I am enough 😍
I remember when I was working in the bookshop and a customer came up to me and asked me a question, they had a really strong accent and I was struggling to understand them so I asked them to repeat themselves, then a colleague came rushing over and said something along the lines of 'She's deaf, let me take over'. No doubt he thought he was doing me a favour by taking me out of the situation but it ended up with me crying in my manager's office because I'd had that choice taken away from me and had been totally undermined by him. I know which situations are not easy for me and I will say so and beckon a colleague over.
When I was a supermarket shelf stacker in my year out many moons ago, I remember one particular boss who wasn't particularly nice and I remember he told me off for something I hadn't done. I hadn't heard his request in the first place and reminded him that I was deaf. He was so shocked, no one had informed him of this earth shattering news and I'd assumed HR had given him the heads up. He treated me with kid gloves after that like I was a piece of china! He kept out of my way as much as he could and when he had to speak to me he spoookkkeee vvveeerrryyyy ssslllooowwwlllyyyyyyy. He just didn't know how to deal with me and didn't think to ask!
There have been times that whatever situation I'm in, as soon as people notice my hearing aids (and believe me, I can tell when you've noticed!) they need a second opinion. Like my opinion had now become null and void and they felt the need to check with a hearing person just in case I didn't know what I was doing. I can remember many instances when I felt like a second class citizen and it's just through sheer ignorance. This kind of stuff made me feel like I wasn't enough as I was. It made me lose confidence in my abilities.
Why couldn't people look upon me as a "normal" person? I hated that as soon as people found out I was deaf, their reaction/attitude/feelings about me changed - I felt so uncomfortable with that - I'm still the same person I was 5 minutes ago when you were talking to me... Now, I'm comfortable with people acknowledging my deafness and asking if there's anything they need to do differently? I'm also in a place now where I will just say what I need from people.
I've never understood why being deaf seemed to equate to a lack of intelligence and a lack of being a 'complete' person. I guess growing up, I did get a feeling of not being enough at school or at a workplace and I hated my deafness. I longed to be like the popular girls who could hear everything that was being said while I just felt inadequate but I know that everyone is fighting their own personal battle of some sort. I tried to hide my deafness and loved it when I thought I could get away with being like a 'hearing' person. I was one of them, and therefore complete! Its only in recent years that I have felt more comfortable with my deafness, it is a part of me, it doesn't make me a lesser person. I am enough. I am a person of faith, and God made me who I am - no mistakes. Its my identity, it makes me the person I am today.