Food for thought Part 2

Posted by jennifer gibson on Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Now, I can only imagine how perplexed some of you may be from my insight regarding the person who just lost their hearing and that I wasn't exactly very sympathetic of their situation.  You may be familiar with the phrase "Walk a mile in their shoes."  That's exactly where that person is right now, they've only gone a mile whereas I've gone thousands and thousands to miles.  They still have thousands of miles to go and I want them to learn to live with it on their own to gain experience and independence.  After all, that's what they forced ME to do.  They made me call them on the phone, they made me have a conversation in a noisy environment and so on.  We are talking about 40 years of living with a hearing loss compared to them having only suffered from it for a few months or a year. 

They have already lived a full life, gotten married and had kids, had successful careers, made oodles of money, and have retirement funds sitting in the bank.  Did any of that happen to me? Nope, nada, zilch.  Because people like them refused to give me an opportunity like that.  They refused to have an open mind.

A little bit of background about me: I was born with a severe hearing loss, pretty much deaf in one ear.  I've dealt with many ignorant people, including and especially teachers, doctors, hearing specialists and many others in the medical field who have shown absolutely zero knowledge or empathy towards people with disabilities.  ZERO.  It was astounding as to how awful they were towards me considering the fact that they have no clue what's its like to LIVE with a disability that is as debilitating as a hearing loss. 

Am I bitter? Yes, in some ways.  In other ways, I feel so very lost.  This is why I decided to write books about hearing loss, particularly a teen going through some tough times.  I needed to share and reveal to the world what hearing loss is all about  looking through the eyes of a teenage girl which is based on actual events.  There are moments where she seems totally normal, exactly like every other young adult out there.  However, her perspective and experiences are similar and also dissimilar for people her age.  She is essentially getting a mix of two worlds, as a regular teenager as well as a disabled person.  There will be distinct moments where everything is perfectly normal but there are also times when everything suddenly changes, as if the world went abruptly sideways and doesn't make any sense. 

You may be asking "What do you mean by that"? Well, aside from the usual mix of hormones, school, family, and growing up, she may be dealing with very real issues from teachers, classmates or coaches who go out of their way to make her life much more difficult simply because they don't understand her disability or are unable to deal with it.  Their actions can be downright cruel and it could leave a scar that lasts a lifetime.  At this stage in their life, situations like this can make or break someone, it can make them weaker or stronger, depending on which path they choose.  Sometimes it's both.

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