Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Remembering the past and the future

Wow it's cold today. It's also sunny and bright. I am wearing three million layers and my toes are cold.

Today is about remembering the past, but also remembering there's a future. Remembering the amazing things that have happened, but also remembering to actively go out and seek more amazing things.

Right now, there are lots of amazing things in my life. I have my house, I have my health, and there's this guy who makes me smile without even trying. I have this amazing sense of calm about who I am and what I am doing here.

There’s one person who I know would be happy about this – London Uncle. Especially if he thought back to the scared 16 year old here on work experience, who didn't even want to buy a tube ticket on her own.

He came with me that day, kept me company, showed me what to do, and in the years that followed, when I showed no sign of ever leaving, drank beer with me while watching Grand Designs, was always very polite about my badly-cooked potatoes, embraced my love of 80s movies – Flashdance – and gave me a quirky perspective on life that I will always treasure.

He and London Aunt showed me London through their eyes, and even though I've been here 8 years on my own, it's still their view I share.

Today when I see London, I must remember to thank London Uncle for helping me love this amazing city. He'll always be a part of it... and so will I.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Making the deafness interview

It's Monday!

*fake crowd cheering!

But what a lovely weekend I had!

Friday night was the leaving party of CK – London Cousins' au pair, who quite frankly is also a member of our family. We will miss her!

Then Saturday, I drove up to The Wild West Erm... Country for Jenny M's birthday party. As with all my friends, she's perpetually 21.

That night, we went to another birthday party where danced the night away, and on a rare breather moment when I was sat down, a guy approached me.

He said something – I didn't hear him. He said something again and slowly, I realised he was chatting me up!

As those words were: 'Would you like to dance?'

Haha!

He was already visibly shaken by my lack of comprehension surrounding the situation, so I said yes, but knew that Jenny M and co would also be there, too. So off we went.

And so we danced, and he talked in my ear, and I smiled politely, and we danced some more. And then, when he had obviously had enough of this non-responsive girl, he started bust some moves. And oh boy, what moves they were.

One of them, I swear, involved grabbing his ankle and kind of hopping around the dance floor – it was the most bizarre thing I have EVER seen in my life.

I had to leave the dance floor for fear of being hopped on, or dying laughing.

But what was wonderful was that I felt absolutely no reason to tell him about my deafness. I just wasn't that worried about whether he knew or not. And this is a fantastic gauge as to whether I like someone.

If I do like someone, they'll know about my hearing loss as soon as possible, to ensure that it doesn't stuff anything up. Of course that doesn't stop other things, such as alcoholic amnesia, shyness, and the ability to say all the wrong sentences – usually consecutively, for maximum effect – jeopardising the situation, but at least I know I can't blame my ears!

My deafness is like a first interview for both parties, and if we both get past that stage unscathed, well a second date may be just the thing!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Thank you for my friends

Today is thankful Friday and I am thankful for my amazing inner circle.

As written about last year, these are the people you could count on for anything, anytime, anywhere, and as I'm discovering this week, I'm blessed with a pretty good one.

This week, NikNak, for example, cooked me a fabulous dinner and dispensed equally amazing advice. Gym Buddy drowned her sorrows in tea and cake last night on the discovery that our highlight of the week, Zumba class, was full up!

*sob

And Tigger, well he just keeps me smiling daily with his boundless energy. And that's just to name a few.

Whenever I feel disheartened about October, I just look at my friends and think, it really can't be that bad if I'm surrounded by so many wonderful people.

And that is what I am thankful for...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Are the hearing people panicking?

I have news:

Last night we won the quiz...

Hurrah!

Although, actually, seeing as I barely heard any of it and gave two wrong answers, I think it's safe to say that I didn't personally win the quiz. But, from being last in the first half, we made an amazing recovery and somehow hit first place!

See, I told you those hard, hard of hearing things you do get easier over time!

And other good news? Well, the Chilean miners are on their way out, and they look amazing considering what they've been through these last few months. The subtitles are not great on the news reports, which is quite understandable, so I've been watching the pictures and it's almost overwhelming to see them and all their families reunited.

Anyway, the oddest thing happened on my way to work this morning. My bus broke down, in the middle of a massively busy street in Central London. First of all it came to a shuddering halt with me on the top deck. I sat awhile, engrossed in a MSN messenger conversation I was having, when I realised that we were not moving. And so I did what I usually do when things like this happen, I look around at other peoples’ faces to gauge their reactions – non-plussed means don’t panic, while wide-eyed means something terrible has happened.

