Saturday, 7 October 2017

Deaf Girly and the wedding planning

My first novel is about a deaf girl planning her wedding. When I first started writing it, I was single and couldn't ever imagine planning my own wedding. And yet here I am planning it.

I find planning anything as a deaf person quite stressful. The quick and easy 'pick up the phone' option is not available to me, and with FJM in another country, I found myself getting creative to sort things out. 

I should however point out, that even from 4,000 miles away, in a very different time zone and with a load of work to do, FJM has very much been part of our wedding planning. And he's been instrumental in the honeymoon planning, which I am very very excited about.

But even with that, often the day-to-day stuff often falls to just me. 

If anything, being a deaf bride-to-be has made decision making easier. I've chosen things based on who got back to my email first. I've asked around and contacted friends of friends, and I've had some amazing responses.

When I used the NGT type talk app to call my insurance company to make sure my engagement ring was listed on the contents insurance, the lovely type talk person congratulated me on my engagement and said my ring sounded lovely. I mean, how many hearing people get that eh?

My wedding photographer's enquiry form asked me to describe my fiancé in three words. I said 'He's my ears' and he liked that so much he got straight back to me and now he's doing our wedding. He was one of only two wedding photographers who I emailed who got back to me. But I think I have really honestly truly found the best one.

Deafness is a bullshit filter. You end up with the people who are willing to make the effort. This goes for personal, professional and indeed wedding relationships. The lovely person organising our evening venue has been quite possibly the most helpful person ever. She gets back to my emails as quickly as if I had lifted the phone, sorts things that are well outside of her remit and generally makes me feel like everything has been organised by me, when really it's been organised by her.

Our vicar, also amazing. Truly wonderful. Actually both the vicars who said yes to marrying us at very short notice were truly wonderful. Perhaps vicars in general are just wonderful.

Then there's my ma, who organised dress shopping, spoke to florists and came with me to listen in when I booked my wedding hair appointments. It's been nice to have company on these things. And it was fun to go to Hobbycraft and buy all the little extra bits and bobs that we want to make our day extra special.

The one thing I have struggled with though, which I didn't really expect to find that hard, is choosing the music for the church. As someone who dearly loves music and before deafness diagnosis adamantly wanted to be a professional violinist, working out what to have at our wedding has left me feeling quite sad at times. I don't want stuff that's out of my frequency. I don't want stuff that makes me feel deaf. I have deliberately designed our wedding day to work with my deafness. I had a bit of an emotional blah about the whole thing if I'm honest.

And for now, we're a bit undecided about it. We're having Christmas carols because yeah, why not, but I wonder if for everything else, I might just say to the musical director 'I can't hear more than an octave above middle C and I really want to hear my wedding music' and see what he can do....

But really though, the most important thing about getting married is that FJM and I get to spend the rest of our lives together. Being us. A team. Something that seems to work really rather well. 

When I am with FJM, I don't feel deaf. I'm just me. He's my ears without me noticing. He gives me an invisible cloak of confidence. I feel like a superhero who can do anything. And I love him very much.

Happy weekend peeps


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Deaf Girly and the deaf wobble

Usually when I go quiet on here, it's a sign that everything in my deaf world is tickety-boo and marvellous. It's a sign that I am comfortable in my deaf skin and ambling my way through life with the level of accessibility that I need. Usually the silences are good.

I'd be lying if I said this was the case right now.

I've taken a new job. I love this job. Fiercely love this job. But it is very hard, both in the subject matter I am having to get my head around for it and in the fact that it's a much more corporate environment that I am normally used to.

There are meetings. Lots of them. There are global meetings. Which means there is Skype for Business.

My team has been amazing. They've done video instead of voice calls at 7am, which no one should be forced to do, and helped me when the reception goes juddery and I miss the key point of a whole 20-minute phone call. It's not my team that is the problem.

It's me.

I seem to have lost my ability to say 'Hello, I am DG, I am deaf but completely able to do this job amazingly well, however here's how I have to do it differently to everyone else...' and then refused take part in 14-people Skype for Business calls.

I have lost faith in the fact that I am good enough in spite of my deafness and I am becoming increasingly crippled by worries that not being able to take part in Skype calls will in some way harm my fledgling career in this industry.

I AM BEING AN IDIOT (although I don't think the above worry is completely unjustified).

But in all honestly, what will really harm my career is pretending that I can do the Skype calls and then floundering around like a fish out of water whenever I hear anything that sounds even remotely like my name on that call... neutral answers don't work well on important business calls. This is not chit chat in a loud bar.

So it seems that I am having a deafness wobble. I haven't had one of them in quite some time. But I am deafinitely having one now.

The unemployment statistic for deaf people hangs around my consciousness like the bad car that used to follow the Top Gear guys on their Christmas Specials. It's always there whispering in my ear, which is remarkable really because I can't hear whispering.

Over the years, I've given so many people bolstering chats about how to be assertive in the workplace as a deaf person but recently it's all gone out of the window for me, and I don't know what to do to change that.

So yes, here's a blog. It's about struggling with my deafness. Something I haven't done for a really long time. Something that's hit me quite out of the blue.

Life's a bitch sometimes. Life would be easier if I could make phone calls and follow Skype for Business video calls more easily. But would that make me any better at my job. I really hope not. I hope that I am good enough as I am. And it's that thought I am hanging on to while I am hanging in there.

Happy Tuesday peeps.