said a single word, never gave me a look, and I got an A for the class. Granted, I did all my work and studied for the tests, but I’m pretty sure anybody else would have been dropped at least a letter grade. I couldn’t have done that with Dr. Leigh she would have thrown me out of the class and told me not to come back.

People like her are people that I respect and don’t want to disappoint, ever. She never saw the chair or saw me as disabled. If she wanted to talk about something, we talked, just like regular people. I very rarely feel like a regular person. Most days I don’t mind it. If I ever get famous I will already be used to the attention. I had a very close friend  I only met once in person.. She was extraordinarily beautiful and she felt like men and other women were constantly judging her for her beauty. We spent two days together. Afterwords she told me on the phone that those two days were extraordinary because for that time, in a long Time She felt invisible. She felt for the first time in a long time that no one was watching her, because every eye was on me. She said in those two days she was more comfortable then she could ever remember being, because she was invisible. Her name was Patricia and you can read about her here

So what’s the moral of the story? Well, people are just people. Disabled, tall short, fat, thin, it doesn’t matter. Be bold and talk to them. you never know what you might find that out. It’s cool being a rock star most days, but just having a conversation with someone is a lot more fun.

A round of applause for another fabulous comic please. Thanks Evie

 

I can do anything with a little help

jj-challenges

This post is a day late. I knew I had a great motivational comic in the works and I wanted to wait to post it. When you’re in a wheelchair almost every part of life is different than for a normal person. That’s not a bad thing it just is. I’ve been in this situation as pictured in the comic many times. 9 out of 10 times I’ve gotten to go down that slide with some amazing help from someone else. it is very strange to be independent minded like I am and yet require so much help for things that most people take for granted. The thing about overcoming a challenge is that you can have all the help in the world, but before any of it is useful, you have to be willing to work and do your part. Every challenge I have ever faced I needed someone’s help to overcome it.

I have had people literally carrying me up the ladder of a slide like you see here. This blog is another great example. The writing comes from me but I cannot express to you how much work Evie does on a weekly basis to give me the ability to talk to you. Besides this project she is involved in everything else that I do. Having her with me has changed my life(and I’m not just saying that because I know her mother reads this.) At this point, I don’t start a new project without her, she means that much. If I wasn’t willing to do the work. she wouldn’t want to help nearly as much.

I do get frustrated because I need so much help, I think anyone would, but as a friend of my dad says “Do the best you can with what you got”  I am less afraid now than at any other point in my life to ask for help, but I know I have to be willing to do my part. What challenges do you need to overcome and who can you ask for help? (if you’re a really nice to me I’ll let you borrow Evie but I’ll need her back).

For more on this topic check out The support system

It may be a wheelchair but at least it’s comfortable

jj-comfortable-seat

I have lived with cerebral palsy for almost 37 years now and as I get older it gets harder. One thing that always stays the same is the fact that my seat is always comfortable.

I could tell you what I struggle with every day,( and sometimes I do) but most of the time I think we should always look for the upside in every situation, I don’t really think about my Seat until I’m sitting at a sporting event, or in church,(Church it Is interesting because not only do most people have to sit in uncomfortable seats but they have to get up and down a lot too) I think the church leaders do that to keep most people awake.(Holy aerobics, up down, up down, up down) It’s extremely comical to be sitting in a church service, while  every other person in the building is standing.

I often joke that if I could add a couple cup holders, and a massager attachment I’d have a La-Z-Boy on wheels.

 

If you are having a tough day, tough week or tough month, I promise there is an upside.  You may not like your job but the fact that you have the ability to go to a job is a blessing. I’m certain your paycheck is better than mine.

No matter where you are or what you’re doing there is an upside, you just have to be willing to look for it. No you can have my seat.

 

Are you jealous Evie? Give her a round of applause folks for another fabulous cartoon.

 

Do you know where your remote is?

jj-bullies

I spoke to a school recently and I had a sophomore in high school ask me if I had ever been bullied. My answer was no. That seemed to surprise everybody in the auditorium. What might be more surprising to you is that it’s true.

Everyone was always nice to me. I don’t know if this is because they genuinely liked me or if they were afraid. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that there is a lot of fear out there towards me and the other people with handicaps. Fear of the unknown I guess.

