Social Media – The Biggest Playground, Ever.

Social media has unfortunately become quite the tool for adults to manipulate others on what was intended to keep “Friends” in contact – socially. However, if one falls out of favour, it becomes quite the playground for those to bitch, backstab and sometimes publicly, but for sure privately, defame characters.

People have approached me asking me not to allow certain people into my FB group – who are they to tell me what to do? Just because their experience with them was more or less negative does not mean my own experience will be the same so to avoid being influenced by hearsay and rumours, I gave those concerned the chance that no one else would and I am so glad that I did because every being deserves respect – regardless.

Social media has otherwise become the perfect platform for deaf people to visually keep in contact, real-time wise. However, the deaf community is oh so small so when one doesn’t get their way, they will stamp their feet and go one step further to manipulate friends, even mutual friends away from the person who stood up to them and held their ground. Is this behaviour acceptable? No! In a school playground, this would be extremely petty and childish… So much so, they would be laughed at and frowned upon by their teachers. Now, let us apply the same perceptions on people’s (mis)behaviour albeit via social media.

Do children ever actually grow up, learning to respect others and behave accordingly or is this actually an evil trait that is being compounded by desires, jealousy, greed and god knows what else? Not that long ago I posted on my FB wall that I would be removing those (on my friend list) who appeared to take to social media like wildfire, to publicly bully and joined the (m)asses in embarrassing themselves, over some poor woman’s appearance. How dare people laugh at and pick on someone else’s misfortunes, beliefs or who they may choose to be?!

There was a time when I was an admin on another group and on that admin board; the other admins were taking the mickey out of a member’s level of intelligence. I was appalled to say the least and put them on the spot by making them look at how they were behaving. Nevertheless, because I am not afraid of saying things as it is, seeking justice for all, I am relatively made out to be the aggressor when in fact, they are the ones who have defined their true colours, by instigating and encouraging others to join ranks with them. Thank you but no thank you – one would very much rather walk alone than be associated with the likes of them.

What I find extremely sad is the fact that no one else is able to actually SEE what is happening before their very own eyes, who is influencing them – who exactly is being the manipulator thus becoming the manipulated. This I find annoyingly frustrating. Unfortunately, people can be rather trivial and lose perspective in the ways of life, unable to correct themselves and respect others. Perhaps most importantly, unable to resist these undesirable traits / people. I say, let them continue to (mis)behave in a childlike way for what potentially goes around, comes around.

I truly sympathise with those who dislike using social media and understand where they are coming from – even their untold reasons why which no one should ever have to explain, for life should not be about trolls and bullies who have nothing better to do but destroy those in their paths. They deserve to be labelled as sociopaths and exposed for who they truly are. Shame on them. You know who you are.

It is about time “adults” take responsibility for their own actions and for the consequences of such actions by treating people like pawns in what is a backwards game – competing for popularity. Seriously, social media platforms need to clamp down on such people abusing their intended services and for turning it into one of the biggest playgrounds – ever.

An adults playground.

A word of advice into the ears of those being abused – take comfort in knowing they have shown you who not to be and please, do not be afraid to be yourself – remain patient, courageous, stand up and tell them to “Do one!”. Meanwhile, keep all the evidence and report them, to the social media moderators, the police and their employers. For if, they want to behave in such a despicable manner then so be it – let them be despised.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Misplaced, Lost & Stolen.

Over the past month, my father has been extremely patient since an order of his via Amazon was misplaced / lost, by one of their couriers. I have been discreetly impressed with his composure thus far however I cannot help but feel that he keeps being taken advantage of, keeps being pushed aside, keeps being misunderstood and I am more than certain that he is feeling extremely frustrated. How do I know? Because I can feel it too.

I have recently been trying to support him with his English via emails to enable him to express himself clearer, to Amazon, the market seller and DHL. The bigger picture gives me cause for concern as I am realising just how serious the missing package is proving. All my father wants now as a month has passed, is a refund for his amazon order, a Sony smartwatch which has been lost or rather, misplaced by DHL (who has a contract with Amazon) or has been stolen by one “A Kisson” who intercepted and signed for the package.

