Wednesday, January 30

The Device

Halfway into reading her entry, I was star-strucked. I had to read it twice to realized/understand that what I am reading was an entry about a device I, myself, loathed and  deemed it "hideous and an embarrassment to wear in public." Yet, here's an entry from a person who sees the device as a "nurturing tool." 
This particular entry made me asked myself:
"How did I missed the real beauty of this device from 20 years ago until now? How did I ever let myself become blinded because of others ignorance, from all the possibilities this "nurturing tool" can bring?"
Thanks to her entry. Her appreciative words over this miraculous hearing tool helped me open my heart and mind.
My hearing is deteriorating. My last hearing checked up was in 1997. Yet, this memory is so vivid as if it is just happening at the moment--- the exact words of this lady ear doctor after she finished testing my hearing were..."you have a nerve hearing loss and overtime it will get worse as you get older. There's is no surgery for this kind of hearing loss. There's nothing that can be done."
My young family was with me. As my husband drove us all home, I cried all the way. I was mad at the world and everyone, hated myself and blamed HIM. "Why me? Why this have to happened to me? oh God..please do not let this happen to my children. I don't want them to feel what I feel or go through what I go through because of this unforgiving, shameful disability..."
I never went back to have my hearing check again. I gave up on that fact about my hearing issues. I let the diagnosis overpowered what I can really do or what I could have become. I unconsciously allowed myself to became content to be seen as a "very shy person"...though inside---I love to be with people, love parties, love to go out and love to have good fun. Back then though,  I didn't really fully read lips or learn to use sign language. But I soon started to used my other senses to make up what my hearing cannot do. I unconsciously started hearing others through their "body language" that developed to a full blown distrusts of their actions that only my eyes can see.
My emotions goes where and what my eyes can see.
 Incidents like people laughing while I'm at a distance or where I can only hear "mumbles" (even though they're talking on the normal level that they can hear)  made me jumped into conclusions that they're laughing at or talking bad about me. I unconsciously slowly started to distance myself to the point I ended up working alone on a variety of jobs for seven years. 
 I would hear ringing in my ears as the years go by. Sometimes I hear it more often than usual. More than half the times, I don't hear that disturbing noises. But everytime I do reminds me that I'm very slowly losing my hearing---the more I did not want to face it.
I have the hearing help me hear a little more of my world. I despised it and have always been embarrassed to use it in public. The earliest diagnosis was when I was in high school. 
The first time I used it felt like a whole new world opened to me, I can hear the whole world around me. I was smiling that I can hear more, that I can hear the people whispering or talking low, and was so delighted when I realized I can hear the phone ringing from the other room!
But somehow, that euphoric experienced did not last for me.
The closest friend in Sophomore years I knew and counted on, taunted me and laughed at me when they saw what was behind my ear. Before I could explain that I'm not totally deaf but have a partial hearing loss,  they'd gasped & exclaimed: "You're deaf?!" as young, naive and vulnerable as I was, I didn't know how to answer or what to say---I didn't understand why they were asking...all the reactions that registered to my mind were the look on their faces and the loud taunting of laughing and pointing to my ear as if it was a shame to be seen wearing a hearing device.
I didn't immediately had anyone to go to, to talk to about my broken hope and hurt feelings of being laughed at because I was wearing a hearing aid. My mom was no help, she never knew what it felt like to me that day. I couldn't talk to her. She was so busy struggling to raise me and my sister trying to keep a roof over our head. I was raised to understand her first and what she was doing for us. But I cannot come to her to help me understand about the kind of people I just encountered.
I knew what the hearing device can do. It does wonders to people like me. But I was already shamed very early on because of it. In the coming days, I'd wear it in hiding but the wind always blew my hair off the side and the device would be open for everyone to see...and unsuspecting kids my age would questions of what it is and why.
Those moments made me realized that I have a personal issues that I'd rather not share or explain to anyone...but I never knew what to say to them or more perhaps, didn't know how to defend myself from lurking eyes.
 I decided that it is embarrassing that I have hearing loss. That I dare not wear hearing device again if I want my "friends" not to laugh at me.
This miraculous device took a backseat from then on. I got a new one in my mid-twenties which I slightly used because I still carried the scar of shame. Then in 2000, as I was starting to understand the importance of the hearing device for my sake and my family, I started to used it sparingly and slowly convinced myself that wearing it is for my own good. 
But a 2003  4th of July evening celebration turned into hatred of this device when a lady neighbor, walked up to me, self-invited herself to brushed my hair off of the side, lean to me and yelled to my ear and said: "which ear can't you hear?!" I was shocked, furious and humiliated in front of a crowd that I couldn't answer her. Feeling the stabbed in my heart, I didn't answer, smiled quietly and walked home. 
That's when I finally put the hearing device to rest. I told myself I would never pick it up again.
Yet, it never stray far from my mind. I knew I have to use it someday. I didn't know how soon. But lately, I'm starting to wonder. 
A few days ago, for the first time in years, I got a postcard invitation from the lady who took my hearing test. It was an invitation to see and test the latest hearing device. The smallest one that no one would even notice. It made me think about it.
Then I read Indigo's entry.
I swear while reading it, just felt like it was the device talking to me....finding its way for me to reconsider the benefits by understanding Indigo's entry, as if telling me what I have been missing all these years. 
 (Do you believe in fate, miracles or chances?) 
I believe this is one of those.
I guess it's time to reconnect with this long lost friend and not take its company for granted anymore.
Thank you SO much, Indigo.


judithheartsong said...

oh....... Good! Indigo's entry is so beautiful.... and now one person who was meant to read it has seen it. A goose bump sort of moment when the import of our words and actions can be seen to affect others and their lives.