I think one of the main reasons I was never bullied was because I was vocal. If someone had wanted to push me somewhere I didn’t want to go, there wasn’t much I could physically do to stop them. No one ever really tried. I think this is mostly because everywhere I went the authority figures, teachers or older people were always my friends.

If someone had ever tried I would have been very loud and vocal about the fact that I was not a fan of being moved without my permission, and someone around  would have come to my aid. Evie has told me that I am the loudest, most opinionated man she has ever met, bar none. I think most of the people that know me would say the same thing.

I think it comes from the fact that someone in my position has to be able to communicate well because if we are in public there’s a pretty good chance that we will require assistance of some type from others around us. I don’t like it, but that’s just a fact of my life. Because of this, if I don’t like something or don’t want to do something, I’m pretty loud and obvious about it.

I think that’s the key to bullies. You have to make your desires known, and make them known loudly. Preferably to somebody in authority.

I know lots of people, especially young people want to handle their own business, and don’t want to be seen as unable to take care of themselves. If you are one of those young people reading this. Take it from a guy who can’t take care of himself. Like it or not, at some point you are going to have to ask for help from others to be successful.

I truly believe that human beings are not designed to work alone. Maybe that’s just because my circumstances don’t really give me an option to try to work alone. There are many times in my day, whether it’s getting dressed, or going to the restroom, or showering that I wish I didn’t have to ask for help. In each of those situations however, I don’t really have a choice. If you are being bullied, say something. In many cases I promise there is no better choice. You are important, and your opinions and desires matter.

You can take control of every situation that involves you. Sometimes taking control means asking for help. Sometimes you may have to ask more than once. If that’s what it takes then do it. You are in control of what happens to you. If it has already happened, be loud and let anyone who will listen know, so that it doesn’t happen again. You are too important to be bullied, abused or neglected. You are special, and worth it. Take control and let everyone else know it.

I am insanely protective of those who are important to me. You are important to someone, never doubt that. We’ve all been given free will and the ability to take control of our lives however we choose. Don’t lose the remote.

Thank you to Evie for being my partner in crime and helping me to illustrate my stories far better than I could on my own.

If something is worth doing you’ll find a way to do it

jj-snowchains

Life is hard it just is. I think it’s built that way. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, everyone struggles with something, my something happens to be a wheelchair. I’ve met a few people in chairs(I emphasize the word few) who just take life easy. If something is hard, they get help before even attempting it themselves.

I’ve never been that way. I wish I had the mindset to chill all day and play video games or watch Netflix, because I can. That would be awesome. Unfortunately I have this little voice in my head, that says “there is work to be done” I am not independently wealthy and I don’t think that will voice will go away until I am. I’m going to be really honest here and tell you that I have no idea what my future holds. I’ve always lived with my family and they have been care of me. I’m at an age now where I know they’re not going to be around forever. When my parents are gone, I know I’ll be taken care of but I don’t know to what extent. Consequently that little boys in my head is getting very loud. I’m constantly working, trying to find a way to make money. (that’s part of the reason that there is a donate button on every page of this blog). Most of that goes to Evie by the way. Fancy webpages and art don’t come cheap, and a girl has to eat.

Back to the point. It would be hard for me to go out and get a regular job. Even with my fabulous personal assistant and Jane. So, I work from home. I don’t make all the money that I will need to prepare for my future, but it’s a start.

My mom gets frustrated when people park in handicap parking spaces and they aren’t handicapped, or in front of ramps. I don’t because I figure I’ll find a way to get somewhere, no matter what obstacle it Is in front of me. There’s always away, it may take time find it, but there’s always a way. Believe it or not I found ways to get in to friends houses that had stairs. It wasn’t easy but we did it.

I think that’s the key to getting through the toughness in life. You just have to do it. You have to get up everyday, and face whatever obstacle is in front of you. The only way you can lose and not make progress is to quit. No matter what you’re struggling with Debt, School, relationships, work, whatever it is, the only way you can fail is to quit.

It may not feel like you’re not getting  anywhere for weeks, or months, or years. It may feel like you’re drowning. I’ve been there and it wasn’t so long ago.  When you are in that place all you can do is keep going, I’m pretty sure I have already written a post or two on this topic. I bring it up again today, because I feel that we need to be reminded regularly that we all go through the same stuff and we are not alone.