A DHL employee must have allowed the package to be signed over to someone entirely different from what was named on the package (my father) and to an entirely different address. Potentially, a crime has been committed of stealing and / or working with a criminal gang or is it plain incompetency?! The police of course, have since been made aware of the investigation carried out by DHL who say their findings from their CCTV is inconclusive and the package is simply “lost” yet is adamant the seller has to refund my father. The investigation carried out so far by DHL is somewhat unsatisfactory and further advice will be sought from the police in due course.

It is such a shame that people seem to keep overlooking the fact that the parcel has been delivered already albeit to the wrong address/person as indicated on the web link via DHL. It is also clear that the Amazon market seller is unwilling to pay the refund since the package was “delivered” but one has to remember that the package was misplaced, relatively lost by DHL – potentially stolen by “A Kisson” who did not return it or forward it on, out of honesty. Whose responsibility is it then, to refund my father? When all they seem to want to do is, shift the responsibility…

Trying to enforce his rights as a consumer since he did not receive his order is proving rather yet he continues to wait in anticipation for some good news by way of a refund.

You’ve got (no) mail.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

An update:

Since publishing this 19 hours ago…

I have asked DHL what they will be doing to prevent this from happening again in the future as this is costing DHL/Amazon money. to prevent condoning and allowing their staff to deliver and hand over packages to other persons not named on said packages. I suspect they know whom the staff member was and where the package was delivered but due to confidentiality, they cannot share that information yet they can do so with the police.

As the Amazon seller was unwilling to pay out a refund since the package was “delivered” via DHL, my father has finally been given the opportunity by Amazon to file a claim to recover his lost funds and an email address for the police to contact them on – in order for the police to obtain further (personal?) details and information to assist them with, in their investigation. A member of staff from DHL has potentially assisted in a crime – whereby they allowed a package to be stolen by the wrongful recipient.

I would like to show gratitude towards Michele from the DHL customer relations department for her time and patience throughout.

And on that note, I can only hope my father’s trust and faith in the postal system will be restored – in time.

Update:

28/07/2015… DHL has finally caved in and offered my father a full refund for the package they misplaced, lost and enabled someone else to steal. Result!

Welcome, To My World

Seeing clearly how people throughout the world tend to engineer and manipulate situations to best suit and benefit themselves has left me feeling dispirited so much so that I find myself walking alone to pastures new. This is ok by me because I have no desire whatsoever to follow the (m)asses!

In order for people to help identify who they are, they fulfil a need to belong so will settle wherever they feel most comfortable and accepted. Hearing people do not face the same issues concerning communication yet a foreign speaking (hearing) person could relate most closely to the experiences facing barriers in communication that a deaf person would encounter albeit almost daily.

Within the deaf community, there is the signing community who may prefer to use sign language and the oral community, those who may prefer to speak or never learnt to sign. Whenever I meet a signing person, they automatically assume I am from a hearing family from the way I conduct myself. Whenever I meet someone from the oral community, they too automatically make assumptions yet on the opposite end of the spectrum. In both cases, the minute they learn I have deaf parents they are always rather overly surprised.

Being able to sign, speak and lip-read has meant I unfortunately experience even more conflicting emotions and situations. There is no middle ground for those in the minority, like myself. I am only trying to be who I am yet it is they who choose to make assumptions and create categories thus divisions. Welcome to their world.

I am tired, of feeling disenchanted and disappointed. There is no need, for people in general to continue playing what seems to be a trivial game (out of jealousy and contempt) and it is one that will do them no favours by the way they allow themselves to behave. Yes, “allow” because they cannot foresee or think outside the box thus giving permission. If only they could see the consequences of such actions, questioning themselves or others objectively they then would not allow it. At least, I would hope so.

As always with most everything, there is a balance.

Today, a complete stranger showed me kindness and offered a helping hand. It was extremely humbling to remember there are still genuine people around who have no agendas and nothing but a good heart. I mustered up the biggest glow from within and a smile to accompany it to show my gratitude. They relatively beamed. That familiarity of trying to make other people smile felt so good. I may be rather different to everyone else but once I have managed to make someone smile, I am home once more.

Welcome to MY world 🙂

Keep on smiling, for it is free and does wonders xx

Hubba Hubba
Hubba Hubba

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Why Honesty Is The Best Policy

The truth will set you free.

