Freedom From Frustration.

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Keeping the Tree House fb group going as a wise friend put it “was a form of self defeatist self abuse.”

I have long since been locked “in an intimidated interaction.”

The damage has been done, by all those who consciously chose to target, to spread slander & manipulative lies, acted on their disdain simply because they could not succeed in playing games with me. They could not get what they wanted which was their own way and my Tree House.

The Tree House fb group is now, closed.

The website however, will remain open to view as a lot of hard work has been put into it. I thank once again, all those who willingly contributed and kindly supported.

By removing myself from the equation, mainly the negativity generated by the offenders of the deaf world, I am now free.

To be me. ☺️

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Rumour Has It…

That I have had a breakdown. Hmmm, I must admit that when I heard that, I just had to laugh. Granted, for those of you concerned enough, it was not at all funny but alarming enough for you to actually approach me and find out the truth, for yourselves. I would like to applause those of you for having enough respect for me, to come to me, rather than conforming to the peer pressure of Chinese whispers amongst yourselves.

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“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.”

As for the “breakdown” – it is absolutely and utterly untrue. IF there ever were one, it would have been before I founded the Tree House. There was a time when I was kicked whilst I was down but those who did not dare to look down on me – whilst I was down helped me back up again. After the Tree House was founded, there was another time when a good portion of my previous admin team tried to undermine, overpower me but I stood my ground, stood up (much to their horror hoping that I would stand by) and removed their flaws from damaging me, relatively the Tree House further. (A survival of the fittest of course) They still and will always try their best to damage it but that is their problem, therefore their waste of (negative) energy. These people are behind me, and so it should be the case, for you too.

I have now reached the stage where I do not need social media in my life – any longer. Social media has become quite the tool for sociopaths. It sucks people in, makes them mindless of others and sadly, the preciousness of face-to-face values is lost on most. If anything, the Tree House has been a lifeline to me for the past two years. I am oftentimes (albeit surprisingly) reminded that people can still be humane, respectful, kind, considerate, honest and genuine.

I do appreciate social media in the sense that it has reconnected me in the past, to long lost family and friends, for introducing me to some newfound friends that have brought laughter and tears to my heart. For reminding me, who not to be, who to steer clear of and just how twisted and bitter some people can be. That is not the way I wish to use my second chance at life – most people only get one chance and if they could turn back time and change certain aspects of their lives, they would. Thus, why, I am because I can. I have once again found the balance in my life in order for me to cherish life and social media is not part of that equation.

Look to the person next to you, to the cashier in the shops, to the stranger opposite you on public transport. Consider how they may be feeling or what they may be going through. They would love a friendly smile just as much as you do. Smell the freshly cut grass, cherish chocolate even – as a treat mind you! Strive to be righteous, honest and the best one can be. Find a way to being happy from within because being happy for a reason is dangerous since that reason can be taken away from you.

There is certainly no need for me to broadcast why I have taken a step back, a sabbatical, especially when it is for very personal reasons that only my family and a selected few friends deserve to know. They have after all, always been there for me.

Please, trust in me that when I say, I am more than fine, I am actually anticipating all the joy the future has in store, for me, and my children.

For… “What is coming is better than what has gone.”  

Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules!. 😉 😉

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Yes, I Can.

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I saw an advert on TV some time ago which used the words “I can” and this advert inspired me to put the question to our dwellers to see, what they CAN do….

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Here are some of their answers.

I sang in a choir (a hearing one), played clarinet to grade 8 and the obvious one that most people seem to be shocked about “Oooohhhhh my gawd! You can driiiive! Cleevverrr!”

My friends think I can do everything and even things I say I would find hard to do because of my hearing loss, they’re the ones telling me: “Why not, go for it”, so I guess I’m lucky. However, years ago, some of my family members and relatives seemed to think that it was “amazing” that I had got a university degree (as if deaf meant stupid) and my sis in law once told my mum that I was “lucky” to get a good man as a husband, due to my hearing loss!

