The other day I saw a post by a friend of mine, they had been posting similar things over the past month or so, out of a great sense of despair.
I identified with their struggle and suggested they sought counselling as I knew it would redirect them to the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, another post. More complimentary comments which were all true but not the answer they sought. Cyber friends cannot bring someone out of their depression as they are not qualified to do so. One can only reassure and when this wears off, more cries for help will inevitably be made. So once again, counselling was suggested..
Another day, another post. Someone else suggested counselling.
Another day, another post. Someone else once again suggested counselling but tailored for CODA’s. They identify themselves as a CODA of which, my sister is also one. This meant, they (finally?) listened..
CODA’s are forced to take on the role of being an interpreter (and then some) for their parents who happen to be deaf and in return tend to feel, they are the parent of their parent(s). This can sometimes make them feel “special” and above others.
But, what about deaf children of deaf adults, or hearing adults? Whichever way the situation is reversed, there is always another in the very same position, feeling the very same emotions. What exactly sets a hearing CODA apart from others who have also been forced to take on such a role?
Does this mean that being a CODA however you wish to identify with or define it, would not really make any difference to who the counsellor may be, due to the more familiar core issues being scratched, at the surface?
People should always retain the right to choose which counselling service they would prefer and most do advocate their right. It would mean then, they are “at home” with the counsellor and feel more or less, understood. Listened to. So long, both the counsellor and the patient are comfortable.
If people wish to be specific, let them.
Just beware, of organisations taking advantage of one’s disadvantages.
I am more at home, with those who are prepared to step into other people’s shoes and walk at least a hundred miles in them. With those who are willing to keep an open mind and are not afraid, to explore the differing perspectives. With those who are willing to accept honesty, the truth and introspect themselves in order to improve. Otherwise…
Que sera, sera.
Being a child of deaf adults means we experience the same prejudices and take on the parental roles, regardless. Our life experiences may differ yet to a counsellor, the symptoms are the same.
Don’t forget, my parents are deaf. Therefore, I understand. My sister understands. My children understand. My friends, also understand. You (will) understand.
~ SJ (Sara Jae)
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.
“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.”
~ SJ (Sara Jae)
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.
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.
Please feel free to join our rather diverse Facebook discussion group.
~ SJ (Sara Jae)
The French film, “La Famille Bélier” (The Bélier Family) is apparently being boycotted. Why? One may ask.
Here is a couple of (quoted) paragraphs from the deaf sportspeople to give you an insight;
“The film uses hearing actors to play the roles of deaf characters, the result of which is an embarrassing and crass interpretation of deaf culture and sign language. Make no mistake, this is like blacking up for the Black and White Minstrel Show. Couldn’t find any deaf actors? Just get some hearing ones to wave their hands about. It shows a level of disrespect for deaf people and disregard for a genuine language with the nuances of any spoken language. In the UK there is a pool of experienced deaf actors and sign language interpreters. If the same exist in France, shouldn’t the makers of Le Famille Bélier have called upon them? And if they don’t exist, we should be asking why not.
Deaf people’s culture and experiences have long been appropriated for the fascination and entertainment of others, and in the process kneaded into a bastardisation bearing no resemblance to real-life experiences, because it is rare that deaf people are actually involved in the production process. Accurate representation of deafness is a good thing, it can entertain and educate in equal measures – but films and TV shows about deaf characters, told through a hearing lens, using hearing actors with pidgin sign language, are demeaning, depressing and cause more damage then good.”
My initial reaction after reading through it all was to think objectively (as always) and responded to several links of the source (as written by Rebecca Atkinson of The Guardian) which is being widely publically shared hence my now, very public thought on this topic.
When the casting team find an actor or actress who happens to be deaf and experienced enough to play the part satisfactorily then they may sign them. Just like with the Olympics, if athletes meet the standards they then qualify to compete. The very same qualification process applies to deaf sportspeople too.
I do not see why (deaf) people seem to keep spitting their dummies out all the time – has any deaf people actually auditioned for the part?? Some are dubious as to whether they actively sought deaf actors out for the part but nonetheless I am sure they advertised and did their research as all films and actors do as that is their job and one would hope they fulfilled the requirements.
It is being portrayed overall as an insult to the deaf community when this does not mean it is the general consensus of the whole yet very diverse deaf community but individual interpretations based on personal experiences and emotions which are most likely reactions upon impulse. Just because some people are boycotting this film whilst encouraging others to do the same, does not mean everyone else needs to follow suit.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle.
~ SJ (Sara Jae)
Thank you ever so to our Technical Support, for helping us to produce this delightful video and to our daughters for being so brave in signing this against their usually extremely shy nature at their school’s summer fair.
We wish each and and every one of you a very “Happy” day – every day!
Guaranteed to make you smile and feel good.