The moment I realised as a very young girl that a tongue was for speaking the truth – honesty became the best policy. My maternal grandmother had this brass casting of the three wise monkeys, “See no evil, Hear no evil and Speak no evil” of which has been some comfort to me whilst growing up, to aspire to.

Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru.

Here are my interpretations;

1) Mizaru, “See no evil” – our eyes are scouts for the heart. To identify when someone is engineering a sinful situation so we can refrain from certain desires of the heart and remain righteous.

2) Kikazaru, “Hear no evil” – our ears are for listening to someone else with patience and respect – attentively. Not for turning a deaf ear, listening to slander, rumours, back biting.

3) Iwazaru, “Speak no evil” – our tongues are for speaking the truth albeit respectfully – not for lies, backbiting or spreading rumours.

There is sometimes a forth monkey depicted which is Shizaru, symbolising the principle of “Do no evil”. He may be shown covering his genitals or crossing his arms. All the tenets of the proverb are about not dwelling on evil thoughts, being morally responsible and steering clear of those inclined towards impropriety.

Having been in a broken home and then packed off to boarding school despite my protests. From experience, I have learnt to to identify situations especially whenever I was being spun a lie by anyone. This is because I despise lying above anything else immoral, to me; it is the ultimate sin.

Friends and boyfriends of past have tried to deceive me yet I chose then based on the extent and context of their actions, not to react to their efforts of which were in vain to outwit / betray me except to overlook their flaws and give them another chance. Trying to remember (and looking for) the best in them without letting them know that I knew the truth and remained patient. Fortunately, there should always be a line that we draw for ourselves and once that boundary has been crossed, justified by their actions – it is time to part ways. Only then, would I reveal to them with examples that I knew of how they had lied to me.

One evening, a boyfriend became rather “busy”. My instincts told me that he was being “busy” with his ex-girlfriend so I left the matter alone and gave the benefit of the doubt until the next morning thus giving him an opportunity to be honest with me. That afternoon I decided to text him asking nicely, how his evening went with his ex-girlfriend. He was in absolute shock and could not understand just how I knew. Ever since then we have remained just friends because he was honest with me whilst showing so much respect. I for one could have wasted my time being devastated or feeling angry and betrayed – how then would that have benefitted our friendship today?

People will unfortunately try practising having one rule for themselves and another for others. This to me is another form of lying yet in the hypocritical sense. For example, someone decided to single out another and cease all contact. Just because they did not talk often or live nearby (!) and proceeded to block this person, (of whom had done absolutely nothing wrong) across all social mediums. This person upon realising, decided to stand up for themselves and find out why, (as mentioned above) only to respond to the initiator with “What about all the other people you do not know even though we have met and occasionally spoke?!”

See how one person’s deceit could dictate someone else’s emotion and day? That person could have gone on to be angry with someone else, that someone else angry with another and so on. Who is the sole cause of this ripple effect? What then, is the point of lying and being disrespectful? I consider being honest and truthful as a mark of respect, inwardly and outwardly. Therefore if someone dares to pull the wool over someone else’s eyes, they obviously do not have any morals or respect – for themselves, let alone others.

A blind person would not be able to tell if someone was dressed extravagantly or haggardly, a deaf person less able to differentiate between someone who is speaking eloquently and lazily – more than likely they would treat everyone as equals. People do tend to pass judgement and dangerous assumptions unto others by the way we dress, sound or behave when all they need to do is be patient and seek the truth. I for one am not afraid of standing up to someone in authority albeit respectfully as my equal, especially when they have abused that authority, their position or trust. We all return to the earth whatever our status and wealth so what point is there to be aloof of one, ignore one and praise another when all we need to remember to do is be respectful of all beings equal – regardless.

If only people realised just how much they are taking for granted, what creations had been given to them whilst forming as a foetus and is being granted still. Sadly, people choose to consciously lie, abuse and take advantage to this day. I can only hope they will realise the errors of their ways, of which all their actions will amount to the last straw that breaks the camel’s back and they will accept the consequences of their actions – for which they alone are responsible.

My conscience is clear – is yours? 🙂

Please, do not take your sight, hearing or your tongue (or anything else!) for granted…

Thank you ever so, for your time and patience. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Que Sera, Sera

Time is precious yet it flies.

Soul surfing the past few days has been the desired effect upon reading a very thought-provoking book. As always, there is a balance – in everything around us. Except there is a balance amongst the people of today that has been giving me some cause for concern.