I had a similar experience – my husband is hearing and someone in his family said he ‘must find it hard’ with a deaf girlfriend (this was very early on) We’re all people – hearing or deaf it doesn’t matter, some people have strange/misguided ideas about relationships and equality. I tend not to think in terms of ‘I can do this despite being deaf’ – in my eyes, I think being deaf has given me more determination. Life is tough for most people, I think everyone has potential and it is often what we do with it and the resources we have that make the difference between ‘I can’ and ‘I can’t’.

I’ve had hearing people say to me ‘You’re so inspiring, being deaf and doing a degree!’ and…. ‘how can you hear music?’. I am a singer and a musician because I can.

I’ve met some people who seem shocked to learn that deaf people can dance.

I had a boss who shifted my mindset from can’t do to can do, now I’m talking on phones, gibbering at Portuguese in work, smiling a lot more and having fun!

My old school told my mother that I would not be able to do music or French?! I did both in the end, at Mary Hare School.

I was told I couldn’t rock climb once… because I was deaf (said by a professional climber)

I was told at 16 that I couldn’t go to university as I was deaf but I went to four in the end.

I didn’t go to Uni – I was often asked why with sympathetic looks “Was it because you are deaf and you would find it difficult?”, “ No, I chose to travel….”

I couldn’t sign 3 years ago however now I can have a conversation in sign language. 

I can choose when I don’t want to hear. 😉

I have friends who kept relying on people to help them, I told them that they could do it themselves. They assumed that because people were there for them, they felt they couldn’t do it themselves. I decided to show them that they CAN do it.

Empower yourselves, because you CAN and you WILL.. 🙂

Positivity rules, what else CAN deaf people do?

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

(May you now realize, where the inspiration for the #ICAN posts came from.) 🙂

Therapy, The Deaf Way.

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By SignHealth.

Over the past few weeks I have seen a campaign by SignHealth and their supporters from within the deaf community, steadily grow.

I wanted to share with you, my personal experience.

At one point last year, a deaf friend was concerned enough to put me into contact with someone offering their professional help except, how could I talk to them when their sibling was one of the bullies? The deaf world was much too small, typical and predictable for my liking. I felt extremely claustrophobic.

Eventually, my GP referred me for counselling to help lift me out of my depression and certain trains of thought. Members of the deaf community had brought all of my life altering experiences on so it was only natural for me to want to stick with a local counsellor, who was hearing and had very little (if no) experience with deaf clients.

My counsellor began the first of our many intensive sessions, asking if an interpreter should be present to help us communicate with ease. This was enough reason to make me clam up. I refused their offer politely and asked if we could continue without one, as I was confident it would work.

I did not at the time trust anyone that had any connections to the deaf community; enough to be anywhere near me. Not even an interpreter bound by confidence because they too, I could not trust.

In time, my counsellor’s deaf awareness grew with each session and once they took me by surprise by saying, “I am glad we didn’t use an interpreter because you would not have told me everything. You would have been extremely cautious. I did not think our sessions would work without one and you proved me wrong. You have taught me that not every deaf person needs an interpreter present and not every deaf person relies solely on sign language.”

Their acknowledgement and increased deaf awareness made my heart smile. I suddenly felt freer than I had ever been and that feeling of being finally understood, not just me but the deaf community too, how diverse it actually is and how our needs and abilities differ, was priceless. This was therapy, albeit my way.

Each to their own for reasons that should be known to themselves, only.

It is vital that we fight to retain our choice to be counselled however we wish, be it the deaf way or the hearing way in order to be at our most comfortable, for our therapy to succeed. And for that, we should be grateful such a service like SignHealth exists because they do work, for those who choose them. For those who need them. For those who solely rely on sign language, for they do exist.

No one deserves to be ignored.

I wish SignHealth all the best with their latest campaign, to continue providing “a national psychological therapy service where all the therapists are fluent in British Sign Language (BSL)”.

#TherapyTheDeafWay

Finally yet just as importantly, I would like to applaud SignHealth for adding captions to their videos, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. Thank you, for doing so. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

A Pleasure To Meet You.

I was encouraged by my best friend to share a video, that my daughter managed to sneak off me. (The little minx!)

