Tuesday 23 July 2013

Having a deaf(er) day

Last night I went to bed late. I turned my pillow over a million times to keep it cool. I marvelled at my amazing still-feel-new sash windows which, when open at the top and bottom, cause a perfect breeze. I also tried to stay awake for the thunder.

And that didn't work because according to BBC Breakfast it all kicked off at 2am and I was fast asleep.

I guess I don't always hear thunder after all.

Anyway this morning I hit my alarm more times than a Catchphrase contestant so ran out the door to make my bus and forgot my hearing aids.

Cue frantic checking of diary for important meetings and the realisation that today is going to be a very quiet day for me. Aurally at least.

I've had my hearing aids for nearly 10 months now. And every day I marvel at the way they enhance my world. I mean, I can hear stuff I never thought I'd hear. Important stuff too, like police sirens – excellent when on a Boris Bike – and cats meowing.

Last night, I downloaded Vampire Weekend's new album and listened to a bit of it through my iPhone speaker. As you know when I first got my hearing aids, I had a teary realisation that I could hear iPhone ringtones for the first time ever. Well last night, without my hearing aids in, I noticed gaps in the music. Gaps where my ears in the last 10 months have had music. I put my hearing aids back in. No gaps. Amazing huh?

Even though the pitch compression isn't that melodic with my sound recover aids, I still prefer to leave them on this setting when listening to music because without it, I realise what I've been missing.

So today I'll miss the phones ringing in the office, the hum of the air con, the radio and the steady wail of police sirens outside.

Today's gonna be a quiet one starting from now.

*takes a power nap

Monday 22 July 2013

A natural Deaf Girly alarm clock

This morning I woke up in a very good mood. In spite of the fact it was 5.30am. In spite of the fact I didn't get back until 11pm last night.

One of the reasons for my good mood was that something woke me up! Not my vibrating alarm clock that sits under my pillow like a psycho jack-in-the-box, ready and waiting on a weekday basis to scare the living daylights out of me.

No, no.

I got woken up by something much bigger and better than that.

I got woken up by thunder!

To be fair, the best part of my hearing is low frequencies, which means thunder; cars with big engines and men with low voices are all in my 'hurrah, I can hear these, usually no matter what' category. But I was asleep. Nothing normally wakes me when I am asleep.

There's something rather amazing about a thunderstorm I think. As a kid, when I could hear even better, I was scared to death of them. Any thunderstorm would see The Rents' bed overrun by one child, two dogs and two cats all in need of a large dose of tranquilliser. Big Bro usually braved it out in the room next door.

But this morning, as I lay in bed, no pets or housemates for company I found myself grinning like a loon. There was an amazing noise going on outside. An amazing crashing, banging noise, caused by nature. I could hear it. And there was no way my neighbour could blame her early morning wake up call on me!

So anyway, one of the other reasons for my buoyant mood is I had a marvellous weekend with SuperCathyFragileMystic and The Photographer. In their idyllic village, with their brilliant neighbours and their rather marvellous friends.

There was a croquet tournament or 10, none of which I won, despite my teammate's valiant efforts, and there was even a Red Arrows fly-by. Another low sound I absolutely love.

I should really be suffering from weekend-withdrawal symptoms right now, but as its only three more days until my weekend starts again, I think I'll be OK.

So Happy Monday from a beaming Deaf Girly.

Who got woken up by thunder.



Friday 19 July 2013

Time for a Thankful Friday

It's Friday and I'm thankful.

Thankful for this amazing weather.

Thankful that I've recently seen the light about some quite major things in my life.

And as a result, I'm thankful for my amazing friends.

You know you have those moments where you can't see the wood for the trees?

Well I was having one of them this week. My earlier post summed up how I was feeling about my deafness. But it seemed to extend further than that.

But with chats to SuperCathyFragileMystic and Fab Friend, I worked out quite a lot of stuff. They're the kind of friends who know you better than you know yourself. But who aren't afraid to point out where you might be going a little bit wrong.

Since chatting to them, I've felt more free than I have done in a long time. Less sad about being deaf. More sure of my options and my pathway.

And then there was the lovely Twitter peeps. You're all bloody marvellous.

I've made some amazing decisions in the last few days. I've made some exciting plans.

Hopefully I will be sharing them here soon.

But in the meantime, have an AMAZING weekend in the sunshine!


Tuesday 16 July 2013

Today I'm sad about my deafness

For the first time in ages, I feel sad about my deafness today.

I couldn't work out what it was at first and then I suddenly realised...

I feel like I'm missing out on stuff.

Today it's the office chit chat.

I wish I could hear it. I wish I could follow what was going on. The things that make people chuckle. But that aren't so funny when repeated the second time.

I wish my computer wasn't so big that I couldn't lipread Art Man opposite without stopping what I was doing and standing up or leaning to the left.

I wish I could hear. (and you know I almost NEVER wish that)

It's just so bloody frustrating sometimes.

Not being able to follow stuff, join in and be a part of what's going on.

And it's not like my lovely colleagues don't try to keep me up to speed. They do, they really do. They're amazing.

I know they'd be amazing if I told them what's up. But sometimes, I can't find the words. And it's so hard to try and join a conversation halfway through.

