Who am I?
I am Deafinitely Girly.
This has been me for more than three years, and before that? I was a deaf girl who occasionally had tantrums about it and wasn't really sure where she belonged.
For the last three years, I've had a sense of belonging through my blog. I've met amazing people, done amazing things, I've laughed, I've cried and I've still had the occasional tantrum.
And then this week, I felt a little lost again.
Regular readers will know that my lovely Ma is going deaf. This is horrible for her. She's been hearing all her life. She knows what she's missing and is lacking the well-honed coping skills to get her through. So she went to see a hearing specialist. And while she was there, she told him about me.
And of course he wanted to fix my deafness. My first reaction was NO WAY! It was such a strong gut reaction that even now I feel myself welling up a little as I type this... and I'm sat on the bus, next to a really cute guy.
Ma was amazing as always and didn’t push it. She just planted a tiny thought seed in my head. And it's been attempting to grow ever since.
I'm well aware of all the arguments for and against cochlear implants, but because I've never considered having one, I've never put too much personal thought into it.
But the interesting thing here is, why have I never considered having one? What is it about them that makes me want to run screaming in the opposite direction?
Well, I think it's partly fear. I've spent 30 years learning to like my world, learning to cope in my world, fighting to succeed in my world, and in all honesty, I think I've done a pretty good job.
And it's not like I haven't considered hearing aids in the past either.
About five years ago, I went to an audiology clinic and was met with enthusiastic promises of how hearing aids would change my life. I let myself get excited. I strode out of there full of hope and promptly fell over because everything was so loud.
I persevered, too. I wore them. I suppressed any disappointment I felt towards them, and then one evening I took them out as usual just before bed, and flew into a blind panic.
I was deaf. Everything had gone quiet. What was going on? Why didn't my world sound like it had done before when I didn't wear my hearing aids?
It sounds ridiculous but I ran around my flat like a headless chicken, panicking, banging stuff, banging my head, willing things to sound the same again.
I missed my world.
I couldn't bear the thought that hearing aids would take that from me while not giving very much in return.
So I took them off. And put them away. And that was that.
My world went back to how it was. I can't hear birds, babies, sirens and screeching. I can't hear consonants, I can barely hear vowels and I really can't hear 50% of the musical instruments that make up an orchestra. But because this is me, I don’t panic.
Yesterday I put a tweet out about cochlear implants and an amazing person called Vicki from NDCS tweeted back. She then sent me a huge email with so many of my questions answered. I'm going to study it at length over the next few days, but the most important thing I read was that I can find out more about cochlear implants, I can meet with specialists and if at the end of it I decide it's not for me, I can say no. I won't be seen as wasting time.
And this is good. You see, if I panic once I have an implant, I can't just take it off and shove it in my jewellery box. If I hate how everything sounds, will anyone understand? And if I can hear again, who the heck will I be?
So for now, and because I think this is the only way I can do this without becoming a wobbling ball of emotion, I am going to research cochlear implants as a blogger would. I’m going to find out more about them – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and I’m not going to think about me and them. Just them.
Deafinitely Girly – deaf researcher…
Yes, that’ll do for now.