I had previously been too fearful to share it because in it I speak. (I say “Is it recording?”) The last time I spoke in a video which was for the BBC, the fall out was unfortunately, predictable.

Too many people presume (albeit dangerously) and try to dictate our choices rather than respecting them.

By the way, I have signed ever since I could, because I have deaf parents – I believe in total communication.

So, come on over to The Tree House and meet me, cyber wise. Do feel free to share your videos too.

Positivity rules! 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Neighbours, Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Neighbours

Our elderly neighbour, Hilda, seemed exasperated with her mobile phone and she exclaimed, “My phone keeps on ringing all the time, I don’t know why!”

Me being deaf, I couldn’t hear if it was ringing or not said, “It might be a cold caller so register your number on the TPS site and by 28 days the calls should stop.” “Oh yes I’ll do that!” Hilda agreed.

Our other neighbour, Inga, joined us out of concern for Hilda who immediately pointed to her mobile phone inside her bag, “Can you hear it? It keeps on ringing… There it goes again!”

Inga seemed bewildered as we were given her phone. Her phone wasn’t ringing as it was off? We turned it on… Hilda then started giggling, realising it was actually her new hearing aid that was making the ringing sound.

She laughed so heartily effective, that we couldn’t help but laugh with her.

Bless her cottons!

Hilda’s hat had been placed over her hearing aids, setting them off. It set her off and relatively, us!

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours

With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend

Neighbours, should be there for one another

That’s when good neighbours become good friends….

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Truth Always Prevails

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“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Oftentimes I am reminded of the challenging positions of past that I was subjected to on different occasions by those who let their negativity and jealousy get the better of them, by those who had one rule for themselves and another for others, by those who conspired to overtake my role as founder and owner of The Tree House. There were also those who dared to manipulate (others) in order to engineer situations for their own gains, only, for it to be all in vain.

Only a select few has stood the test of time, remaining by my side throughout, giving continuous support and respect and so, it is they who deserve to be applauded for their courage to do right by others. Their moral values are both honourable and admirable.

Inevitably, there came a time when I became extremely deflated, of all the triviality and nastiness out there, so much so that I was determined not to close down The Tree House, in defiance of those who then chose to exploit and/or bully me, for being who I am. For being different, for being honest and for standing on my own two feet. For not following the (m)asses.

Fortunately, I soon realised all the unsavouriness was still dictating the quality of my time, which, to me, is very precious knowing how short life can be. My beloved children consequently became my first, second and last reason, hence the decision to take a sabbatical.

All I ever wished for was a space (for people) to speak freely with the greatest of respect, without fear of being judged. This is actually possible but only as long as people remain respectful and open minded of one another, willing to improve and learn, even from one’s (their own) mistakes. Except, there is yet much to absorb and practise regarding patience and relatively, respect. Everyone is different and there will always be those from all walks of life, who will teach us who not to be.

Even, those who may choose to knowingly associate themselves with the likes of the unsavouriness still, after having witnessing events or having seen evidence of the events, after allowing “them” to manipulate them into choosing “their” side – “they” are now, their problem. Their conscience.

To get by in the world of politics, one has to lie, be cunning, devious, manipulate and hold no or very little regard for others. It is all a game of ego and greed for power. Whereas a honest and genuine person trying to do their best by the people, for the people, will unfortunately be singled out and descended upon by a baying pack of wolves, those who are in fact afraid of having their true colours exposed, fearing the truth and subsequently, being embarrassed of their own flaws.

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There are those of us who may (appear to) stand alone for speaking the truth and telling it like it is. However, that is okay because our conscience is clear.

Now would be an ideal time to remind you of one of my posts titled “Positivity rules!

There is no shame in being introspective, in being honest albeit respectfully, in seeking further knowledge, for it will all help you to become a better person. It is courageous at best since it is all about the survival of the fittest in our test of a lifetime.

On that note, do look forwards – not backwards as any impurities, which have been filtered out and left behind, are behind us for valid reasons.