In trying to be kind always, ignoring certain traits as not to be critical, negative or be accused of anything false, doing right by all has made me vulnerable to certain characters of whom I am extremely grateful to. For showing me who not to be or who to become and especially, for helping me to appreciate the sincere and finer beings today.

Yet, why do I still feel such a noticeable degree of sadness when other people’s negativity and their undesirable characteristics is not my problem but solely theirs? Does this boil down to the fact that I cherish life so much more and know from experience just how relatively short it can be. Alternatively, because I can ascertain between what is trivial when to others such triviality is apparently their whole world? On the other hand, is it because I can sense the evilness influencing the people amongst us so relatively, feeling helpless in stopping it from taking hold of them thus the anticipated engineered situations? All of the above?

If they are so determined to be, who they are then just let them be. Their own shortcomings are ones they have to be responsible for and therefore, they cannot displace their blame unto others.

Que sera, sera.

The one vitally most important fact to remember is that I am no longer allowing these characters, these feelings of sadness and frustration to dictate the valuable time I have left, to appreciate my loved and cherished ones in the best and righteous manner possible. For time is precious.

Positivity rules!

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Onwards & Upwards.

My view from the balcony.

Donning my flip-flops (the poor things!), I walked down a long, winding and dusty road of North Africa taking in the wilderness of the countryside whilst absorbing the desert sun. Admiring those dressed in traditional Berber gear, for being proud of who they are and from whence they originated. Humanity, morality and peace were of more importance than money and status.

There was not an iota of any negativity, arrogance or hostility in the villagers’ faces or their body language but an abundance of friendliness, acceptance, respect and kindness. I could not have felt more safe or welcome being amongst such hospitality – which was extremely appreciated.

During my walk, ahead of me there was a particular field, which was covered with wild flowers that also seemed to be dancing and swaying except there was no wind. Upon closer inspection, it was an amazing show of butterflies simply bathing in Mother Nature and her designs. The sound of silence could not have been more apparent or golden.

In another field, being protected by the shade of a tree was a lonely goatherd who was perhaps keeping one eye on his goats (not literally!) in between 40 winks from under his tired but beloved cap. A song from my childhood started to play in my mind, (what we would call ‘musical tinnitus’) that yodelled for a minute or so to the tune of “Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo!” I paused for a second thinking, “What would the lonely goatherd have been like, if someone had got his goat?” 😉

A prickly pear cactus
A flowering prickly pear cactus.

As I was growing up, I always had a cactus plant or two so to see cacti being right at home, proudly growing in the wild, made me wonder just what a prickly subject it might be for some 😉 (Ouch!) Moreover, what made it even more of an idyllic scene was the vast majestic mountains. Just by looking at them from a distance, the backdrop astounded me. The enormity of Mother Nature was simply breath-taking, all this natural beauty and the various amazing designs of creation was making my heart smile.

For some reason I did not see any camels, perhaps they had got the hump? 😉 There were plenty of asses grazing though – donkeys of course. Looking around, you have to see it to believe just how much brighter it is here than in the UK yet the lingering scent of cigarettes (and alcohol) in the UK compared to just how much cleaner the air is here, is sickeningly obvious.

There was no hint of poison in the air either, potentially laying in wait to corrupt and manipulate beings further. I realised just how vital it was, to avoid any negativity and venom via other people and engineered situations. Upon determining what needed to be done in order to recover my equilibrium and to retain that sense of peace from within, right there and then, I felt a wave of relief, a sense of enlightenment, freedom and independence. Most importantly of all, a taste of happiness. I once again needed to be free, as a bird, to be me.

I then relatively reminisced how the plane journey had made me feel serene just by looking out of the window, gliding through the air, soaring high above, and the clouds, which varied from being wispy like candyfloss or as soft as a duvet. An infinity of all shades of blue from above, below (the sea) and ahead. There was no looking back and so it was, onwards and upwards.

Positivity rules!

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The ISIS Video.

The time has come for me to explain why I have refused to participate in any sense regarding the ISIS video, which is apparently inviting deaf people to join their cause by using sign language to appeal to them.

