I have a disability. I don’t consider myself disabled. To me, my disability is my identity, a positive part of who I am. This is a very foreign concept to most people. You couldn’t pay me to change my ears, to become hearing.
To many I’m pitied. How can I be happy to have a hearing loss? I stumble over how to explain this, how to show this. Really, how does one show they are comfortable in their own skin? Just by being themselves.
How about a listing of positive parts of my life that came to be because of my ears:
- My acceptance to college: I went to a college for younger scholars. Halfway through my interview I mentioned my hearing loss. My interviewer was impressed, having had no clue I struggled to hear. This is how I went from my sophomore year of high school directly to my freshman year of college.
- My journey into Social Work: I graduated with a degree in Deaf Studies and began searching for a job with individuals with a hearing loss. I stumbled across social work and my next two jobs were based, in part, on my own ears.
- My bridal party: Out of the two ladies who stood with me when I got married, I could hear the most. Some of my best friends have hearing loss, people I wouldn’t have met with “normal” ears.
- My writing: I made a promise to myself years ago that all my novels would have at least one character with a hearing loss, and I’ve held up my end of that promise so far, with no desire to go against the grain. This lends a unique attribute to my writing and has become my niche.
Have my ears made my life more difficult? Definitely. Am I stronger because of those struggles? Hell yes. Would I change my ears if I had the power to do so? No. I’m perfect with my imperfection.