Weathering Storms.

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We have and we are all weathering storms of our own, throughout our lives, and there will always be more to come. Regardless of its causes.

One may feel more weathered than another.
They may allow themselves to be more stressed by their memories, thoughts and feelings, than by the “stresses” around them. Internalising the storm from within.
Whilst another appears, able to shrug it all off. Things are not always what they seem.

One may choose to be an open book, whilst another, may choose to remain closed.
It does not mean, another suffered, will suffer or is suffering, less.
Yet, one sometimes chooses to borrow tomorrow’s troubles, potentially reliving the stress – two-fold. Each to their own.

Beings will cope differently to one another, whilst one will cope as best as they can, some, the only way they may know how. Some, needing guidance.

One person may retreat whilst another will be in awe of all those around them, for managing to shine on having been and being, in storms of their own.

One may experience a storm in a teacup whilst another may experience it as an overbearing storm on their horizon. 

Every being and situation is different, naturally, coping mechanisms will differ.

What with face masks and face coverings being made mandatory, the isolation, the anxieties and the barriers we as a deaf community are feeling, will face daily. we are ALL in this, dealing with this, as one. The best we can. We will all be able to relate and empathise with one another.

Be proactive, not reactive. It is down to education – there will be situations due to ignorance, arrogance, lack of deaf awareness and presumptions as to why someone is not wearing a mask. Remain kind, remain patient and educate.

I’ve had an elderly guy who was wearing a face mask, laugh at me when I explained I couldn’t understand him since I couldn’t lip read him. I chose to let his immaturity pass, and not react at all. Sure, it bothered me a little at the time but I refuse to let it, or anything trivial, consume and/or dictate me and relatively, imprison me. We cannot stop the waves but we can learn to surf. 

If anyone feels alone, be it as a result of the sea of emotionless, faceless masks or otherwise, please DO REACH OUT, for those who are able to, will be there.

💖

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Mask Exemptions.

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People who happen to be deaf, are naturally wondering if this means deaf people are exempt from wearing masks but we all need to remember that invisible disabilities exists and anyone not able to be mindful of that is more than likely to make presumptions about why one isn’t wearing a mask and perhaps, make their feelings known.

I was watching BBC news last night as it tends to send me off to sleep nicely but for the first time, I noticed I could not lip read any one that was being interviewed – at all. They were ALL wearing masks.

Extremely uncomfortable viewing, never mind mingling amongst mask wearers.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Moan & Groan.

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There was a time when I was an admin for a pro BSL social media group, this group was known to the MP’s at Westminster as where the moaners and groaners go, its members sharing their experiences, barriers faced within the deaf community, for example, no interpreter being provided and so on. Quite rightly so. Their shared experiences was being gathered as evidence for a BSL Act campaign. I enjoyed being an admin for this particular group at the time because it helped empower those to start standing up and asking for their rights. Myself included.

During the current Coronavirus pandemic, the deaf community has once again started another (#whereistheinterpreter) campaign, pointing out the “lack” of an interpreter, but demanding one is *physically* in the same room as the Prime Minister or a couple of their advisors whenever a news broadcast or briefing is made. It is somehow no longer enough to have an in-vision interpreter provided… Therefore one was and is still being provided, regardless of who is paying their wages or contracting them to provide this accessible and inclusive service. The Government replied to the campaign by suggesting it was and is due to social distancing. Based on this, Wales, Scotland and other countries are apparently therefore endangering the interpreter who is in the same enclosed room as their VIP’s? Open to interpretation, whichever way one wishes to look at it.

In vision BSL interpreter
Double protection

Except now, there are those from the hearing world who are moaning about the in-vision interpreter getting into the way of any visual charts on the news etc etc. This is nothing new by the way. Even subtitles / captions get in the way on the news and other films, programmes being broadcast.

Except now, once again, there are deaf people moaning about the hearing people, moaning… Even lowering themselves to that level and recruiting others to contribute. Is that not bullying? A mob culture? It is.

Whereas before, it would have all blown over, been tolerated by the majority and hey, tomorrow’s a new day.

It is extremely easy during uncertain times like the present, to permit ourselves, regardless of whether we happen to be deaf or hearing, to get carried away with our frustrations, focusing on and displacing negative energy,, somehow following the (m)asses once again. 

Stop letting any toxic divisions get in the way, creating higher barriers for both or either worlds to break down. Surely, people have better things to do than witness moaning in any sense or contribute to it?

Refocus people… reprioritise, tolerate and compromise. Show kindness – regardless.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Mask Warriors.

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Photos by SJ

I had to go into the local pharmacy this morning to pick up a prescription for my daughter, the staff were all wearing face masks.

Talking at me….

I’m patiently letting them know I’m not able to understand them as I am profoundly deaf and I cannot lip read them with their masks on.

They started pointing away here and there, still talking at me, I’m close to walking out but my daughter needs this prescription.

Someone gave me a pen and paper, I write down what I’m there for and who it’s for. Hand the pen and paper back… Prescription is found and she returns, trying to talk at me again.
I’m close to feeling emotional, anxious and once again I patiently remind her that I can’t hear her or lip read her because of her mask, or any of the mask wearing staff within that shop.

She realised and finally empathised, lowered her mask and spoke to me with a smile in her eyes.

What a world of difference that made. 😏

I had to go to the bank last week to sort an issue out, the staff in there were wearing those transparent facial shields – it may have been surreal still but it was certainly a lot more “friendly” and we could still easily communicate. I’d pick that over a face mask, any day.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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)

The BBC License Fee.