I did not want to impose onto anyone else a video that was potentially fake because a number of ISIS videos have been exposed to be so. In addition, because I did not want anyone to fall victim to their method of reverse psychology, they clearly made a video with the intent to recruit and shock people in the hope that it would become viral in their favour. It went viral without even the authenticity of it being questioned beforehand or saw that you would possibly play a part in promoting the propaganda.

The last straw for me came having seen articles written by people who are not experienced or knowledgeable in either, the history of the Middle East, the language and the religion – the latter, ISIS has nothing to do with, at all. Why are people listening to, consulting with or publishing someone who does not speak for or to the deaf community, especially those who are not qualified on any aspect of the subject matter?

seekconfirmation

Not everything published online be it YouTube, Facebook or even established news outlets is correct and should always be looked at with a critical eye. Politicians who have an agenda in mind would highlight a particular issue and blow it out of proportion, then feed the public in order to gain votes. In some cases, deflecting attention from their shortcomings.

Be wise and tread carefully.

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

The Deaf Community – An Important Message.

Many years ago, deaf people were not considered to be in a position where they could be a proactive member of society. For at times, families would hide their deaf child away because they felt ashamed simply because they had a child who happened to be deaf or even worse, were not diagnosed as deaf but for want of a better word, dumb. Some of these people were mistreated, abandoned and abused.

Looking around us today, it is a completely different picture. It is not yet perfect but the deaf now have a community which has come a long way and I am using the word “community” and not “culture” because the word “culture” is rather complex and divisive. When one uses the word “culture”, it is in reference to customs, habits, language and many other factors that belong to a particular group of people who are different to others.

Sign language alone should not form the basis for a “deaf culture” because deaf people are born into a culture that already exists – if you are born into the British culture then by default you are British. Bearing in mind, that sign language is derived and based on our mother tongue. Both deaf and hearing people as well as monkeys and apes can use this form of visual language. On the other hand, it would be wrong of us to assume anyone who may be hard of hearing, deafened, deaf or deafblind automatically know sign language. To presume that everyone deaf can sign is not correct and it is misinforming our society of today.

A baby who has been born deaf into a British hearing family, growing up with the family’s customs and ways, can he suddenly deny his family’s culture and refer to himself as deaf only? Insinuating, that because his family is hearing, they do not belong to a “deaf culture” despite having tried their very best to provide their child with an enriching and balanced upbringing, encouraging him to speak, sign and integrate with his peers regardless of whether they were deaf or hearing.

It would be extremely hard for me to separate myself from the people that taught me everything I know and in the process hurting them in return by secluding myself to another particular culture, especially one that we find difficult to define.

To put it simply, we have habits (no, not those long brown gowns!) which is interpreted by some as “deaf culture”, or more appropriately termed as learned behaviour. On the contrary, we can learn it, be aware of it but it does not mean we have to adopt it.

Sadly, there are deaf parents who hope their child will be born deaf because they believe they belong to a deaf culture only and by having a hearing child, they would break that familiarity to what they only know. This is an extreme stance to have and it is one that is potentially damaging.

By simply saying to hearing people “If you do not make the effort to communicate with me then I will separate myself from you all together” is so not the route to take; the more they see of you, the more they are forced to understand you. I say forced because hearing people have the option to learn at least some basic sign language like finger spelling which should at least be made part of today’s school curriculum.

One (i.e. Paddy Ladd and his Deafhood book) could argue that residential schools for the deaf is the main continuity for “deaf culture” being learned – perhaps forty years ago but not today. Because forty years or so ago, the differences in technology, segregation and concentration then and now could not be more evident unless influenced and taught otherwise by the older generations.

As stated on NDCS website, “90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no experience of deafness or knowledge of how to communicate with a deaf person”. The other 10% would probably grow up with sign language as their first language in cases where the deaf parents also sign rather than having to wait until they have contact with other deaf children, which is normally the experience of the other 90% at school. Approximately, nowadays, 90% of those deaf children born severely or profoundly deaf are likely to be implanted before their second birthday – More than 60% of the children at Mary Hare School now have implants.

Where hearing aids and implants are concerned, people have feared deaf identities and the linguistics will be lost, “I am still deaf” one may remark. Of course, you will still be deaf because your hearing aid(s) or implants will not be in use 24/7 and you will have grown up as a deaf person, lip-reading, signing (if able to). The deaf majority at present, thankfully, now sees a CI as a superior hearing aid, which actually has very little bearing on “deaf culture” despite a tiny percentage that are anti-CI and vehemently trying to turn people against CI’s by using an excuse along the lines of “social cleansing”.