Thus, why, I have decided to move on from such experiences. I have learnt so much more about people and their ways, the deaf world and how it functions. I can only hope you will appreciate this level of honesty, as I believe people deserve to know the truth since the truth always prevails.

We all have our own lives to mind and so, I wish you all the best in yours.

A token of gratitude and a tip of the hat please, for Andrew, Paul, Mervyn and all our readers / contributors simply, for being you.

More than you realise… 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Next Hurdle

Today I had to pay the eye hospital another visit. This time around was a lot more stressful in the sense that I had to rely on the public for their kindness, patience and assistance.

I was given eye drops on the spot so a test could be undertaken. This meant my eyesight would be temporarily blurry albeit for a good few hours only. I tried not to go into panic mode as my thoughts returned to the journey home, by foot, train and bus. How would I manage all that? One pondered.

Unfortunately, patients’ names are called out at this particular hospital so I could not help but daydream, gazing at the floor, unable to focus on anyone around me. I found myself trying to listen perhaps to compensate for the temporary sight loss. Each time a name was called, I paused to see if it sounded similar to mine until one name when I thought, “Ooh, was that my name? It could have been but perhaps not because the receptionist hadn’t come to alert me.” Doubts crept in as intuition told me that was my name so I looked up to appease my nerves and saw the nurse who had earlier, done the eye drops, approaching me and with her hand, waved for me to come. I explained to her that I could not focus on anyone’s lips. She understood. The doctor DID call my name. (Go me!)

While my hearing aids enable me to hear so much more – not being able to focus, I could not really hear as well which proves to me just how much we hear with our eyes – it became clearer to me just how unfair playing the deaf card can be. I never used to question why deaf people thought they were entitled to pay only half of their TV license fees, like those with blindness do. “It’s only fair,” they would state… ‘Tis not fair at all for blindness alone causes one to be so much more dependent, stressed and isolated than deafness can. Our eyesight is extremely precious, hearing less so. However, when it is combined?

When those who happen to be deaf, try their luck in taking advantage of any privileges that is usually taken for granted, they run the risk of offending those so much more entitled. For sure, there are those who rely on solely sign language and for some it can be a matter of life or death but for most, not really, because they can at least understand the nation’s language, be it written or spoken.

The eye doctor, who made every effort possible to speak extremely clearly, put me at ease very quickly. I could see enough to gauge, and what to do next all the while making mental notes of how it felt being unable to see, so clearly, for your information.

For example, I noticed how much more comfortable it felt to look down, it put less pressure on my eyes and relatively, my headache – no or less visible noise for my eyes to try to focus on. I also wondered if I was standing and holding myself, gazing to the side as a blind person usually do.

Eventually, I was free to go except the prospect of the journey home filled me with utter dread.

How was I going to cross the roads safely? How was I going to know which destination on the train it would be or which line the train was? Alternatively, which stop it was? How this and that, I could not answer.

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The first hurdle was taking a few tentative steps outside but I had to be brave and just go for it. I expected to see a green man at a crossing to indicate when it was safe to cross but it was not a man, just a green blob.

I had no choice but to retrace my steps home – from memory with an abundance of patience.

The next hurdle was checking I had the right (train) platform home. I decided I could only follow the colour of the tube lines I needed and then when I needed direction as to take which platform, I took consciously longer to look at the shape of the words, indicating its destination. Did the size and outline of their word match the word I had, in my mind? If it did not, it had to be the wrong platform. I had to triple check with myself before I had the confidence that I was going in the right direction.

The next hurdle was to be sure of the next train’s destination, or was it to be a train meant for elsewhere? Under so much stress, I reminded myself to look at the word once again; did the size and outline match? Yes it did – quick double check, yes off I jumped onto the tube. How would I know when it was my stop? This was not my usual or local train so from memory I recalled the stops on my way there, counting on my fingers – putting each finger down for each stop. When the time came to change lines, I underwent the same motions not once but twice more. On the last tube change, I could start to relax being in familiar territory.

The next hurdle was in catching the bus home. The people traffic by then had worn me out; having been on tenterhooks the whole journey, hoping people would be mindful and patient with someone who may have looked extremely lost.

