Yes, You.

This is in response to a select few friends who picked up on the BBC article “Using Facebook made my anxiety worse” with Paul Allen, written by Zara Morgan.

Source.

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I saw very early on how certain people would only show us, what they wanted us to see. How people used and still use, social media as a tool, to manipulate and engineer illusions. Negativity I could sometimes let pass but not when it gave cause for concern and having been able to be there for others gave me reason to remain. I know how and what some of you are experiencing… for I do see YOU. 💖

YOU have been the only reason why, I am still on social media. Sure, I have my own frustrations and my own ghosts to deal with but they’re mine and not anyone else’s to bear. I find myself having to sit on my hands sometimes, bite my lips whenever I witness one of the many forms of injustice… Sometimes I just cannot resist! 😝 I dislike being a bystander to it, for fear of inviting it. Some people find me intimidating but that’s their problem. Some people choose to ignore me, that’s once again their problem. Some people choose to be angry… let them waste their time being so. They and my ghosts should not, and do not, dictate me or my precious time. Don’t let them dictate yours.

I choose to focus on my kids because who knows where we will be, this time tomorrow. It is only those who have knocked on deaths door who understands where I truly come from, only those who have personally experienced the quagmires of depression who can relate. Why I am, who I am.

Everyone is different and are at different stages in their lives. How you choose to proceed or react, is up to YOU entirely. Let nothing influence or manipulate YOU.

If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. God willing.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Age Old Attitudes Still Prevails

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A couple of years ago, my daughter kept asking a good friend of hers to come round after school. Her school friend desperately wanted to come but it soon transpired she was not allowed to. This disappointed my daughter greatly so. Upon enquiringly why her friend was not allowed to come, it transpired that her parents thought I was incapable of looking after her, “It’s dangerous” – simply because, of my deafness.

I could not believe my eyes at the time, what I was lip-reading…

After disclosing it to close friends and seeing their reactions, none of which was very constructive, I decided my best option was to contact the parent support advisor from the school and explain how unfair it was, that such an attitude was preventing two good friends from some quality time together, outside of school. I received a prompt yet agreeable response – they obviously educated the mother as her daughter was eventually permitted to come round.

Two years on, except this time her mother cannot pick her up so she subsequently asked me to drop her off home. I was happy to do so and agreed, “Fine!…” She paused and sensing her bout of contemplative hesitation, I decided to smile to put her at ease.

She turned to my daughter and told her, “Get your dad to bring her home…”

Hmmm, I did not know what to think or feel but to let it be. At least, the girls were happy… Slowly but surely, it is at least an improvement on the age old attitude, two years before.

Even though her home is within walking distance, there is no danger whatsoever.

Yes, deaf people can drive (shock horror!). I once had a friend who had no choice but be driven home by my (deaf) mother. He was rather nervous at that. Come to think of it, my mother also smiled….

Is smiling potentially dangerous?! Perhaps, one needs certifying? After all, smiling does seem to bring trouble 😉

Nah, I think I shall keep on smiling, all because it is free and does wonders.

Patience will prevail over such attitudes.

~SJ (Sara Jae)

Keep Calm And Yield

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I encountered today yet another degree of selfishness. I cannot fathom how people seem to believe they have right of way on what is surely, a shared public pavement…

My daughter and I were waiting to meet someone and I decided to put a piece of scrap paper from my coat pocket into a bin, which we made our way towards. Job done, checked that my daughter was okay yet this old lady decided to have a right go at me some fifteen seconds later.

“Did you not hear me walking behind you – you just walked right across my path”.

Cue one jaw dropping moment.

“I’m sorry, I was just putting some rubbish into the bin”  I answered, feeling rather astonished…I really did not see any one else in the immediate vicinity except at the bus stop otherwise I would have yielded. Giving is better than taking, is it not?

