You Think You See, But You Have No Idea

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Jasper, Alabama, United States

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cringe if you must, this is me...

Okay. So I'm reading my comments and I come across this one. I must confess I was baffled.

Every time I read your blog I cringe. Have you taken a Deaf Culture class? Have you educated yourself fully? I just had to let you know that saying "Hearing Impaired" is incredibly disturbing the the Deaf/HOH community. Hard of Hearing (HOH) is the term that we prefer. Saying impaired implies so many negative attributes. If you notice MANY of your commentors also use the Hard of Hearing term. I encourage you to investigate this further and talk to other HOH people.

Why would anyone care if I referred to myself as hearing impaired? There's a "politically correct" way to describe yourself, in your own personal blog? I do consider myself well educated, in fact I would say I've got 30 years of experience being hearing impaired and furthermore why would I need to educate myself in the proper way to reference myself while writing my own blogs about my own self discovery as a hearing impaired person?
Also I don't consider myself culturally deaf so the Deaf Culture concept has never really appealed to me as a lifestyle. I've never taken a Deaf Culture class, not that I wouldn't find it interesting, but I do have friends that are deaf and live within the deaf community and my life experiences as a hearing impaired person trying to function in the hearing world is not the same as that of my deaf friends. Actually, I don't feel like I belong to any one group. I'm just me. If you were to describe me as being deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing impaired it would all be just fine.
I don't think people should be made to feel shame or be afraid to talk about things because they might offend someone, especially when that wasn't their intention. I also don't think people should take offence to something when nothing was meant to be offensive.
We all have different stories and backgrounds, and the way we refer to ourselves varies based upon where those stories and backgrounds have lead us. Whats negative about that?
If you, yourself like to be referred to as HOH instead of hearing impaired, I totally respect your decision, but what does that have to do with me?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 44th President

No matter where my support went this election, or what my political beliefs were, as I sat and watched the 44th President of the United States be sworn in office, one thing came to mind:
As I sat and watched the first African American President and his family stand on the west side of the U.S. Capital Building one feeling came over my heart:
The hope for equality for all people, even the hearing impaired. Even my son.
So, for me, no matter where I stood politically, today was about everyone coming together.
Today, I was reminded of why I fight and write so much for equality for my son and myself. Today I was reminded of why it is all worth it.
Good luck Mr. President, and good luck to every one who is continuing to fight for their dreams.
May all our dreams come true.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crazy Me

I figured out why I wasn't hearing so well. It turns out that I have a humongous hole in my left hearing aids tubing. I don't know how I'm hearing out of it at all. I was shocked when I noticed it. I mean gee I really don't pay much attention to my aids huh? Its such and eazy fix.
Crazy Amy... Just Crazy. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sometimes its nice to have ordinary days.

A very interesting thing happened at work last night. We were very busy and it was extremely loud in the restaurant and I had a couple of my co-workers double-check to make sure I heard them. That was awesome, because I, indeed, had not heard them. They didn't assume that I heard them. I guess they have finally realized that if I don't respond I most likely didn't hear them. It was over all a fantastic night.
Me and my friend ZDaddy took the kids to the movies this afternoon. He has a daughter the same age as my Cam. They have a lot of fun together. I love going to the movies, I can usually follow the entire movie because its so loud.
Its nice to have days without hearing issues.

I still do not seem to be hearing well though. I'm going to have to get that checked...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trying to stay out of the Royal Court, and hear at the same time...,

My hearing aids haven't been working well for the last few days. Its like I can't get them loud enough. I'm worried they are on the edge of self-destruction. Ugg...
I will be working tonight. I agreed to work the weekend nights to help boost morale among our servers and front of house staff. This is usually a fun job. After all a good attitude is contagious. Tonight however, I found out that "The Queen" will be in our restaurant. Now don't get me wrong, for the most part The Queen has great ideas and suggestions. I also like the fact that she encourages everyone to do their job-the way they were trained to do it. After all I am the Lead Qualified Trainer at my restaurant, so I love to see everyone doing it the way they were trained. But anyway, what I dread is the music. Queen turns it so loud you cant even hear yourself think. Now I know she is following the "lets make it a lively place, happy and fun". But GEEE's it makes my night so stressful and it makes me angry. I'm trying to hear my guest, I'm trying to hear my fellow workers, trying to hear the bosses, and all the while trying to hear everything around me so I don't look like an idiot when someone calls for me or ask for something and I don't respond because I didn't hear them!
Well, its time for the peasant to get dressed and go serve her lord at the manor, all in hopes of keeping his queen happy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Ramblings of Nothing Exceptional...

