Recently I've been thinking about this a lot. You see, when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve and hailed the arrival of 2016, over the next few days, it wasn't just the messages from friends and family over text I received, it was messages from my Twitter peeps, too. People who without Deaf Girly, I would never have the wonderful pleasure of knowing, meeting and calling my friends.
After all, what if I had never met Deaf Girly... or to be more accurately, what if I had never created Deaf Girly? Yes, my phone would have chimed with texts from family and friends, but my Twitter feed would have been silent... or non existent... all those marvellous Twitter peeps would have been wishing other people Happy New Year, not me.
It's such a horrible thought, I don't often dwell on it. But what if, after that job interview where I was asked to write my ideal column, had I taken a different turn. What if I had chosen not to write about my deafness for the 2nd around of interviews? What if I had written about whatever was playing on my mind the most in April 2008, eight years ago, and a whole lifetime away now?
In all honestly, back in 2008, it was mostly my deafness that was playing on my mind. The world was a lot less deaf aware then after all. Smartphones were finding their feet, social media was for the savvy and companies were only just coming around to the idea of communicating with customers in ways other than the telephone. I had quite a lot to rant about, write about, cry about, get angry about and most of it was deaf related.
As Deaf Girly approaches her 8th birthday, I can't imagine life without this slightly mad alter ego, who I can blame all my quirks and weirdness on, when in reality I know she is me and I am her. She's given me so much more than a coping mechanism for my deafness. She's given me so much more than a platform to ask for equality in NHS Walk-in Centres (DONE), captioning on iPlayer (DONE) and find out why the company who released Dr Quinn Medicine Woman – I never said I had intellectual taste in TV – on DVD didn't subtitle any of it... not one jot (THEY COULDN'T JUSTIFY THE COST). Deaf Girly has given me friends. Amazing, wonderful friends who get a part of me that even I don't sometimes. From interpreters and audiologists to writers and people who I just somehow ended up chatting to in 140 characters – some who are deaf, some who are not.
I've met some of them in real life too – after discovering shared enthusiasm for writing, museum exhibitions or afternoon tea and it was great. There was always a nervousness that the real me might be somewhat disappointing. That DG might be better online, blogging or ranting on Twitter. But so far everyone's been far too polite to let me know.
And let's not forget Country Writer, who took me under her wing and introduced me to a whole world of people who might be able to help then next stage of DG's journey get off the ground.
So what are my resolutions for 2016...
Well, I am going to try and blog more. I'm going to start going after the things I am passionate about again. Subtitles on Catch Up TV and at the cinema for example – asking for answers all the time, because while I know that someone has asked these questions before, the more people who ask, the more the people who can make things better, will wonder if they should.
And I'm going to get Deaf Girly on a bookshelf... where she'd quite like to hang out, tell her story on paper for a change rather than on screen.
Yep that's the plan. Wish me luck folks.
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