But get this, I was the only person on the bus. So I had no clue what was going on!

I legged it downstairs to find the poor bus driver frantically turning the engine over with little success, and hung around hoping he’d noticed his lone passenger. And thankfully, he did and when there was a gap in the traffic, he opened the doors and I made a break for it.

He was talking to me the whole time, but I have no clue what he was saying – although I am really hoping it wasn’t, ‘Get help, please!’ because, thinking there must be bus emergency people for these things, I didn’t. Whoops!

It’s the first time ever that I haven’t had hearing people’s faces to rely on when I’m not sure of a situation and I didn’t stress out. And this, I was mightily happy about, because jumping off a bus, stressed, into a busy rush-hour street is a recipe of erm… almost certain death.

And so it seems I am on a learning curve this week – how fabulous!

Better check back tomorrow and see if I’ve finally learned how to Zumba, eh?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Not too deaf to dream

Today’s blog is coming to you from a teenage boy's bedroom...

Erm, actually, I am on a bus that smells like a teenage boy's bedroom...

There are also enough boys surrounding me that I feel like I am in a teenage boys' boarding school dormitory – something that would be wrong on so many levels!!

From my seat at the back of the bus, I am barely visible above the sea of sports bags, creatively gelled hair and haze of Lynx. It's a truly bizarre experience, and probably a small mercy that I cannot eavesdrop their conversation...

What a difference 10 minutes makes – this is deafinitely the last time I get the 8am bus to work!

Anyway, today I have two things happening that as a deaf person I find difficult. One is a haircut and the other is the pub quiz.

The former is a minefield of mishaps. From not hearing the 'Is the water ok?' question, to trying to move my head to lipread and causing wonky layers – over the years I've had my fair share of haircutting drama. But for the last 4 years, I've solved that by going to the same fab hairdresser. She really is amazing and now she knows I am deaf, the only thing I feel tense about is whether I'll like the finished style.

And the pub quiz? Well, as any hard of hearing person will tell you, these are always tricky to follow, and by the time someone has relayed the question to you, some other smart person had answered it, so you become something of an echo.

GB Man and The Singing Swede are very good at helping me with this though, and so now, very occasionally I actually get to bask in the glory of answering a question, rather than just answering 3 minutes after someone else has answered it.

It’s all about being proactive about your deafness though when it comes to situations like these. And it's also about not giving a toss about what other people think.

I mean, now my Zumba instructor knows I can't hear, I have a space at the front of the class reserved just for me. This is great, I love it!

But as the class is very full, I can feel the icy stares of the other people vying for my vantage point, and wonder if they’re thinking I am some sort of Zumba wannabe. I may well be a Zumba wannabe, but this not the reason I’m hogging the front row.

Another thing that’s important, is remembering that by doing these challenging things over and over again, they do get easier. And not only do they get easier, but they become enjoyable. And it is with this thought, that I am going to resume a couple of dreams that have fallen by the wayside over the years, after being labelled too hard because of my deafness.

So look out over the next few months and you’ll see how I get on!

Monday, 11 October 2010

You don't need to hear ballet

Today I am sleepy for a Monday morning – and when I am sleepy, I am more deaf.

I am also scatty, and this has seen me sign off an important email with a highly inappropriate ‘Lots of love’ this morning…

*cringe

So, I had a brilliant weekend – The Rents came down and I went to see the ballet Onegin at Covent Garden. The standard of the dancing was amazing, I couldn’t fault it, but the storyline is bleak. Basically in a nutshell it goes like this:

Man is cad…
Man makes woman fall in love with her…
Man breaks woman’s heart by flirting with her sister…
Man shoots her sister’s fiancĂ©…
Woman moves on, gets married and just when she’s happy, Man pops up again and throws everything into turmoil…
Luckily, Woman comes to senses and tells him where to go…

It was 2½ hours of tension!

But I love going to the ballet, because I really don’t need to hear for it. I can just watch the dancing and enjoy the story and I am on equal footing with everyone else in the audience – better footing often as I get to go so much I know what’s going on more. I actually forget I am deaf when I am there, which can only be a good thing, can’t it?