Being the parent of a hearing impaired child comes with many challenges. Being the hearing impaired parent of a hearing impaired child makes those challenges,,, different. For instance, something I've noticed that typical hearing parents worry about is how their child is going to be perceived by its peers. Are they going to be made fun of or even have friends at all. I don't give that a second thought. Hearing impaired or not all children will either be liked or not. Then at the same time, because I have lived it, I fret over things other hearing parents might not notice. Number One on my list is and always has been education. My school days were a living HELL, and I don't say that lightly. School was a complete nightmare for me. Not because of lack of friends, but because of lack of education. I was always a failure. I never "applied" myself. I was "scatterbrained". I "didn't listen". I "wasn't paying attention". I "talked too much". And my personal favorite, I was "Lazy". All the while, I didn't know why I couldn't "apply myself" or "listen", or "remember my home work assignments". I wanted to be a good student so desperately. That's what made every day of my school life torture. I CAN NOT let my child live that experience. He's smart. He's beautiful. He's also hearing impaired. If that teacher had to go though one day trying to function in the hearing world with only hearing aids... Ha! I laugh at what would happen. Ok. I know I'm ranting here. I'm just angry.
Today at work it was so nice to be there, doing my job, listening to conversations and when I got lost, I could just walk away and go do my job. After a while you get used to missing everything. Actually its okay. I thought today how strange it was that I just accept it. I always think to myself, "its not important anyway". On second thought, though, maybe it is. I don't know.
I want to be more. I WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOUR SAYING! Okay it matters.
But the older I get the less it really matters. I just give the "didn't hear you, but I'll let you think I did" nod and walk away. Hide. Get lost in myself. I've spent my life within myself. Ok. This is turning into a rambling of sorts when all I really wanted to say was that I spent my life in the public school system here in Nowhere, Alabama as someone who was "nothing exceptional". When all the while, it was the teachers who were nothing exceptional, because they let a beautiful mind go to waste. They let my education slip right though their hands, and didn't even know it or care.
Ok. Again I'm rambling. I'll stop.

"There are few pains so grievous as to have seen, divined, or experienced how an exceptional man has missed his way and deteriorated"
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

my writings as a hearing impaired child

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I have poems and diaries that date back to when I was as young as 8 years old. Writing has always been my outlet. Even though I was part of the "Forgotten Generation" of hearing impaired children, (the ones who were taught to be mainstreamed then over looked and forgotten about as if we had no disability) It was always in the back of my mind, and sometimes it would show up in some of my earliest writings.

One of the older poems I still have, dates back to October 1986. I was 9 years old.


Alone beneath the beam of the sun
and the rays of light
There was no way to tell how I felt so alone.

I can remember witting that poem as if it was yesterday. I remember how the sun was shining so beautiful that day and I can still smell my mother cooking dinner. I remember it more because of the weirdness I felt. It was the first time anyone had ever called me a name because of my hearing impairment. The girl called me a "Deaf Mule". Hey, we were 9. She didn't even know what it meant. I'm sure she meant to call me a Deaf Mute. How crazy is that.

Heres an interesting diary entry. I was 11.

Dear Diary,
July 7, 1989
If I had just three wishes:

#1. That I could hear like others

#2. I could have 3 boyfriends

#3. I could have magical powers

You know what though? At 31 those still sound like pretty good ;)

The best way I can think to sum the blog up is with one of my favorite quotes.

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." ~ John Adams

Monday, January 5, 2009

I don't share my poems often, but I thought some of you might enjoy this one

Little Ears and a Mothers Hopes and Dreams

Hearing aids in the littlest ears, I'd ever seen.
With them died, all my hopes and dreams.

