That Helpless Feeling…

Times like tonight I wished I could hear so much better (am experiencing temporary further loss in one ear) and communicate clearer.

There was this elderly (African) woman sitting on the steps of the train station, bawling her eyes out – clearly experiencing a lot of despair. I sympathised with her straight away albeit from a very short distant – I wanted to so much ask her if she was okay and if she had someone / somewhere to go to.

However, I knew I would not be able to understand her and I did not want to cause her any more stress. On the other hand, my daughter too so I proceeded to take my daughter to the athletics club and if the lady was still there when I returned, I would then assess the situation again.

Alas, she was not there…

I can only hope she is okay and sincerely apologise for not being able to do more. For I know just how much a helping hand can seem like the light at the end of the tunnel.

helpless

My intentions were there…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Where Would It All End?

An extremely thorny subject for me to discuss however, I want to try to help warn girls out there against those who may try to use such tactics,that are basically, forms of sexual exploitation.

What I find most disturbing is that this form of sexual exploitation can occur at any age but perhaps the younger they are, the more vulnerable. However, adults are victims too, without realising it.

How many times has a person be it a friend or online asked you for a photo of yourself? This is otherwise known as ‘Sexting’. They will send you a photo of themselves, and pester you for a photo of yourself. You refuse to send one yet the pressure increases in their coercion tactics because they have sent you several and declare it is only fair you send them one in return. One fully clothed innocent photo will only give way to the next, and the next, and the next… They see their chance in this test of theirs and seize that path in exploiting you further. Where would it all end?

They ask to meet up with you, make you their best friend, their rock. Tell you they like you and make the first move, engineering a sense of love and happiness. Despite your being so guarded due to past experiences and fears of being hurt yet again– they realise this and reassure you they are not like that, tricking you into bringing down your defensive walls. They eventually enter your heart with their charms and constant attention. The intimacy is gradually geared up, making you believe it is all consensual. Any doubts are swayed by illusions and their desire to control and dominate you. They may expect favours or sex in return, without you having any immediate recognition. Except, once they are satisfied and no longer have any need for you, their true colours are shown.

Where would it all end? I ask once more. In heartbreak, of course but the worst kind ever. Weighed down even more so by the losses of confidence, appetites, faith, trust and heightened fear of people – especially those in authority. Depression, withdrawal and mood swings. Disliking shows of affection or invasions of personal space such as being hugged or touched once more, simply because they cannot handle it – it becomes too much. Loss of sleep and/or nightmares. Increasing levels of frustrations and resistance – people are kept at a distance and a degree of aggressiveness is displayed when any personal connections are attempted in order to push them further away. One may even turn to drugs, or more having had potentially their souls destroyed by being built up to mean something so special only to be trampled upon.

These are some of the warning signs associated with not just sexual exploitation and grooming but unfortunately the broader spectrum of exploitation in abuse or neglect also.

Be strong, do not be afraid to speak up or report people for their actions and the consequences of which they are responsible for. My only regret is that I let far too much time pass before I found the confidence and courage to be honest, with myself and others. I most certainly am not willing to lie or cover for any one else.

Please, keep your wits about you and guard your virtues 🙂

Time is the best medicine.
Time is the best healer.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Be Yourself.

I read this a while ago and I could not believe how true it rang so I am sharing it on, in the hope that no one else thinks they are alone in suffering too.

“There is such a thing as being too nice, too giving and too caring.

To overcome depression you must stop the habit of bending over to gain people’s approval. I know, it’s easier said than done. But no one said it’d be easy…

Those who are affected by depression tend to be people-pleasers. And yet, ironically, quite often they are viewed by others as selfish and self-centred…

For over three decades I believed in that crap myself. I believed I was selfish and self-involved. I was convinced I had nothing to offer. I also thought that it didn’t matter what I thought. That my opinion was less important than anyone else’s.

It seemed as if I was always living someone else’s life. First, I was the child who was “too young to understand things” and therefore to make decisions. My life was run by the grown ups, who weren’t able to see the serious damage caused by the primitive belief such as; “children should be seen but not heard.”

Then later, I became an young adult, clinging to any guy who’d find anything whatsoever appealing in me. At that time my looks seemed to have the only value in the eyes of others.

I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t who I am. I was a “slave” to anyone who was willing to have me in their life. The fear of rejection always steered my thoughts into the direction that led others to benefit from it more than I did.

