What does it feel like to be deaf?
You have no idea.
People don’t understand, no matter how hard they try, they will never understand unless they wake up one morning to the sound of nothing.
However, people like to pretend they understand. Sometimes it’s hard for people to admit they just can’t fathom what it’s like for me. How can they understand? They’ve never experienced it before. They’ve never had to go to bed unsure if there would be an emergency during the night and others would forget to wake them up. They’ve never had to worry about constantly asking for accommodations to be made in the classroom and they’ve certainly never had to stress about communication with people who tend to mumble.
Sometimes I find myself in a large group, but I can’t follow the conversation. People surround me, yet I feel like an outsider. Again and again, I say the wrong thing or answer the wrong question. I have to advocate for myself. Nothing is easy; nothing is painless when you’re deaf. You constantly have to think ahead. You have to put on your best face each morning and do your best to communicate. Each day, I face barriers and I have to push them down one by one.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I look back at my life and I am proud of where I stand today. I have built a strong foundation and future for myself. I could have sulked around and felt bad for myself, but instead I’ve learned to laugh at myself when I make mistakes, not feel embarrassed or upset with myself. I’ve found a few perks to being deaf, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some very influential deaf people who have held my hand and showed me all the possibilities I have because of my deafness.