Goal One: Composure

So, I prepped very carefully for this contest I entered. I got all my information together and collected my creations, and with what I thought was a very nice submission package, I arrived at the jury room.


I was “too late” they told me.

How could that be? I had called ahead, and at the front desk, they told me I could arrive between 7 and 8 and all would be well.

Untrue. I needed to arrive by 7 in order to participate. And it was 7:40.

My face fell. My face flushed. I became flustered and could not figure out what to say. I stammered and stuttered and probably looked like the crushed child I felt like inside. I could feel the confusion wash over me — flood of frustrated emotions… so much hope at this, so much anticipation, so much…

I cast my eyes to the floor and stammered a weak protest. I felt the eyes of the jurors on me, apprising me, critiqueing me even before they saw my work. The sting of disappointment flushed me bright red. Indignation. Outrage. Childish tantrum kicking and screaming, trying to get out.

Not the best face to put forward. Not the best impression to make. Not for a contest of this stature. And it is of a considerable stature.

I managed to hold back the outburst I felt coiled in me. And I managed to blurt out that I had called ahead, and they had given me wrong information. In a moment of compassion — pity? — the jurors allowed me to open my submission packet and show them what I had. They didn’t send me packing. I may have a chance, yet.

I will know better, next time. Be there by 7, in order to participate.

I will do better, next time. When disappointment rears its unexpected head, I can — and shall — hold myself together.

And not cry. Or look like I’m about to.

I swear I’ll manage at least that.

I’m about to go upstairs and find out if I’m in or if I’m out.

I’m ready. I think.


Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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