How tiring was that! How exhausting it is having to constantly put others before your own self! And how little reward you get at the end of it…

All this, so you can keep deluding yourself that someone cares about you, at least enough to stick around. For a while, at least…. ’till they get tired of it.

Then what do you do when the inevitable happens and when they leave? You blame yourself, of course. Consciously, or subconsciously, your already low self-esteem gets reinforced. It spirals downward in a lightening speed and you get even more depressed, thinking that there is no tomorrow for you…

Well, there is. And it’s a bright one, too!

You’ve heard the phrase: “You teach people how to treat you” but you’ve ignored it so far. Maybe because when you did try to stand up for yourself it always seemed to have back fired. You might even had finally snapped and told others to fuck off, which they deserved to hear, only to find yourself being labeled as too aggressive and not “lady-like.”

Well dear, who the fuck gives a damn? Who cares what others think and, or say? Let me just remind you – it shouldn’t be you. There is only one person in this entire world whose opinion should matter to you, and that is YOU and you ONLY.

There is only one person in this entire Universe that needs your pleasing, and that person is you.

There is only one person who needs your caring the most, and yes, you’ve guessed it –  it’s you again.

Just remember this: if you care too much – others will care too little… If you remain too available – others will always remain too busy for you. Without even being apologetic about it, people will always make you wait for them, making you feel as if your time is not nearly as valuable as theirs. You get the picture…

You will encounter resistance from those around you when you start making those long-overdue changes, but that’s OK. Have fun with it. See that sense of amusement on their faces and that sense of disbelief… Stare back at them without blinking.

Be prepared to deal with the consequences of having the courage to do what’s right for you. In your mind let go of the fear of not having that job in case your boss decides to fire you. Maybe it means it’s time to do something else for a living.

Be ready to let go of your significant other if s/he continues to refuse to treat you in a new, more loving and respectful way.

Make yourself OK with being alone for now. Make yourself comfortable with being with… YOU. Get to know yourself. Find out exactly what your needs and desires are and then become unstoppable in fulfilling them! Be selfish. They’ve accused you of it so many times before, now it’s time for you to show others how selfish you can really be! Show them that you mean business… 🙂

Renounce the guilt. Let go of it. Completely. It’s time to release it.

Be your number one. Be bold. Be spontaneous. Learn to be yourself in every situation and around everyone.

This is how you start to love yourself…”

By Elzbieta Pettingill

Positivity Rules!

Life in itself is one big challenge, testing us daily to see how we fare. The results of which moulds us over time into whom we are and for some who we do not want to become. It is up to us, as and when to introspect, seeing the errors of our ways if any, to tackle and improve on these traits. It is also up to us how we deal with these daily challenges. Do we react instinctively or take a step back and contemplate? The latter is not so hard to do.

More often than not, reacting instinctively leads to destruction, sending one into a negative state of despair. Almost certainly sending you on a downwards spiral towards a quagmire, which can be a very dark place to be?

Once that point of “trying to stay afloat” is reached, be it by another’s hand or words, it is time to review the situation why, who or what got you there in the first place and nip it in the bud. Find the negativity and turn it a positive because even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

sun-rising-600x250

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

― Abraham Lincoln.

In order to get the best that we deserve, we need to give and do our best otherwise; one will get what they give. To react constructively comes, positivity in the knowledge and confidence that we have tried our best whilst remaining dignified in the face of justice. Only then, can we reflect and feel positively rewarded.

imagesE9BXUXH1

I always say, “Keep on smiling – it is free and does wonders” so take the first step in being positive by smiling. To strangers, to your friends and families – in smiling, you are instinctively changing your outlook, your moods and the glow on your face.

By smiling, you could be helping someone else – without even realising it. It takes an extremely special someone to rise above giving what he or she got, in order to be kinder on themselves and others.

You too can be this person.

Carpe diem. Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules!

Because it rocks.

Wishing each and every one of you best wishes for the new year – wherever you may be.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Stop The Online Abuse.

Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.

There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.

When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.

The World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web.

However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world-wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.

To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.

Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publicly naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.

I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.

To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!

Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).

◾Depression

◾Shame

◾Low self-esteem

◾Sadness

◾Difficulty trusting others

◾Anger

◾Anxiety

◾Frustration

◾Fear

The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.

Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.

It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.

Thank you, for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Some useful links for your reference:

Internet Safety

Bully Online

Crown Prosecution Service

Taking action about Harassment.

Harassment Act 1997

and last but not least,

I would like to applaud Dr Taylor.

Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.

I Long To Be….