There is a term albeit rarely used, which is the “hearing brain”. I understand this to mean when someone loses hearing later in life after growing up living life to the max as a hearing person possibly could, has been fortunate to receive a cochlear implant, only to characteristically revert to whom they grew up as. Do we or rather, should we put that down to “hearing culture”? When it is whom they have learnt and happen to be, within themselves and society just as we are who we are and that others have taught us who to become.

My fear of seeing people belonging to one culture and denying everything, everyone else around them is that there is a danger of separating ourselves from the mainstream culture we have to live in and share.

In being exclusive, this will undo all the hard work that has been achieved before us, by the many generations of deaf people. They are the ones who struggled and fought hard to finally be accepted within the mainstream society today. If anything, we should continue to strive albeit much harder to keep this sense of inclusion and integration developing but there is a cycle, especially where learnt behaviour is concerned, reoccurring in many senses that people need to break out of this habit, especially if they want to advance further as an inclusive and diverse community.

There is a still a lot that has to be done, in terms of educating society that we are all equals and just as capable but not by creating and realising any further divisive ideas. With positivity, forward thinking and unity, this can be achieved by the deaf community but only if the will is there.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

One Year On – Something Inside So Strong.

Upon reflection on how The Tree House has been nurtured since the seed of reality was first planted one year ago, how it has grown into a strong foundation and radiates with the warmth of the light from within. It is those who are able to welcome, include and consider diversity – all the various communication needs or abilities regardless, who exhibit a true strength of character.

Combine that strength with a sense of mutual respect for all and genuine intent to effect change for the better. Barriers are slowly but surely being broken down as the way forwards is being paved by those unsung, for simply being true to themselves and others in standing tall with courage.

With each and every one of you, wherever you may be – over the past year, there has been something inside growing ever so strong. Moreover, because of you wanting to be accepted for whom you may be and to have your voice – you are why we continue so. Onwards and upwards – wherever it may take us.

We are truly honoured to have been graced with the pleasure of your company.

Here we humbly share with you our very first anniversary tribute.

Thank YOU!

Can you tell who is hearing, hard of hearing, deaf or deafened in this video? Can you tell who relies solely on sign language to get by? Can you tell who is a CODA? Can you tell who is a lip-reader? Can you tell who tries their best to adapt to present company? No because that is the beauty of being so diverse and inclusive of all. All of which is not obvious in making this video and soundtrack possible.

Unfortunately we could not include all the clips and photos we were provided for this compilation as we sadly could not fit it all in order to show the full extent of the diversity. Thanks ever so, to all of you who contributed and supported us in the making of this video. It is very much appreciated – more than you realise. Please take your hats off to Paul for his time and patience in editing and compiling the videos together which produced the awesome final cut.

The full lyrics to the sound track on our video can be found by clicking on this link: (Something Inside) So Strong by Labi Siffre.

To view Sambuca’s or Danielle William’s (full length) signed song to the soundtrack “Something inside so strong” please click on these links: Sambuca’s signed song or Danielle William’s signed song.

Please feel free to join our rather diverse Facebook discussion group.

To be notified instantly of any new articles by The Tree House, please feel free to follow us on Twitter @treehouseviews, subscribe to our Facebook page and/or add us to your circle on Google + .

Positivity rules!

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Day The Door Handle Met My Hand.

What seems to be quite a famous incident that is still talked about also left such a vivid and shared memory by all those who were present on a particular fateful day in 1990, at a particular boarding school for the deaf. On this day, which seemed to start out like any other school day, we went about our usual routines unaware of what would happen next.

Having just attended assembly, we all started to make our way back to our designated form rooms. My form room happened to be the one beside the Home Economics room, which was directly across from the assembly hall so there was no urgency or hike back to gather our books for that morning’s timetable. Momentarily, a couple of us paused in the communal area outside the assembly room for a quick “Hello”.