Here’s my question to you kind reader. What obstacles are you facing in your life, and how do you plan to get over them? Comments please.

Thanks again to Evie for today’s comic.

A good system can get you where you want to go in 2016

jj-resolution2

 

I know that most of you made New Year’s resolutions. I don’t really because I don’t see the point. You can pretty much say anything, but if you don’t do the work it doesn’t matter. A very smart friend of mine routinely says” under promise and over deliver. I find that this works extremely well in almost every aspect of life. Applying it to my own life, most people don’t expect a lot of me because i’m in a wheelchair.  consequently, when I do something that’s not even really that amazing, I get applauded. (graduating from college is a great example of this).

There were a lots of people in my life who thought I had conquered the world when I graduated. If there are any Young kids out there, going to college is not hard. If you show up every day and put in a reasonable amount of effort, you’ll be doing better than 90% of your classmates, and trust me, you will be rewarded for it.

Back to the original point. If you want to get something done this year. The key is just to start,and take small steps towards where you want to be. I know that I need a book under my belt, and this blog is a small step toward getting there. When I first started writing the book, I would sit in front of the word processor, and be completely at a loss as to what to write. Then Sara came along, and helped me deal with one of my biggest hurdles at that time, the typing. When she got too busy to help me anymore. Evie showed up. After some trial and error. She started this blog, despite my whining. I’ve learned over the last several months , that if I have even a little feedback from readers, it’s much easier for me to continue writing. (my friend Scott Adams calls this creating a system to make it easier to get to where you want to go.) You can read my review of his book right here.

It’s been several months since I read that book, and I’ve had a chance to apply systems to my own life, (this blog being one of them), and based on my experience Scott was right. This is much easier than sitting in front of a word processor, (and much more dynamic). Sometime in the near future, (I have no idea when), I will have enough content here to finally put together the book that I started years ago.

So let’s recap, grand resolutions are hard to keep, (impossible for most of us). So instead create a system that will get you where you want to go. If you want to lose weight, find something you enjoy doing, like taking a walk in the park, instead of going to the gym. If it’s fun you’ll do it better(and the more often) I swear. Working on this blog is fun, so I write more it’s that simple.

Just for fun, tell us what resolutions you have made for 2016 in the comments.  Let’s talk about creating systems instead of setting goals to get you where you want go. Give Evie some props for the fancy artwork while you’re down there. Thank you rock star.

Also thanks to Scott Adams. Go read his book.

 

 

 

No one is perfect and if they were they’d be bored to death

 

jj-perfection

 

I’m obviously not perfect. My chair reminds me of that every day. No one is, but we all seem to strive for it. For some it’s about weight. Others it’s about money, or self-image. It varies but we all struggle with something.

I don’t really ever think about my imperfections until I’m turned down by a woman that I’m interested in. Everything else in my life could be going my way, but when that woman says no, I struggle.

Intellectually, I know I’m a great guy and if someone doesn’t want me it’s their fault, but in truth, when I get told no, it’s a massive struggle to not get down on myself, and start thinking “if I wasn’t in a chair, she’d say yes. I can’t really blame her who would want someone with all my issues”

Truth is, if I wasn’t in a chair, I’d still be flawed in some other way. No one is perfect because our imperfection is what makes us interesting. My imperfections give me a perspective on life, that very few people will ever have. My imperfection makes me unique, and gives me gifts that no one else can match.

It’s hard to keep that in mind when you’re struggling, I know, but it’s true. There is no one on earth like you, who can do what you do, because they don’t have the imperfections that make you who you are. Use them and be great.

Thanks to Evie for another  great comic

What will you do with a fresh start?

Being in a wheelchair isn't easy but I ride a wheelie as often as I can
Being in a wheelchair isn’t easy but I ride a wheelie as often as I can

It’s the first day of 2016. That means as of 12 AM, last night we all get to start fresh. Whatever happened last year can be left in the past and you can look forward to the future. 2016 can be whatever you want it to be.

Make the best of it.  Feel free to share your plans for the year with the rest of us in the comments below

This is the first comic of the year from Evie. I can’t wait to see what’s next. We both wish everyone the best of everything this year. I’m wondering if she’s supposed to be the cat peeking from behind my chair?