That same old drum is being banged upon once more.

Deaf people always seem to resent having to pay the full license fee to the BBC, just because the blind get a concession and they do not. In the old days, I might have agreed as there was evidently a real lack of captions and hardly any in-vision signers. Nowadays, the accessibility is there. And then some.

My father went through the very same motions a few years back, which my experience with, has prompted this post.

Petition

Any petition, past, present or to come, to reduce the BBC licensing fee on grounds of being deaf (regardless of how severe it is) and that programmes are inaccessible will fail. Without a doubt.

It does not matter if you do not watch the BBC even if it’s out of protest. If you watch or listen to any of the other channels or even access them online over devices, this is prescisley what the fee covers. That space. The fee is basically a tax, so you can watch or access any channels over the air space that is owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Better known as, the BBC.

It is extremely hard, to keep deaf people happy, especially if they love anything that’s free.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Deaf Way.

There are particular people out there who anticipate a post from me each time an issue arises in the mainstream news or on social media concerning the deaf. This one is especially for you. Mwah.

There will always be people who will never be satisfied, regardless of who or what they happen to be yet others overjoyed with a simple balloon. There will always be people who think they are above others whilst others remain humble. There will always be people who are striving for change, some for better yet some, for attention. There will always be people who think of only themselves whilst others choose to be selfless. There will always be those who suffer from paranoia and others will not give a shit…. There will always….. There will always… There will always…

There will always be a balance.

Someone once upon a time caused an outrage when they decided that Justin Fletcher of CBeebies’ ‘Sometthing Special’ was signing “Fuck” when he was actually signing “Happy”. As a native BSL sign language user, the signs for “Fuck’ and ‘Happy’ are not even that close and it was clear as day, then and now, that he was and is signing “Happy”. The “Happy” sign has since sadly, evolved within Makaton as a result of someone’s bitter ‘misconceptions’. Makaton is derived from Britain Sign Language, both of which are man-made and is still a beautiful language regardless, a form of communication (tool) for those who rely on it. Respect it.

Whilst Sally Reynolds has decided to take Little Mix’s promoter to Court, many other deaf people do not and will not have the same level of access to legal services as she is able to. She is not the first to spit her dummy nor will she be the last. It is apparently, the deaf way.

One might say deaf people are in receipt of benefits to help pay for interpreters or in other words, access, where and when needed – IF any cannot be provided. There are events which will provide equality in the form of accessible inclusion as and when available, even when (politely) asked. If you consciously choose an event outside of any accessible given dates, why would you knowingly attend, enjoy it to an extent and then sue?

I hope people will feel encouraged in the meantime to patiently request, for their needs to be met regardless of what their needs and abilities may be. To continue having their right to choose. Just, do not take the piss by pushing your luck.

How you go about making a stand automatically reflects upon your community, for example, the deaf community as a whole. Not every deaf, deafened or hard of hearing member of the community can use or know BSL. Most do and will be able to use subtitles on TV and at the cinema so are able to make use of Captions at events where and when made available. Sign language interpreters be it in-vision or live is considered to be an added bonus, especially for the minority within the minority – who cannot get by in their everyday lives without sign language. My father is one of them and yet, he was born hearing.

While all our spots may never change, physically our bodies will. Let us all stop taking life for granted and help us, to help you, make a change. For a better and more inclusive place? God knows generations before us have tried, today’s are tying, should tomorrow’s continue our battles too? Until then, history will keep on repeating itself, deaf, (dis)abled or hearing.

This is one broken record.

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The ball is in, YOUR court.

Last but not least, I am choosing not to focus on the deaf world anymore because it is at a cost to me to keep on being passionate about deaf issues, of which keeps falling on deaf(ened) ears. Literally even. I have gone above and beyond in several instances only to be accused of seeking recognition by those whose noses were put out of joint. All because, I choose to tell things as they truthfully are. Accusing me, was and is, a sign of your/their weakness(es). I have now, much more important beings to focus on, I will however, continue to post as and when I wish to do so.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Deafness Blues

Challenges ahead

I was reminded today just how hard it can be, to be deaf.
An ATM was hungry and gobbled my bank card – not that anything was wrong with my card or account. Stupid (Link) machine played up. Arse.
Panicked a little as I had both X & X with me. I looked at Y in despair and said “My card is gone.” He also knew it was the machine and not my card cos I’m good that way 😜
Banks were closed… tried calling a number via my phone but I’d no credit. I’ve the minutes!! But not credit to call their rates… my money was in the bank. My card was in the machine.
Double arse!
Y’s luckily has dual SIM cards so he could use one of them to call the emergency line with.
Braced for hassles because he was speaking on my behalf.
“I need her to speak on the phone”
“She’s deaf, she cannot hear on the phone.”
Five mins later, I was asked to say my DOB into thin air, phone next to my lips.
How surreal.
Then my address.
Spoke to the ghost again and pushed away the phone. How uncomfortable that was yet it had to be done.
Bearing fraud in mind, card was stopped and a new card ordered.
X looked at me the n amazement, “What if you couldn’t speak clearly enough?!”
A night of despair and undue stress would have been the order of the day otherwise.
Gratitude overcame me and thanked Y for his help.
How frustrating.
For us all.

Treble arse.

~ SJ Sara Jae)

Update: There is no need to use Signvideo (which is only available with several banks) or Typetalk because downloading a mobile banking app will do the job. And then some.