A little baby boy, too young to talk.
Wearing hearing aids, before he could set up, or even walk.

The anger the sadness, it all came and went.
Along with the therapy's, and doctors, and the money we spent.

I've spent my days, watching him experience the world- though his ears.
And without even knowing it, my days, have turned into years.

Now a little boy who talks way too much.
He has wide eyes, and baseball dreams, and eats Noodle O's for lunch.

The world is so beautiful, Do you hear what I see?
Looking now, I have a whole new set of hopes and dreams,
For the cutest little ears with hearing aids, I've ever seen...


Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Mom: The Fighter

I'm part of the 1980's hearing impaired "lets figure out how to fix them" children. You know, the time when they were discovering that early detection was key. Experimenting with what would work - audio, visual, cued... Then putting us out there with hearing aids to fend for ourselves so they could see how it worked. A time when hearing impairment was still "in the closet".
My mom had never seen nor heard of a hearing impaired child with hearing aids when I was diagnosed and fitted with my aids. (December 1979) If a child was hearing impaired with hearing aids it was probably stricken with other conditions that landed it in an institution of sorts. That was the idea people had then anyway. It probably didn't help that I lived in rural Alabama at the time either. I was fortunate that we were swept up by a team of specialist in Birmingham that were doing the, "mainstreaming concept". They went a little too far I think, because for most of my life I didn't realize I was hearing impaired... lol
Of course it was better than putting me in an institution (my mom visited one for the deaf and hard of hearing, and says it was horrid experience, after which she was sold on the "mainstreaming concept" even if no one else was!) I was the youngest child that my audiologist had ever fitted with aids. I was 3 months shy of my 3rd birthday. My mom says that she and dad were so excited to find out I was hearing impaired, because everyone thought I was mentally retarded or worse. Seriously. Even our family doctor just thought I was a spoiled mean brat. I was the baby of 5 kids, my mom knew better, and at her urging he sent me to an ENT in Birmingham. One of the first things they asked my mom was if she was sure she wanted to know what was wrong with me, because it could be more than hearing impairment if it was hearing impairment at all. After a diagnosis there was no turning back into oblivion. My mom never blinked. She HAD to know. Turns out I wasn't spoiled or mean.
Then it was time to go pick up my hearing aids. I have no memory of this trip and what memories I think I have, could have been planted by the many times I've had my mom tell me the story. This is how it goes.
It was December and snowing. The trip to Birmingham took over an hour in the late 70's because the interstate hadn't come through yet. I was sitting in my moms lap as the audiologist put the ear molds in my ears measured them to the aids, removed the molds, cut them, adjusted the aids and then slipped them into my ears. When they were turned on, I peed in my pants and all over my moms lap. I looked up at my mom with scared eyes, and she reassured me it was okay. And in a matter of minutes it was. The ride home was filled with wonder as I watched the big diesel trucks pass by and listened to the sound that their tires made in the snow.
I was never the same after that. Even the family doctor was shocked to see my changed behavior.
My mom once told me that she believe children who where hearing impaired were either introverted or fighters, thats how we survive. I always thought of myself as an introvert, she always referred to me as a fighter.
As an adult I know, I am a fighter.
After all, I learned from the best.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Life Happens, Hearing Impaired or Not.

Its been awhile since my last blog.
Life Happens.
I got my hearing aid back, its working great.
I had and iron infusion, and take two pills a day.
I took a small leave of absence from work over the holidays because I had strep throat, and my mom was in the hospital.
Life Happens.
Christmas came and went.
My car bit the dust. Got a new van.
Went back to work.
Celebrated my 9th wedding anniversary.
Life Happens.

Everything has fallen into place now,, for a while I hope... :) I worked my first two shifts back at the restaurant Wednesday and Thursday. They went well. It felt good to be back. I've taken a step back from management for awhile. Its taken away a lot of the stress.
Hearing isn't an issue when you don't have to prove yourself all the time. I'll jump back in there soon, I'm sure... I can't stay silent for too long. Right now, I just cant fight the fight. I've fallen back into my comfort zone. I just need a break from the struggle to succeed in the hearing world. Sometimes I just need to be Amy. Not the Amy fighting for equality.