Then I remembered that's why I started this blog in the first place. To put the stuff I couldn't put into spoken words. To just say I was fed up.

And it works, because even just writing this blog has got me thinking about ways to help me hear better in the office. Ways to make it easier for both me and my lovely work mates.

So I'm taking the afternoon off – to eat tea with the lovely Writer and work out how I can invent a mirror system that enables me to lipread everyone around my desk.

It's totally going to work, right?

Thursday 11 July 2013

Deaf Girly and the ticket inspector

Yesterday I went climbing with Art Man. 

To get the right train, we often have to leg it to the station after work, half jogging, half running.

It's a race between us and the train we want. And believe me, the train often wins. 

So anyway, we dashed into the lobby of the station yesterday, dodging the ambling tourists blocking every single path to the ticket barriers, before swiping our oysters and picking up the pace.

As we headed for the escalator I noticed Art Man kept looking back. I was faintly aware of a man's voice. We ignored it. We had a train to catch. 

But then Art Man stopped in his tracks. Then stopped me, because the man, was yelling at me.

So I turned around to see the owner of the voice. It was a ticket inspector. He looked half mad, half gleeful that he thought he'd caught somebody using a Freedom Pass who shouldn't have been.

People were staring.

He demanded to see my pass.

And before I knew it I had told him off for yelling at me. Telling him I was deaf so had no way of knowing he was yelling at me.

He clocked the hearing aids and slunk off. Not even checking my pass properly.

It was a hideous moment for me and for him.

I was mad and mortified.

I'd never been chased through a station before.

But it got me thinking, should I really have been mad at him? I mean he was there to catch fare dodgers. Should I really have expected him to have crossed off all the possible reasons why I was ignoring his yells before he simply assumed I was a dodgy person with a stolen freedom pass.

Short of wearing a sign on my back there's not a lot I can do to flag up the fact I can't hear. And also, why should I? 

But it is scary. I mean, what if they one day arm people like that with tasers? What if, one day, it's a policeman yelling at me? What if, one day, things are so different that they have an taser-first-and-ask-questions-later policy? 

So perhaps, over eager ticket inspectors could be taught a few little extra bits of information in their training. And that is, not all Freedom Pass holders immediately look like they need one. If you yell at someone and they don't respond, they may be deaf.

And finally, the most important one: if you do yell at a deaf DG, in public, make everyone stare at her, and make her feel like she's done something wrong, she's gonna be very very mad.

Think I'll stick to buses from now on...

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday 4 July 2013

Happy 4th July

I haven't blogged for what seems like an age.

I miss it.

I miss writing. I miss being Deafinitely Girly here.

But there are certain dates that will always warrant a blog and today is one of those.

Today, 15 years ago, we were getting ready for one of the best celebrations ever. A wedding of two of my favourite people.

I was only 17 at the time. I was going deafer, what felt like all the time. I was awkward. I was a bit of a geek at school. I had a hilarious boyfriend who spent his life doing Austin Powers impressions.

The day before the wedding he saw me off to London on the coach and handed me a carrier bag. In it was things to keep me occupied for the journey. A pork pie, a Beano comic, a Refresher chew bar and a fiver to get an illegal pint in what had somehow become my London local pub. He knew my 17-year-old self well.

Back then I loved London – I was there often, cadging work experience here and there – but the idea of actually living there seemed a long way off.

So anyway, the morning of the wedding, I put on my carefully chosen dress. It was a pale pink silk maxi dress, with small painted flowers on it. I loved it. It was completely out of fashion. I didn't care. I felt amazing in it. I love that dress so much that I still have it. And it's actually fashionable now too.

One of the things I had to do at this wedding was play my flute. When the register was being signed. It was a massive honour. My hearing was getting worse all the time. One of the pieces I was playing had a very high haunting finish note. I couldn't hear it. It was stressing me out. Until my rather marvellous flute teacher told me to simply bring it down an octave into a frequency I could hear. 'Keep the tone beautiful and it won't matter what octave you play that note in,' she said.

So I did.

It was one of the last times I played my flute in public. After that I did my Performance Recital exams and accepted that flute playing just wasn't that fun when you couldn't hear it. Although I do still get it out every now and again.

But playing my flute wasn't the only thing made the day stand out for me. There was an incredible energy about that day. A happiness that was catching. It had everyone grinning like loonies – there are photos to prove it.

The reception was brilliant. A crazy woman serenaded us all with a bizarre song. It was hilarious and by then end of it, Big Bro had stuffed an entire napkin in his mouth to prevent his laughter from being audible. There was a sea of thinly-veiled horrified faces around the room. No one was quite sure if it was a joke. It wasn't.

What that day taught my 17 year old self is that love is amazing. It doesn't always come along in the most conventional of ways and sometimes it's pushed to the very limits.

And, as my heart breaks a little bit today with the memory of that day, I'm raising a glass – although as it's only 9am, a coffee cup.

To the bride and groom.


DeafGirly: How I feel about being deaf at work

It's been a whole year since I posted a blog on here. Life's been happening. And I guess I am no longer 'deaf in the city and ha...