As I stood at the bus stop, leaning against it, I could see in the distance a bus but it was stationary. At least it is coming, or so I thought. I realised I was still waiting… The bus had not yet arrived yet it was still there, in the distance. Perhaps something serious had happened. Still, I was kept waiting. What could the matter be? I then wondered if… the bus was actually a bus or a town house. Of course, that explained it!

Finally, a bus turned up except no one could get on it. By this time, I put my instinct into people power and followed them to the next bus behind. I was completely exhausted, mentally.

There were several text messages for me, on my mobile; I tried to remain calm, not being able to read them to understand if my kids urgently needed me. I had to ignore the texts… of which, my daughter read for me once I got home and responded to.

Of course as with last time, I later indulged in some sensuous chocolates but that is no longer important as I know there will be many more trips to endure to and from the eye hospital yet I do not mind because I anticipate that with each insightful experience, one will become wiser for it.

My respect is well and truly reserved for those who genuinely need attention, not those who want attention.

Let us move on from campaigning for additional deaf rights, more deaf awareness when we should be supporting those campaigning for more deafblind rights and awareness since it would benefit every single one of us.  If it were not for any of the colour designated posts, i.e. green man, different colour tube lines, I would not have managed to get home – independently. Who then, deserves our consideration and assistance, the most?

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Six Degrees Of Separation.

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The six degrees of separation.

I have a sweet recollection to share, of a particular time long ago when a father wished to purchase for his daughter, a bag she so coveted. Mine. Was this you or perhaps, do you know them? If so, please do let me know.

I had jumped onto the train, all ready to meet friends with my roller-blades tucked away in my brand new sporting bag, that I had purchased especially.

As the tube rattled along and made its course, everyone was either reading the newspaper or dozing off encouraged by the monotonous vibrations of the train. I for one usually contemplated to pass the time.

Someone suddenly but gently tapped me on my knee, I was mildly astonished that someone wanted my attention. He explained that his daughter admired my bag and wanted to enquire as to where he could buy her, the exact same bag. I looked besides him to find his daughter being ever so shy. I remember being as shy as she once. Bless.

I seized the opportunity to draw a detailed map for them, alighting from a specific tube station, directions and the name of the shop. Even, where the bag was in the shop… His daughter seemed silently appreciative whilst her father seemed a little daunted, perhaps at the thought of making his way through crowds of people within the busy streets of London, with his daughter in tow.

My instincts told me he had at least, a little bit of experience with deaf people, knowing how to speak and listen in return. Therefore, I asked him, if he knew anyone that happened to be deaf. Much to his surprise at my evaluation, he then confessed his wife was deaf who remained in the United States whilst he was holidaying here, with their daughter.

Not forgetting the desired bag, their stop was the next one coming up. Mine was not for several stops after. He had shown me patience and kindness as a stranger, “What shall I do? I cannot leave them stranded at the mercy of body pushers” I thought…  I decided to listen to my instincts and got off the train with them instead. He seemed to be somewhat surprised yet relieved that I was able to join and guide them through the bustling streets of London, which was heaving with tourists. He was no longer nervous and seemed more at ease; this meant his daughter was relatively more at peace.

Upon arriving at the shop, I showed his daughter through to where there was an identical bag to mine, waiting to be owned, by her. Different shades of gorgeous purple – who could resist? At last, two people were happy, having been looked after, satisfactorily. I explained that I now had to go because I was meeting friends, wisely omitting that I was late. After all, it was my choice.

I bode them well, to take care and to enjoy the rest of their holiday before turning around and leaving them to continue their retail therapy. As soon as they could no longer see me, I ran like the wind to make up for lost time.

My friends at the time was wondering where I was but they could not get annoyed with me once I explained, what I had been up to. Bless their cottons!

Who knows if the ‘six degrees of separation’ reasoning is viable yet my faith and trust in fate will remain. If this somehow reaches you and this has made you smile in reminiscence, being the daughter and/or the father – ‘Twas truly, my pleasure.

🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)