A Little Angel

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I have a memory that has since been frozen in time, which I cherish, of a remarkable little girl. Her name was Rebecca Young and she was the only girl out of what seemed like a football team of boisterous brothers. One of her brothers, Wesley, is one of several beloved childhood friends of mine – to date.

His sister, Rebecca, had piercing blue eyes, long golden hair and red lips. The very mention of “Cinderella” or “Goldilocks”, I am reminded of her with fondness. Both Wesley and his sister happened to be the only ones deaf in their family so they were exceptionally close to one another.

One day towards the end of half term whilst I was home from boarding school, she came round to play. I was quite flattered that she was willing to spend time with me, at my house – without her brother even! With an abundance of laughter, we played many mentally stimulating games like ‘Pairs’ and other puzzles. She was after all, about eight years old at the time.

Little did I know then, how grateful I would be to have shared that distinctive day with her.

Boarding school meant I was away from home and my childhood friends, against my will I hasten to add so I was in for a surprise albeit a devastating one. I had returned home for the weekend two weeks later after that unfading day with Rebecca. That Sunday evening, I was packed and ready to be taken back to school except my mum stood me in the hallway; she had something to tell me.

There had been a freak accident and we would not be able to see her any more. I was confused with swirling emotions and shock since it was only quite recently that we had a play date.

“What could have happened in that short space of time to such an innocent and sweet little girl?”  I remember pondering.

I was only about eleven back then and unfortunately, I had not been so exposed to death in an adult capacity. Reluctantly, I returned to school in a state of numbness and confusion. I very much still wanted to understand and know exactly what had happened to her.

The next time I was allowed home again for the weekend, my mum had saved the local paper for me to read. They had all been aching far too much to physically tell me what had happened. As I read the paper with such care, a lump grew in my throat thus disabling me from reacting; I finally understood why she was no longer gracing us all with the pleasure of her company.

Both Rebecca and her brother, Wesley, had gone out into the fields nearby where they lived to explore. There was a developing building site adjacent to the fields and so, their “adventure” continued there. One of the large cement tubes somehow toppled onto her, crushing her underneath. Her brother went into an indescribable state of panic and ran home to get help.  I can only imagine to an extent, his frustrations at not being able to communicate to his family what had happened to his one and only sister. She was ever so precious to them all, being the only girl.

She was rushed to hospital having been crushed by the weight of this gigantic (compared to her) cement contraption, this took the strength of a good handful of grown men (her big brothers) to move. A life-saving machine kept her under and going for a week or so but eventually, her overwhelmingly brave parents who were more than well-informed of their daughter’s extremely delicate condition, decided to let her rest in peace, on her birthday.

She may have only been little but she was larger than life itself, impressing each and every one of us, for whom she was a little angel.

Rebecca, thank you ever so for that exceedingly memorable day and for being you xx

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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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.

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“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.

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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.

A Show of Gratitude.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

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On this exceptionally memorable date, I would like to extend my annual show of gratitude to the doctors and nurses of Charing Cross Hospital who several years ago gave me the best birthday present one could ever ask for. 

A second chance to cherish life and being able to watch my beautiful children grow up of which I intend to make the most of.

I never ask for much but I would very much appreciate it if you too could show your gratitude to our NHS services, especially the Doctors and Nurses who devote and dedicate so much of their time and passion to ensure we get the best care around the clock – please could you join forces against any NHS closures and get involved?

For if Charing Cross Hospital had closed down then, I would not be around today.

And last but not least, to our beloved Tree House and its dwellers for creating such a unique place without any barriers.

It is what we all make it.

Please accept this dedicated post as a token of my gratitude for being true to yourselves.

Thank YOU, to each and every single one of you, my family and my friends – for putting up with me 😉

Carpe Diem – Everyday x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Power of Music.

Following on from a recent post of mine “A Few of My Favourite Things”, I am now able to fit snugly into my (UK) size 8 jeans due to cherishing numerous chocolate cakes and being ever so gently kissed by the sun’s warm embrace.

The other day it dawned on me that I am getting closer to the light at the end of this tunnel that I have been in for the past year. Confidence that was once lost is once again being found, the courage within me is once again strengthening all the while cherishing even more so the time shared with each and every being.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley

Music is also another favourite of mine which has been beneficial yet in order for me to heal further and move forwards; I would like to share with you, two of my favourite songs that I signed along especially to, for after silence, sign language is also the nearest next to music that makes one able to express themselves fluidly as actions speak louder than words.

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius

“Can’t help falling in Love” by UB40

“Baby, can I hold you tonight?” by Tracy Chapman.

“The earth has music for those who listen” – Shakespeare.

There is music, in each and everything if you know where to look and/or listen. One of my favourite kinds of music has to be within Mother Nature. For example watching the blowing leaves or the long green grass swaying along, dancing gently in the wind. Naturally a truly calming experience.

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk besides me and be my friend.” – Albert Camus

Might I add, as equals.

On that note, to all those “friends” who taught me who/what not to be and to those new found friends of whom lately have become so dear to me, not to forget our followers too – for you have all unknowingly been supporting me along this road to recovery, in order to be me again. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Tree House, for being there. Thank you, more than you realise – for saving me. I will be there for you too.

Positivity rules! All because that is how we roll.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

P.S. if you cannot find me, it is because I am hiding away due to sharing my videos! (That I made that summer)

Will My Child Be Okay?

As any mother would naturally anticipate and share the same relative concerns of “Will my child be okay?” Yet when it comes to that precise moment upon finding out a child may have a form of a challenging disability, we all take a moment to reflect on it.

One rather anxious mother’s question of the like was asked of Coordown when it was confirmed after agreeing to undergo tests for Down’s Syndrome; her unborn baby would have this genetic condition.

Here is an extremely heart-warming video response they (15 people from around the World) made for her which I am sure gave her goose pimples as it did me and I shall take my hat off to Coordown Group for one of the most reassuring letters.

Enjoy…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

“Happy” Days!

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.

– SJ.