These two entries have just made my day perfect..... no matter what happens after this moment.

Thank you Gem and Indigo!


garnett109 said...

enjoy your day

wwfbison said...

How awful to be ridiculed wearing your hearing aid. I can tell you I wouldn't think of laughing at someone with a hearing aid.  People can be so cruel.  Wear your aid with pride, experience the world and to heck with what anyone thinks or says.  They aren't worth the time or effort of worry.  You are a brave woman - I enjoyed this entry very much.

rdautumnsage said...

(((Hugs))) I know the feeling of everything you have mentioned here....Let yourself hear while you can Gem.....enjoy the world of hearing while there is still time. You never know what you truly have until it's gone. You've been on a journey this past year opening up more and more. Let yourself complete that experience by hearing again.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter what others think or feel, they're not the ones who miss out on the latest joke, or the music playing in the backgrounds of their lives. When I wrote this entry and then read yours in turn.... I had tears falling the entire time....I would give anything to be able to wear my hearing aide once again even for an echo of sound.

Thank you for writing this, it made it worth it all, just for this alone. To know you may of understood my words and the importance of that single device. Go get your ears retested and another hearing aide, let the world come rushing in. (((Hugs))) Love You my friend! Indigo

lv2trnscrb said...

I'm so glad you wrote this; I'm so glad Indigo wrote hers. Both very insightful. The saddest thing was reading about being made fun of for using a device that would make your life so much better; that is so sad on how we "beat each other up" instead of encourage one another. I am glad you are thinking of dusting it off and using it again.


coelha said...

Oh please get that hearing test soon, and that new hearing device sounds great!  I can't believe how cruel people have been to you throughout the years.  That neighbor lady deserves a slap in the face!  Take care--so glad you came upon that entry!  Julie :)

justaname4me2 said...

Indigo's entry was beautiful indeed. I'm glad it showed you a different perspective in which to regard your hearing. You have grown so much over the last year, just let this be one more thing you embrace about yourself my friend. You and your spirit are beautiful, never forget that.

pharmolo said...

It was a powerful entry without mistake, Gem. I hope Indigo's writing can help you make a decision, and assist you in coming to terms with your own hearing loss.

jckfrstross said...

WOW thank you for sharing this:)


gaboatman said...

What an impact this entry has.  Well written, yes, and so expressive.  Thanks for sharing this with us.  This is an entry I'll remember for a long time.

nhd106 said...

I absolutely believe in fate, in miracles....and all that.   You were meant to see Indigo's entry when you did.  
Make the appt.


toonguykc said...

What an honest and ultimately positive entry.  I also listen to mocking voices that aren't really there!


mutualaide said...

Oh, the place we call J-land is something of a miracle in itself and then fate, chance, whatever you want to call it, steps up and gives a good look at something close to our hearts and souls.

Gem ... glad that you were able to get a new, refreshed perspective on a much needed device, tool, gadget.  :)

jmorancoyle said...

    Hi, I followed the link from Judith Heartsong's journal. I can only imagine how painfully cruel others can be. I'm really sorry you have to go through that. I do not have a hearing loss, and I can't speak to you on that level. You know what you are going through and I can only guess.
    I do know what my mother went through though. She had a severe hearing loss. She was my hero. She was an amazingly strong person. We didn't have the money for a hearing aid when I was little. My brother bought her one when she was older. By that time she could hear the world around her, but as she explained the nerve damage caused all those noises to meld into one. She had a very hard time trying to distinguish the sounds and make them into voices. I'm very glad though that we stayed as close as we did. She tried very hard not to shut us out because of hearing loss. She taught me a lot. I can't imagine what life would have been like if she was lost to the silence.
    Take care of yourself and be proud of the person you are. Someone who feels the need to point out your shortcomings do so because they are ashamed of their own.

helmswondermom said...

It's wonderful how indigo can touch us with her words, and it sounds like she has especially been a positive influence in your life.

kirkbyj05 said...

I have just come across from Indigo's journal to read yours.
I too didn't want to wear the 'ugly' obvious hearing aid which I was given in 1993.  It made me self conscious.  So it lay in a drawer. I got used to the laughter when in conversation if I didn't get to hear all the words properly. This in turn would get me joining in the conversation from a different tangent because I had not heard the correct story.  Hearing only bits of sentences or odd words makes for putting them together and coming up with an altogether different story.  I'm sure you know what I mean.
Recently I got a digital hearing aid which can't be seen at all by anyone.  When I have pointed it out to close friends they are absolutely amazed at how invisible it is.
I wish you luck wearing yours because now I get ALL the word pictures.
Indigo's Artsy Essay Entry was brilliant and I'm so glad she touched you with it and helped you to make some life changes.
Jeanie xxxx

malagutigrrl said...

Indigo ROCKS.

cacklinrosie101 said...

This just gave me the chills.  Some things are just meant to be.  Indigo's words were meant to be read by you.  Good luck!  HUGS  Chris

preciousone25 said...

I'm so sorry that you had to deal with such ugly people in your past, but now do what's good for YOU!!!  I came over by way of Indigo's journal, and your entry just broke my heart, I'm very glad that she has shown you a new way to look at things.  My son's friend is hard of hearing too, he wears a device and covers it with long hair, and his friends all know, but nobody treats him any differently, it's as if the device doesn't even exist.  I guess he feels he has to cover it for the 'small minds' that say dumb comments.