Defective me

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Disabilities can be really annoying.

Most of the time, you accept your disability and try to live with it. You try to convince yourself you can be a whole person in spite of whatever you lack of -sight, hearing or mental agility. But every once in a while, you encounter a day when you don’t feel complete, you feel like a defective product, and start to wonder the overused “why me?”. You look around and see people who seem to have it all, whereas you’re sitting there, feeling incomplete.

This has happened to me a couple of times in my life. Well, that’s a lie. This has happened to me PLENTY of times in my life, but the triggering situation is often the same: I can’t hear what people say to me.

Due to bad genes (familiar heritage), I’ve ended up being 22 and slightly deaf. Yeah, people laugh at cartoons where (mostly) old people repeat the “WHAAT?” when someone speaks to them –but believe me, it’s not funny when you’re the one saying “WHAT” more than 4 times. And it’s not funny when you’re not old at all.

I still remember the day when my ENT told me I would have to use hearing aids. I was 14 and ever since, my hearing seems to have gotten worse. I cried in the car and asked my father why did I have to wear those things in my ears. I was angry, but mostly, worried people would laugh at me. At the time, I had only seen those big hearing aids that kind of wrap around your ears –my mom used one of those, despite being totally deaf. She said she could still hear noises (yet she couldn’t understand what someone was saying to her). I guess that’s why I was so worried: I didn’t want to end up like her. My sister often told me stories about her high-school years, when her classmates used to laugh at my mom and mock her sign language speaking. That made me really sad. And again, angry.

So, when I later went to get my own hearing aids done (I would have to wear one in each ear), I was pleased to see there were more kinds and finally got two tiny pieces that go inside your ear. They’re also made in many colours, but I, scared of them being visible, picked the flesh colored ones. I still wear them, and people say they’re not too visible, at least not if you don’t pay attention to my ears (and definitely not when I wear my hair down, which is most of the time).

Yeah, going through high school using them was easy. I think most of my classmates didn’t know I used them, only my close friends -and I think some of them often forgot I did. My best friends called them “antennas”, and they would often tell me to “put my antennas on”. So I laughed -but still got sad when once at a sleepover I couldn’t hear the film we were watching at 2am. The voice was down so we wouldn’t disturb my friend’s parents, and I pretended I could hear it. I couldn’t bring myself to ask them to turn the subtitles on (because some people find subtitles distracting). So yeah, the next day I cried a bit.

 

My young-adult years have been filled with up and downs. I still get mad some times. And twice has happened to me that I have had to go back home after having just arrived to my faculty, just because I had forgotten those hearing aids (without which I can’t properly hear what the professor is saying, no matter how close I sit -I’d probably have to sit in his/her lap to understand him/her. I’m studying English at uni, but it wasn’t my first choice. Well, it was, but I decided to take Law instead just because I was scared I would lose my hearing and would not be able to understand a word of English. I was worried the pronunciation would be hard (it is) because I wouldn’t be able to imitate the sounds or that I would miss what the word sounded like. Anyway, taking Law proved to be an epic fail and I ended up plucking up some courage I never thought I had and dropped off after two months in Law school -just because I knew I wasn’t meant for that. I had to study English (now I don’t see me anywhere else)

Today was one of those days when I feel disabled. And I hate that I missed one the classes I’m most looking forward to this semester because of that. Today (I can feel it) will be one of those days when I doubt my potential and think I lack of something important. I will wonder if I can get anywhere in life in spite of my disability, and I will feel like I’m not good enough. I will imagine scenarios where people would speak to me and I would not understand a word they’re saying. And, most importantly, I will worry about losing the rest of my hearing.

Because having a defect is scary as hell.

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