There are barriers that our deafness prevents us from fulfilling certain aspects of life so I set dwellers a task to finish this sentence according to our own interpretations and dreams for in dreams are seeds planted of reality.

“I long to be….”

For in dreams are seeds planted of reality.
“For in dreams are seeds planted of reality.”

 I long to be free as a bird.

I long to be confident.

I long to be loved for being me.

I long to have stress free conversations, access to services where everyone is aware of our needs.

I long to be a performer on the stage where I warm people’s hearts and put a smile on their faces for days weeks and even years later.

I long to be able to give my daughter the best possible future without having to constantly chase education and medical professionals.

I long to work for education authorities who understand that a deaf child is not going to “get better” next year, and yes, they will need continued support.

I long to be someone who can make a difference and inspire others too.

I long to be given more access to services without having to constantly struggle with basic things like shopping, ordering food in a restaurant, or travelling.

I long to work somewhere I feel I belong, where I don’t feel socially isolated, and where colleagues are deaf aware, or willing to learn deaf awareness.

I long for access but the crafty part of me would like to continue crafty conversations where not everyone understands!

I long to be understood.

I long for a world where web live chat is a common alternative to phone calls!

I long for the day when hearing people no longer frown at me and say ‘I telephoned “Joe Bloggs” [whose deaf] yesterday but they didn’t answer the phone??!’

I long to see the technology we REALLY need to communicate (as deaf people) SPEED UP …and coming up to speed!

I long to see society take responsibility for excluding us in developments, new services, buildings etc.

I long for people to understand that Hearing Aids are great, but do not “solve” my “problem”.

I long to know if I’m meant to feel complimented or insulted when people say to me ”you’re deaf, really? Wow don’t you do well’

I long for hearing people to simply accept us as one of them.

I long to see an approved national independent governing body for all deaf issues.

I long to see people no longer dictating and undermining others.

I long to be a classroom teacher still, a job I have done for 30 years.

I long to be understood by the hearing community (of which I am part) and not have them say when I say I work with deaf people stupid things like ‘oh, you must know Braille’.

I long to read people’s minds… so I don’t have to make attempts at listening to them.

I long to be awarded a life-long exemption certificate from the hassles of having to prove I have not miraculously become hearing due to the inefficiency of the government and their services.

I long to be able to sing along with everyone else as I can hear the words of a song or even just be able to know what the song is and who the artist is.

I long for people to stop hanging up on type talk calls!!

I long to be taken seriously by all. Too often are my views brushed aside or disregarded simply because I won’t always be as confident in voicing my views as a deaf person in a mass of hearing people, and also some disregard because I am still young.

I long for labels to be dropped – at the end of the day we are all human, we all live on one planet and we all have the right to be ourselves – throw the labels away.

I long to able to occasionally be able to take back everything I’ve said, when I’ve answered a question only to find out I misheard and nothing I said makes sense in the conversation.

I long to be able to go about living my life the way I want to without having to adapt to what society insists we do!

I long to be always a Spring Chicken.

I long to open up narrow minded people to the wonderful and diverse world we are a part of as it is they who create barriers and divisions!

I long to see access rights for all the various communication needs and abilities.

I long to be accepted for the intelligent person I am.

I long to be considered as an equal and included as an equal based on justice.

I long to be listened to…..

Stronger Than Words by Al Jazeera

A part of me has always been with the people in war torn countries as well as those in the developing countries. I have seen with my own eyes just how their corrupt governments have neglected them, my heart tears with despair, seeing them all alone at the roadside having to strive just to stay alive. Those who are physically disabled were left with no or very little equipment to support them. I am not one to be easily fooled or manipulated yet these were no frauds. For several years now we have donated clothes that will help the poor, cutting out the middle man by sending several extra-large laundry bags full to relatives who would distribute them out fairly. During my last visit there, it became so much that I started to ask my husband to donate some money to them. He obliged – after all how could he say no to me?! 😉

This week is the International Week of the Deaf and Al Jazeera has made a very special film about the deaf community in Gaza. Please follow the original link to their page to watch their video about such strong and inspirational people who happen to be deaf and just happened to live in Gaza.

Stronger than words by Al Jazeera.

Alternatively for the deaf audience, here is their captioned version:

In the past I have written about the dirty war that is being waged in case you wished to read up more on the issues and history between Palestine and Israel.

Please, let us be extremely grateful for what we have today and remember those less fortunate than us.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Below is an event by Incloodu in honour of Atfaluna, for your info.