'“Based on first impressions, you would probably think I am a bitch. I often ignore people who are speaking to me. Not on purpose, you see, but because I didn’t hear you. What’s more painful? Asking “what?” over and over and having you repeat yourself? Or me admitting over and over to you that I’m partially deaf? I would feel myself dying inside with each interaction. I sometimes dread social outings, not because I’m an introvert, not because I don’t like people, but because the effort to listen is absolutely exhausting. The effort it takes to grasp the words before they get lost while trying to find my ears. I smile. I’m lost and confused, but I still smile. “If it’s important enough, it will eventually make its way back to me,” or so I tell myself. I was born with hearing loss; It runs in my family. Funnily, I didn’t find out till I got into high school and didn’t get hearing aids till college... and still then I only wore them when I “needed” them. Which was all the time but the humiliation of being so young and wearing hearing aids was just too overwhelming. My ears were too small for the internal aids so my only option was the ones that go behind the ears. The very visible ones. I didn’t want to be different. “Only OLD people wear hearing aids” I would tell myself. Old people and me. It’s hard for hearing people to relate to the non-hearing world. People assume that hearing aids magically make hearing perfect. “Can’t you just turn them up?” I hold back tears and reply “Can’t you just speak up?”
I used to often daydream about what doors would open for me if only I could hear the world. I used to let my hearing hold me back from doing things in life that I thought one could only do with perfect hearing: joining the army, becoming a nurse, a teacher, anything in a public setting. I’ve let my hearing loss be the stop sign for many of my dreams and aspirations.
At some point, I made the decision to not let my hearing loss define me as a person and instead accept it as a part of me and my journey, taking away its power to hold me back. I no longer wait to HEAR opportunities that are available to me, I create them. I’m now a yoga instructor and I truly feel that it was my calling all this time. In hindsight, maybe a more silent world allowed me to more easily tap into that quiet, spiritual center that helps me be a really good instructor, and in turn helps me lead others to that place. So many people need help blocking out the noise that I used to pray to hear. The most beautiful things in life aren’t meant to be seen or heard but felt by the heart. I choose to let love guide me, to take action from the heart and to share kindness with all beings, because on some level we are all dealing with some kind of struggle in life.
Love trumps noise. “
About the Chronically Beautiful Project
Chronically Beautiful is a project I started in 2018 as I battled my own illnesses. It is my hope that this project shed light on the diseases that change our lives and that it will help change misconceptions about being chronically ill and or living with disabilities . Additionally I hope to inspire those facing health challenges to live their best life.
If you would like to participate in this project please submit your story to me first by emailing me at email@example.com
Note... You do not need to have a visible illness or disability to participate. I want to share people's stories with all illnesses and disabilities.