TBI Survivor [off screen]: ...like, blow-up with a friend over, like, nothing. We were playing a board game and I totally lost it.
Jesus: [to Lena] This is pointless. Can we get out of here?
Lena: Please, just give it a chance.
Survivor: I tried to explain that it wasn't me. That I sometimes literally can't control my emotions. But people - and even my own family, who spent all those days in the hospital with me - they still don't get it.
Jesus: [Sits back. What she's saying is hitting him.]
Survivor: Because I look fine, they think I should be like I used to be. They don't understand...
Jesus: [Looks at Lena; hurt]
Survivor: ...because the disability you have is invisible.
Stef: [Listens. Takes this in.]
Survivor: So, they think you're either being defiant, or not trying, or faking it to get off easy.
Jesus: [Listening, getting emotional]
Survivor: They end up talking about you behind your back. Not sharing stuff with you 'cause they think that you can't handle it.
Jesus: [listening, but it's getting harder for him]
Survivor: ...makes you feel even more alone and isolated.
Jesus: [swallows, tries to keep it together]
Survivor: But I don't want to tell anyone when I don't understand things. Or when I forget where I parked my car. Which happens a lot.
Other Survivors: [laugh gently]
Survivor: Sometimes I just wish I could fade away because it's easier to be alone than to constantly be misunderstood....
Jesus: [close up on Jesus, struggling to keep composure]
Survivor: ...by people I love the most.
Lena: [sees Jesus upset] Honey...
Jesus: [bolts from the chair]
JESUS - OUTSIDE - MOMS COME TO JOIN HIM
Lena: That's what we're doing to you, isn't it?
Jesus: [nods, forces a smile through tears] I know you guys don't mean to but...
Stef: Love, you don't have to say that, okay? We've been, uh...
Lena: We've been doing this wrong. And I'm so sorry. We really thought that we were just helping you.
Jesus: I know it's just...every time you guys try to help me it makes me feel like I--I CAN'T do it. Or like I'm bad. Or broken, or something.
Lena: [tearfully] Honey, you're not broken. You're not. And I promise you that we're gonna stop making you feel that way.
Jesus: [exhales, relieved]
Stef and Lena: [hug him]
- Published Works
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- Interview with Ellen Stumbo: Growing Up With a Disability
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- All About CP and Me (Free eBook)
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