A classmate of mine had said something to me there and then and in annoyance I ran after him. He proceeded into our form room intending to close the door behind him but as I ran after him, I stopped the door from being closed onto me and tried to continue running after him. However, I could not, and I was being held back. I did not sense anyone holding me back so I could not understand what or who was holding me back. My arm seemed to be held into place – glancing down at my arm and then my hand. It immediately made sense – I could see the door handle protruding from inside my hand. “So this is what was stopping me!” I thought…. I could not contain my anger so screamed, shouted and kicked at the blooming door – for hurting me like that. Mind you, I was only thirteen years old at the time.

A couple of sixth formers came to my rescue, shielding me, controlling and deflecting the building crowd of onlookers who were startled by my screams. The headmaster, Dr Tucker suddenly appeared alongside the school nurse and Mrs Fenney, the cookery teacher. There was this brick of a mobile phone too. I do not think I had ever seen one before then except in the films – Dr Tucker was calling the emergency services who very quickly appeared on scene.

A mask was offered to me, “Breathe hard until it clicks” I had no idea what I was going to breathe in or what I would experience! There was a click and I soon drifted off to “sleep”.

As I was being sat down by supporting hands, the groovy effects from the gas and air wearing off – I was “waking up” again, looking around me to pinpoint where I was. I was somewhat disappointed to find I was still in the very same spot and turned towards the school nurse saying, “I thought it was all a bad dream”. She responded albeit with tears in her eyes “So did I”. Dr Tucker started to look overcome with relief.

I then found my right hand resting on a pillow, which had been placed on my lap – the door handle had been unscrewed away from the door. It was decided that the handle should be left inside my hand in case of any serious blood loss or nerve damage. The door handle had gone through my skin between the middle and ring finger and still protruded outwards, where the handle bends. It felt quite uncomfortable but not painful, at all.

Being wheeled outside of the school, I spotted an ambulance – I had never been inside one so I anticipated a great ride! So I thought. It inched ever so slowly down the country lane heading towards the motorway. Much to my dismay because ambulances to my knowledge were always whizzing around and here I was, having what felt like a race with a snail. It had to be so. Because the aforementioned door handle impaled my hand and they did not want any further damage to be inflicted. Bless them.

I learned afterwards, that my classmates were watching the ambulance carting me away, from their Physics lesson in the science block, in what one described as a “rather sombre mood” – I had got out of doing physics – go me! In all seriousness, one person was feeling extremely upset and overcome with guilt.

Two hospitals later (because the first was only very small with no hand specialist), armed with my x-rays, it was finally deemed safe to remove the door handle, from my hand. I watched as a nurse treated my hand like a pincushion turning the area numb and ready to be handled (pardon the pun!) – holding my hand upright, the handle was slowly being edged out. It came out cleanly with such care and ease. Was blood going to spurt out? Was it going to be like in the films? Blood spurting everywhere… Alas no, except a cavity was left behind, tissue had been pushed down upon meeting the handle. A huge syringe filled with sterile water washed out the cavity, of which was kept above my line of view so I could not peer inside. This massive curved needle suddenly made an appearance and was guided through each edge of the open wound, gradually closing it together. I had a new addition to my collection of scars – sporting six stiches!

As my hand was being bandaged up and arm then put into a sling – there was a message for me.

“In future, never run after the boys – let them run after you!” said the ambulance staff that had looked after me earlier that day. This witty remark somehow made my day.

My writing hand thankfully, was not seriously damaged. With physio and time – it would heal. To this day, whenever it aches, this lets me know it is going to rain heavily within the next 24 hours. My very own barometer.

Mrs Fenney who had stayed with me throughout, I will never forget her for her kindness and patience. My mother joined us and we decided to buy a box of chocolates – not for us but for one particular person. Arriving back at school, everything became a haze. People wanted to know what happened, how I was…. Then much to my surprise, the person whom we had given the box of chocolates came to see me, they had saved the very last chocolate – just for me. He was being such a gentleman. I will always remember the apologetic look on his face yet he had nothing to be sorry for because it was purely an accident and besides, he got a box of chocolates whereas I got a door handle!

The one and only.
The one and only.

The door handle was presented to me, with masking tape on it indicating the depth of the meeting that took place. To this day, I still have it and I write this for posterity.

Now you will understand why, all the doors at the Mary Hare School were replaced into much safer (push open) ones that especially had no door handles!

A heartfelt “Thank you” to all those of you who supported me on that very day x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)