She completely snubbed me and proceeded to the bus stop where she continued to moan about me right in front of my very eyes to innocent bystanders. I could not swallow how impudent she dared to be. I decided not to permit her to be so spiteful so calmly walked over to her; reminding her that I was putting something into the bin. Should I have thrown rubbish onto the ground instead? She looked surprised to see me standing my ground to an elder like herself, who are usually extremely set in their ways, who in addition had the audacity to brush me aside, waving me away.

An innocent bystander realised I was deaf and informed her of my predicament, hence why I did not hear her. Besides, she was only petite, not some stomping great giant. Bless this bystander and her cottons.

Upon seeing how she waved me away as if I were some pauper, I decided to give her one last injection of my feistiness, “You may think I am the one being rude when it is actually you, who is being so rude.” Relatively shortly after, I decided to remove my daughter away from such a display of insolence. From a short distance, we could still see her grumbling away, glancing back at us, trying to involve surrounding onlookers, which was saddening to see. My patience was being tested once more.

She expected attention under notions of grandeur and quite possibly she would have gone on to whine about me to everyone else she spoke to except they would not know the whole truth or my side of the story and this is what infuriates me so much.

Just because one may live in an area of affluence or have money, it does not give anyone the authority to be so arrogant and aloof. I sincerely hope she will think twice in future before passing any more crass remarks – not everyone will be as understanding. Caring for elderly people in the past has helped me to determine that for some of them, they know how well to manipulate situations into their favour due to their life experiences.

If I can give someone who happened to be a police detective, a piece of my mind with the greatest of respect for valid reasons, no one else gets treated any differently just because of who they may be, where they may come from or who they may know since it is all irrelevant. No one is all that.

A fact – arrogance renders people ignorant.

“An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with the person’s main task in life – becoming a better person.” – Leo Tolstoy.

Keep calm and yield – within reason. For the giving (upper) hand is better than the taking (lower) hand.

Be a lover, not a fighter. 😉

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

There’s No Place Like Home…

Oftentimes, I wonder where one’s home is because I have questioned myself if somewhere can really be ‘home’? As I was sent away to boarding school, ten going onto eleven years old, I lost that vital ‘homely’ and ‘family’ sense. Moreover, I do not really like to complain because…

Some people or children I dread to think do not even have a home. People here in the UK and elsewhere can be so ungrateful and inexplicably arrogant; they have a roof over their heads and free medical care. They concern themselves with having the best garment or the latest gadget when an older child overseas could be going without food for days at a time so their younger sibling does not – Their parents having passed away. It is children like them who you need to pay your respects to and be mindful of, not some sociopath looking to gain popularity to feed their ego and vanity.

Unfortunately, there is a level of such hypocrisy and ignorance amongst us also. There was a Polish family in the Valley and so there happened to be an Afghanistan family too. I scanned around me to gauge people’s reactions as I sensed an interesting moment. Most were happy to respect one another’s personal space and continue as they were yet the Polish adults clearly from their body language, facial expressions and directional glances did not want this Afghanistan family sharing the same albeit very public playground as their children or their space. One of them even tried his luck to take a photo of the women as they were in their full gear. He pretended he was looking at the menu on his camera but then he felt braver and so the camera was lifted higher and higher until he felt confident enough to brazenly photograph them.

I felt fury seething away at me yet my husband held me back from standing in front of his camera to obscure any further potential frames and to prevent him from being so disrespectful – making a point of his/their attitudes. How dare they take photos of another family and be racist about them when they are immigrants themselves?! The bloody cheek of them.

Once, someone from the very same vicinity told my husband, my children and I to go back where we came from… If only they knew that, I came from down the road to them. There was no way my family and I was going to keep quiet about these bullies so we complained to the local councillor and several others who at their next residents meeting had their voices heard on our behalf. They were rather embarrassed and somewhat apologised.

Many also tend to have one rule for themselves and another. I knew someone who did not want anything to do with anyone who was in a negative state of mind yet he did not practise what he preached “Be kind always for you never know what that person is going through”… What another hypocrite.

