My name is Maribel. I have a different story than others in these previous chapters. I hardly remember but when I was younger, I fell and hit my head which caused me to forget things. I have something called a Traumatic Brain Injury. I often forget things and sometimes remember them later, however most of the time I can’t remember. I use a notebook to try and help me remind myself of what I wrote down in the past and why I wrote it, it helps me at times. My family and I immigrated from Mexico to Delaware to find a better school for me. I am very grateful for my parents and what they have done for me, although I wish they wouldn’t need to go through all this trouble just for me. My parents treat me differently than they used to and I hate it. People think that I don’t know when they are whispering about me, but I do. I just wish I could tell them how I want them to treat me differently, but I can’t seem to find the words to say. Whenwe moved to Delaware, my life changed. I wasn’t expecting anything life changing when we first moved. I met someone who was different. He didn’t view me as disabled person; he simply viewed me as a person. His name was Mayor. He was my neighbor in our apartment complex and I would see him almost every day. We went from hardly talking to kissing. I felt more like myself when I was around him. I felt as if I didn’t have a Traumatic Brain Injury. I don’t know how to express it but this is what I want. I would try to find ways to get us alone. I felt best when it was just us two. I felt like it was just us in the whole world. I want to feel how I always feel around Mayor. There is just something about him that I love. He would stand up for me when a boy was making fun of me for being different. I’ve never had someone stand up for me the way Mayor did. I love the feeling around him so much that I skipped class just to be with him. It felt like anything was possible with him. However this feeling ended that night I skipped school to be with Mayor. It started off as a great day until it ended up as the worst night of my life. My father ended up passing away that night while searching for me which led my mom and I moving back to Mexico a week later. At times I would forget that my father was gone forever and I would ask my mother when he was coming home. It hurts even more to be reminded of it. This is something I didn’t write in my notebook. I didn’t want to be reminded of it. I wish that things could’ve ended differently. I wished I wouldn’t have fell in the first place, then my family and I wouldn’t have moved to Delaware and my father would still be here. Things would’ve ended up differently. I often think to myself that it is my fault my father is gone, and I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive myself. It’s been almost a week and I am already missing Mayor. I wonder what is he doing or if he is even missing me. I mostly miss the way he made me feel. I want to feel normal again. My mother is starting to treat me normal again and I am glad she is. I believe that I will someday feel normal on my own, it is my goal to make myself feel the way I felt withMayor on my own. Maybe even hopefully I will get to see Mayor again someday.
I chose to write a chapter on Maribel’s perspective in this book because while I was reading The Book of Unknown Americans, I wanted to hear Maribel’s thoughts throughout the book. Throughout this book, us as readers are learning about Maribel through other character’s thought and opinions about her rather than Maribel herself. With Maribel having a TBI, us as the readers don’t get to see how she is exactly feeling, we just assume how she is feeling. In this chapter, I made sure to tell how Maribel is feeling. According to the National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injuries, these victims feel lonely and isolated even while being surrounded by others and their loved ones, “After injury many survivors describe feeling lonely even when they are surrounded by other people.” (What Happened to Relationships..). In this chapter I showed how Maribel feels as an outsider. She has all these feelings she wish she could express but can’t find the words to use. I added how she feels herself around Mayor and no one else because Mayor is the only person who treats her differently. I believe it was an important thing to add in this chapter because it shows how people can affect and change lives. If Maribel had never moved to Delaware, she would’ve missed out on an experience of healing. I believe that the author decided to add a love story a part of it to show how love helps healing. A question a people with TBI’s ask is “How can I make the most of my life?”, and while reading this inspired me to write about Maribel making a goal for herself in this chapter. Although Maribel has faced many difficulties in her lifetime, she is still trying to remain positive by setting a goal for herself. Her goal is to try to feel like she did when she was with Mayor, but on her own. I decided to add this because in the real world, love doesn’t always work out. I wanted Maribel’s goal to succeed on her own, without the help of a boy or love. She was provided that step towards that goal with meeting Mayor, and now she is determined to achieve it on her own.
“Traumatic Brain Injury Basics.” BrainLine, 5 Mar. 2018, http://www.brainline.org/article/traumatic-brain-injury-basics.
“TBI Basics | What You Need to Know about Brain Injury.” BrainLine, 26 Oct. 2017, http://www.brainline.org/tbi-basics.