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)

Define CODA.

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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 and children are 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.

Only natural.

But, what about deaf children of deaf adults, or hearing adults? Whichever way the situation is reversed, there is and always be 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? Granted, if the counsellor is deaf aware and appropriately qualified, they may be able to connect better but is this necessary when the client/CODA themselves happen to be hearing? Having a deaf aware & experienced professional, who is qualified at an interpreting level also, means the client is free from any prejudice but this works best when the client themselves is deaf.

People should always retain the right to choose which counselling service they would prefer and most will advocate for 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.

An example. 

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 do understand. My sister understands. My children understand. My friends, also understand. You (will) understand.

🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Hasta La Vista!

say goodbye

Only quite recently, I was made aware of some genuine concerns that some of my friends had, which were complaints that certain people and charities are associating themselves with those who bullied me and others in the past.

The miscreants back then forced our mutual friends to pick sides, theirs or mine. (I have since kept the evidence and there are witnesses!) However, I would never dream of imposing such a predicament upon someone else who had done absolutely nothing wrong.

What rights does anyone have to unleash his or her negativity unto innocent bystanders? This only proves their fears of losing face and letting paranoia take over. What made it permissible for them to put innocent people in such an awkward and unfair position? One considers it as another form of bullying and it is people like them, who need a good slap for their triviality.

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I advised my concerned friends to have their voices heard and to speak the truth but they are too afraid of being identified and singled out in retaliation.

Rather unfortunately, this is what the deaf world is like and because of all the disregard others have unto ourselves by toying with us as if we were pawns in agendas of theirs, I no longer want any part of it. Especially for as long as they are around continuing to manipulate people with their lies, distorting / obscuring the truth and using / manipulating people for their own gains.

I no longer use social media for obvious reasons so I can only advise and wish those unsuspecting associates well, in the hope they will soon realise and learn from the errors of their ways. That they will not lose any interest or subscribers since people are getting rather sick of seeing the bullies being thrust in their faces continuously. This only goes to show how disgusted they are, with the treatment and childish behaviour towards themselves, and me in the past.

The deaf world is fast becoming much too small for some people’s liking so it is inevitable that it is a case of, “Hasta la vista” for some of us but…

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In a very camp manner, I would like to embrace the hearing world with open arms and excitedly exclaim “Hiya!” and re-settle once again into a much more hospitable, amicable and respectable place.

hey

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Somewhere Over The Rainbow…

Somewhere over the rainbow...
Somewhere over the rainbow…

Hold your horses!

‘Tis not the Wizard of Oz version but this one from an awesome movie called “Face Off”. I still remember the very first time I laid eyes on this film, a particular scene has stayed with me since then because….

In my experience, being deaf in a hearing world can be such a cacophony of experiences, which can make it a most chaotic place to mingle, so much so that I tend to find myself wanting to tune out, recoiling into a world of my own. Some may say for one’s own sanity and protection, a chance to cease what mental fight there may be. A moment’s retreat is I suspect, what aids me in retaining a calm composure thus enabling me to think with more clarity whilst observing such a discordance of unrest and triviality.

Deaf people are oftentimes overwhelmed with what I term visual “white noise” the very moment we leave the protection of our homes, such as strangers’ faces distorting in order to express and enunciate. In going about their hasty routines, people appear to be clamouring. The meaningless bass sounds of congestion produced by the ongoing traffic. The wayward sounds of any tempestuous weather is lost and therefore, in vain. All of which, are seen and felt but not heard.

Meanwhile there are those of us who may be able to associate sounds with said actions, perhaps from memory or facilitated by hearing aids but silence otherwise, is at times golden, by giving us some respite from the full extent and purposes of sounds.

Yet being able to hear and appreciate music is quite something else to cherish hence, another reason why, I love this scene so albeit from differing perspectives.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Written to conclude my “Silence is Golden” article. 🙂

Surfers Paradise

I would like to seize the day and contemplate out-loud whether there is a justified fairness in the eligibility rules for a freedom pass, regarding those with varying degrees of hearing loss.

Except, what I am about to say regarding Cochlear Implant users may offend them and if that turns out to be the case, I sincerely apologise in advance, for being honest.

Those with a profound or severe hearing loss (like myself) cannot hear very well at all, with or without any hearing aids, are eligible for what Londoners call a “Freedom Pass”; this is a travel permit scheme which allows the named holder to “surf” London using the public transport system.

However, there are those who are categorized as having a mild form of hearing loss and if their range of loss does not meet, the minimum required – they are deemed ineligible for a freedom pass. One can work out the reasoning behind that since they may have enough residual hearing to, sort of, ‘get by’ without any hearing aids yet whilst supported by hearing aids they could be, almost, on a par to a hearing person. Nevertheless, the stress of travelling remains albeit for almost all of us since whatever announcements are broadcasted, not even hearing people can comprehend.

Moving onto (successful) cochlear implants users – A CI is considered the most superior hearing aid of all; this will enable the user to hear extremely well and ever so clearly, once again, more or less being on a par to a hearing person.

Why then, do those who are not eligible, have to miss out on the benefits of a freedom pass when there are CI users who can potentially hear better than them, remain eligible for a freedom pass? Go figure…

Inevitably, there will be those who throw their arms up into the air in protest, demanding the same level of benefits since they feel, they too should not have to pay to use the public transport system.

Above all, an unfortunate fact remains. That almost each (if not all) Travel Concessionary Department(s) has not acquired the necessary experience or relevant qualifications, in order to assist them adequately with reading audiograms or differentiating between the pros and cons. This inexperience does not help them or us, at all, so how can they truly appreciate the injustice that exits, in their rules of eligibility.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Rant Over 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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)