I think we should be grateful every day of the year. I’m definitely thankful for a lot of things, especially throughout this whole pandemic. I’m thankful to have internet, which allows me to interact with people, whether it’s a phone conversation, text or FaceTime. I actually get to use the phone again! People don’t use the phone like they used to, so I’m appreciative of having conversations with people.

I am thankful for waking up and still having the strength in me for art and the drive to keep going and to keep pushing the envelope. I’m thankful for mouth painting and the opportunities that it has brought. I have a business, many work friends and a social life. I’m thankful for all the cool friends that I have that also help me every day.

I’m thankful for all my attendants. They help me every morning and every night getting me up and down and taking care of me. I am definitely thankful for the fact that I can live independently, considering my circumstances. Not a lot of people have that opportunity to be independent. Instead of looking at everything in a negative way, find persistence and strength from people and friends. Being thankful can bring a whole lot more joy and positivity in your world.

I’m absolutely thankful for having the ability to draw, paint and make new designs and concepts. I haven’t lost what I build up from years ago as a player in the graffiti community. After my accident in 2010 left me a quadriplegic, I became a person who does mouth painting from a power wheelchair. I’m thankful for being a quadriplegic, as it has shown me a lot of different ways of viewing life in different perspectives. I might have never seen these perspectives if I hadn’t become a quadriplegic.

Sometimes, you have to be thankful for the bad things that happened to us. These events are not always bad, maybe they direct you to take a different path to a better way. You never know. That’s life for you. We have to be thankful for that.

About Jesse Cuellar: Jesse is an artist and a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. An accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, so he uses his mouth to paint and expresses himself through his art. Jesse lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and enjoys painting and hanging out with his friends. Click here to learn more about Jesse.