One of the things about being deaf is being able to relate to how a foreigner is made to feel, since we are made to feel like outcasts also. Social cleansing happens much more than people realise.

The difference between the people of the North and the south of England is clearly diversity and tolerance. In London, anything goes – everyone is different and easily tolerated whereas in the North, most people are spoilt and do not like change.

Nevertheless, I have come to sense a certain emotion being ‘at home’ in the North East of Yorkshire. Being out in the wide open, the rolling moors, and the golden beaches of which is the surfers’ paradise. Up above are birds cherishing their flight and the wind beneath their wings. Bags of Cinder Toffee testing the strength of one’s delicate teeth. The mouth-watering aroma of the traditional fish and chips, especially in Whitby… Forget Parmesan! Discovering an abundance of fossils here and there. My childhood becoming my children’s’.

The glistening in the sunlight and the relative unique sounds of the seashore reminds me how it feels to be at peace, to be in awe of Mother Nature and its designs. Trivial issues be it political or personal and wealth turn ever more meaningless. The meaning of Life is clear.

However, Italy and North Africa is also in my blood so it is only natural that I feel a certain connection to these places and their cultures. Ever since I was a child growing up in the UK, I have never felt at home or accepted, not even, for who I am. How could I ever feel “at home” amongst all the conflicting angst being imposed upon myself?

As the delight in my children’s faces matches that in my heart, I know that as long as we have one another, I determine that I will be ‘home’… For ‘home’ is where my heart is.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Ignorance is bliss. Not.

There is a story that I keep being reminded more frequently of these days due to the lack of deaf awareness and/or hearing aids being provided within the developing countries. I am finding myself becoming more frustrated due to the increasing volume of news in the media of a certain nature from overseas such as the killing of deaf, unarmed Iraqi teens and a deaf man being beaten by cops. They are sadly not the only ones which goes to show how societies urgently need to adapt. The sooner, the better.

A most kind and very patient lady once told me a story about a time when she was a little girl. She had heard on the news a situation about a man crossing a border in another land. The guards had been calling and shouting for him as he crossed the border. Unfortunately they were not acknowledged and he kept on walking. They relatively assumed that this man was posing a threat and was intentionally ignoring them. Hence deciding to shoot him – in the back. For fear that he was intending to carry out terrorist acts. It was only afterwards when they found out he was actually deaf but by then it was too late. For this innocent man who had been killed. This instance left such a mark on her memory and affected her enough to learn about deafness that she felt was a calling to her, to become a teacher for the deaf.

A quote by Mahatma Ghandi.
A quote by Mahatma Ghandi.

And I am extremely honoured, to have been taught by her.

There are charities such as SoundSeekers who are dedicated to helping deaf and hearing-impaired people, especially children, in the developing world. They develop and support projects that improve access to education, lessen the impact of hearing loss and raise awareness of deaf people’s abilities and needs. I admire them for their dedication and in turn, am being inspired by them to start fundraising for those in dire need of our assistance.

Here in the United Kingdom, we are extremely lucky to have the equipment and services readily available to access which sometimes may be somewhat delayed. Some people may believe that “charity begins at home” but they understandably believe that only due to not being informed that there are a quite a few charities already operating here – campaigning for these changes nationally. In order for us to make more of a difference in developing countries and help those who do not have any resources at all, it would be far more beneficial to them, if we could help those who are missing out even more so as most deaf people outside of Europe struggle to access even basic needs and are extremely isolated. In addition helping deaf people abroad gives deaf people within the UK & abroad, real life work (and cultural) experiences.

Watch this space! (Ta da!)

The next time you call someone from behind them or beep a horn at them and they don’t turn around in response – please…. spare a moment to consider that the person in front of you, may be deaf. Thank you.

This post, I would like dedicate to Suzanne. For listening to her calling and for making such a huge difference to deaf students lives – more than she realises.  Thank you – ever so. For being my teacher and for being you. (not to forget for putting up with my/our mischievousness too!)

~ SJ (Sara Jae)