And then yesterday evening, well I had a great time… and that is all you need to know for now.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Nobody puts Deafinitely Girly in a deaf box

Sometimes I get so frustrated when people put me in a box labelled deaf without really checking what that means.

It’s the same as when you meet an old friend of your parents’ who you haven’t seen since your teenage years and she asks you if your bedroom is still messy and comments on how your thunder thighs have miraculously disappeared…

Some people cannot get away from putting you in a box and keeping you there.

You see, for some time now, I have strived to prove that I can work outside this box. I have fought to ensure that no finger could ever be pointed at my deafness when it came to judging me.

I mean, sure, my deafness makes me less chatty on the phone, but to my knowledge, some hearing people aren’t chatty on the phone, either.

Sometimes I wonder what I should do about this living in a box thing – should I work with it? Get it some comfy cushions, make myself right at home, play up to the illusion that I’m going nowhere fast. Or should I throw the damn box out of the window and continue the daily fight to prove that putting people in boxes – no matter who they are or what they do – is a very outmoded way of thinking?

I’ve fought for lots of changes over the years – not just when it comes to changing people's perceptions about the state of my bedroom – and I know that in order to do this, you need commitment, you need thick skin and you need to have a love of banging your head against a brick wall.

You also need a blog – because it is through writing things down that you come to realise that of course things are worth fighting for, and of course I shouldn’t make myself at home in this crappy box labelled ‘deaf and going nowhere fast’.

Nobody puts DG in a box. So look out world, here I come!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I'm really not that deaf aware

Well, what a fabulous week I am having!

Every evening makes me smile at the moment.

Last night, Fab Friend came to stay and we went to the best Thai restaurant in the whole of London, which happens to be two minutes from my flat.

Fab Friend, as regular readers will know, is also deaf and when we get together we automatically look to the other one to do the job of our ears, even though we're both incapable of fulfilling this role.

So last night, when the softly-spoken waitress came over and started speaking, I looked at her and she looked at me awaiting a translation before we both burst out laughing at our complete lack of deaf awareness.

Then, once back at my flat, I started talking to her from another room... again a completely bizarre thing to do, as I get mad when people do this to me!

But it got me thinking about why we both forget the other one can't hear too. It might be because in our world, we are minority. Except when we go out with each other, there is always someone to translate the waiter, tell us what's going on, or hear us yelling from another room.

And if I can't be deaf aware, then it occurred to me how unfair it was to expect other people to be immediately deaf aware. So here's my suggestion: give hearing peeps a break for getting it wrong sometimes, and if you see Fab Friend and I out for dinner, please can you tell us what the waitress just said!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Deafinitely Girly's got writers' block

Deafinitely Girly has been awfully quiet recently, I know.

It’s odd… I have just got complete writers’ block – the kind that I expect to last a day, but in fact has lasted a week and is showing no signs of going away.

October, as many of you will know, is a funny month for me. It’s had its fair share of dramas over the years, namely 30 years ago when I turned up, and like I said the other day, this year I have new plans for October.

But I do wonder if it’s October that’s causing my writers’ block – and if it is, what do I do about it?

At university, my writing tutor advised those of us suffering from writers’ block to write naked with an unlit cigarette in your mouth. She swore by this method, but seeing as I do most of my writing on the bus, I’m not sure it’s going to work for me – although it could make the journey a little more interesting for other people.

Methods I have used over the years include writing in pink ink – always works, writing 10 words in exchange for 1 square of chocolate – I know, I can actually bribe myself, and just writing nonsense until it starts to take form. And that is the method I am trying today.

Here is my nonsense. Let’s hope it works and I’m back on form tomorrow, eh?

Friday, 1 October 2010

Thankful Friday

Even though it's rainy I'm still feeling thankful on this Friday.

Why?

Because every cloud has a silver lining, and as rain clouds are grey – perhaps they're silver inside!

I'm mostly thankful that I have a fun evening ahead with Gym Buddy and Web Whizz – we're having a night in of DVDs, junk food and wine to undo all the good work we've been doing at the gym recently.

I am also thankful that it's October – for this year I am rewriting my fortunes in October. I am making it a month of good times, good luck and good health. I refuse to have another crappy October. Or as someone said to me the other weekend... Don't think of elephants.

So, here's to a positive October, and the end of a very long week.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Deaf Girly and subitled Mamma Mia: Here we go again

Regular readers and my followers on Twitter will know that recently I've been talking a lot about the lack of subtitled showings availab...