My day of being in a wheelchair is horrible. It’s horrible because of my circumstance. I want to be able to walk like other people. I want to kick a ball like other people. I want to be like a normal person. Not because I’m normal now, you know what I mean? I want to be more normal than the average person. Physically, I can’t go to the bathroom by myself, feed myself, put my shirt on or go in the pool. I want to be able to do more things on my own. I want less help.
The reason why I’m revealing my feelings about walking is because I want people to understand what I’m going through. Sometimes when I go home, I listen to Josh Groban. And I go in my room and listen to him and I cry. I cry because I sometimes get very emotional about this and crying releases tension.
I like coming to Lifestyles because it brings me to a place where I have friends. It is not a babysitting service. Lifestyles is a structural program, which teaches us to go out into the workforce. It also gives us an opportunity to expand our minds.
And it gives us a chance to shine. Lifestyles hais a social basis where people come and be happy. And this is why I feel good when I come here. We learn to properly introduce ourselves. I enjoy interviewing people on camera and off. We take pictures and learn to be photographers. So when I come to Lifestyles, I feel like I have a purpose. I feel very special because Lifestyles got me a camera that I can put on my tray, so I can take pictures.
There is an invention called [Robotic] Exoskeleton that you put on like a jacket and you can walk. It has worked with some people, but for me, I don’t know. If you take a picture of my spine, it’s curved. So I don’t know how the Exoskeleton would work. I hope someday in the near future it would. The first thing I would do is go on a plane and take a trip to Italy to see my cousins. I did it once, but there were people to lift me. I want to actually walk by myself.
I enjoyed dictating this essay because it gave me a chance to tell you what I go through everyday in a wheelchair. I hope you read my story because I want everybody to know what I’m going through. Thank you everybody for listening and have a good day.
Joseph Padalino attends Lifestyles for the Disabled day habilitation program. This essay was dictated to Acewin Tam, an intern from Staten Island Technical High School, and Kathryn Carse with the Lifestyles M