I wrote this for a online magazine publication but never heard back. So posting here.
Hi my name is Sharon and I’m a 45 year old Australian woman. Based in Ballarat Victoria. I am a single mother of 6 children, 5 on earth and 1 in heaven. Three currently live with me at this time.
I am severely hearing impaired and receive a disability pension. I don’t currently work.
My hearing was fine till I was in my 20’s and had children. It has continued to decline ever since.
I enjoy writing, art journaling, mixed media and I have a blog I update fairly regularly.
I have been busy raising a family but now that they are growing older I have much more time to devote to developing my own interests. Latest writing venture was Heart Recycle 101! This is the first time ever for me to seek my writing to be published!
Writing is my authentic voice. Finally free I stretch my wings and fly!
I’m almost deaf and there’s good reason deafness is linked to being dumb. I can’t communicate in the world normally and it silences me. Modern technology helps but only if you can use it. If you still struggle aside from what is the norm your on your own.
People are sympathetic at first and give lots of suggestions. Even try to help me fit in. I begin to take the defense though when people just see the disability and start giving advice or don’t accept the way I face it. I absolutely hate when instead of stopping to ask me about life in general I’m told how best to live it.
This is how it goes.
‘Aunt Mary is deaf but she does this..’ Or ‘Uncle Frank is deaf I will text you his phone number!’
I’m not Aunt Mary or desire to speak to Uncle Frank. I’m not in your space to be fixed! I just want connection between us.
When people can’t get through to me they can give up and I’m left feeling rejected.
If you get frustrated with me imagine how I feel?
What works is paper and pen, text messages and Internet! I don’t miss anything and I’m not disabled! Unfortunately most people prefer face to face. Straight away a barrier goes up. Every person who rejects technology means an ever widening social gap. Strangely some don’t see online as real and for all the instant-ness you can be left waiting on replies. It’s disheartening to read technology is anti-social because it’s my word and I can be fully myself here. Therefore an open door becomes a barred gateway to many meaningful relationships.
I can be standing face to face with you and still not understand what you are saying. I can be in a room full of people and I do not know what topics are currently being discussed. It’s strange to be surrounded by people but your disconnected it’s like your in another world!
What kind of life is that?
I just decided one day ‘being physically present’ wasn’t working and stepped away.
People judge. Think I’m rude. Label me depressed without even stopping to ask why I’m not around.
I’m just frustrated!
It has meant isolation, being misunderstood and like a book hidden away on a shelf. Story unread, forgotten and gathering dust. I can understand people seeing the closed for business sign I put up and backing off. It’s just not many came looking for the reopening..
Regular blogging is one way my heart channel remains active and present. I also post my life journey on face book which isn’t always popular because many are private and want you to stay that way too. People get very uncomfortable reading about my life with it’s highs and lows. Thankfully internet like TV it’s your choice if you subscribe or follow along.
Unfortunately people have said to me that I should not seek attention or expect it by continually putting myself out there. Ironically they outwardly communicate with speech to another person I just do the same online with writing and art!
Where would I be if I stopped?
As my life has grounded to a halt there has appeared less interest in what I’m saying. Diminishing audience, losing friendships and many times my most personal sharing via my blog has had no recognition at all.
I’ve had to be stubbornly persistent and a voice that’s needed to be louder. A deeper purpose churning away within my DNA to keep putting my heart out there.
Certainly this unresponsiveness and people turning away grounds you. I’ve had to keep searching for inspiration to press on. ‘No man is an island’ quoted by John Donne and I have to agree. Humans thrive best with support and encouragement.
Of course deafness isn’t the only darkness I’ve faced. In 1984 my 5 year old sister drowned at a family picnic. 1997 I lost a 2 month old baby boy. 2009 my marriage split. Recent times it’s been a struggle with a teenager facing mental health challenges.
All these things combined have worked to gag me. The less I say, the less I flow and the more I grind to a halt. Bit by bit I’ve almost lost the ability to express myself at all. No wonder I am awkward at times!
Before the dark times I used to spend hours telling whomever would listen the things on my heart and sharing encouragement because I needed it too. But I’ve lost confidence and its gotten harder to find people I’m comfortable baring my soul. It’s crippled me. Plunged me into oblivion but I’m still walking about above ground.
I was raised in Christian faith since I was a child. But when this whole shutting down began religion fell way too short. I didn’t only step out of the world I knew and was known in. I stopped attending the church building too.
The isolation though it separates me from “life as most know it” has brought about a strange rebirth. My spirit has survived and I’ve kept talking to God and a few loyal online friends. If my physical presence has been absent my spirit has still been humming within and when barriers go up you have to reroute to survive.
Change initially sprang from this cocooning period. I realise that even in the deepest depths of darkness I have not been utterly extinguished. That’s miraculous if you think about it. I am alive inside despite it all. I did not give up. I can see this strength in me that defies logic. How I’ve kept going and it gives me so much hope.
God spoke to me when I was doing dishes one day many years ago, a voice in my heart saying. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” I recognised it as a bible verse I knew but at the time and ever since it has brought much comfort to my soul especially when I feel alone.
It is enough. I believe Him. I feel loved and at peace even for where I have failed and others have failed me and it’s ok. I don’t need to go anywhere special or be this or that. He is with me where I am and how I am!
I testify that even in the most soul crushing place you find yourself.
The light shines in you even if it feels only the tiniest spark.
Jesus Christ says He with us and is the light of the world and has overcome darkness, death, human failure and anything that holds us down.
He is the door to life abundant and the way ahead is opened to us.
But you cannot go back to the way that you once lived or even that everyone else lives.
You need a different mindset
Living from your awakening spirit.
Where I have been unable to confidently communicate. I find that my soul expressing itself rebelliously and fearlessly is a kick-ass way to shine my light out in the world again. At this time online mostly because it is where I’m least inhibited. Slowly and surely I have been learning new skills and created a bit of art here and there which I’ve passed on to others. What a good feeling that is!
I share a poem below.
My Spirit rises up today and meets with your Spirit.
Peace be to you this day.
Artistic voice birthed from salty tears of persistence.
Stubborn defiance of faded and vanquished dreams.
Delusion has channelled attention onto a spark of light within.
Knowledge of highest truth intimate, an invite to prevail.
Salvation springing forth from exposed transfigured pain.
Soul crushing isolation catalyst to bursting forth of spiritual vitality.
Expression a brazen release of the invisible and hushed.
Loss is buoyancy that leaves in its wake a healing cascade of peace.
Stifling darkness antithesis to unquenchable freedom to shine.
Boldness of a hopeful heart on the sleeve transparent.
Soul finding its own unique unfolding majestic wings.
Unlimited possibilities delightfully appear in every direction.
Recognized it echoes to hearts searching for escape from earthly bindings.
Captivating and inviting abundant bodacious life wherever she goes.