A while ago, I "met" the guy in this video. He was directed to me because we share a couple of things: Meniere's disease and deafness. His life was not what he expected and had loads of questions. I only hope I was able to answer them. Through the process, we have become very good friends, and I am thrilled to have played a part in the reason he is telling his story to the world.
Here is my friend, Chad, telling what it means to him to have found a way back into life because of a way back to hearing:
'til next time
Just a guy trying to live with a invisible, potentially debilitating illness.
I really should have known better. I've been down the path before, but yet I willingly strolled into the mix, partly trying to gather an understanding of the issue.
In the end, I just ended up offending someone for some reason.
It seems, in this day and age, it is an easy thing to do. Everyone seems to be offended by everything. Wrong politics? I'm offended. Wrong religion? I'm offended. Wrong language? Skin color? Career? I'm offended.
I don't get it. Really.
I don't get offended, myself. Angry? Yes. Confused? Yes. Frustrated? Yes.
Offended? No, because, in my opinion, to be offended you have to take the offending person as an expert in the situation and that they are personally attacking you for being uninformed. Sorry, but unless you are truly an expert and can back up your claims with evidence, you are just shooting off your mouth. Move along please.
But there I was, trying to interject my thoughts on a couple of different situations, not condemnation, yet I was the offender? Have we become so sensitive that everything not in 100% agreement with our views is "offensive?" And yet, the quest for "knowledge" is at an all time high? How do you gain knowledge unless you ask questions, or view things from a different angle? But more often than not, knowledge appears only to be useful if it agrees with the person you are talking to. Beyond that, it is offensive. I may go so far to say that those who profess this greater desire to have knowledge are actually the easiest to be offended.
The event that prompted my relegation to the role of offender was a discussion concerning Deaf vs deaf vs hearing.
I should know better. I shouldn't even get involved in the discussion at all. But it has some meaning for me. As a person who is deaf, am I to consider myself Deaf? Hearing? deaf? Nothing?
I don't really fit in the hearing world anymore. After all I am deaf. Even though I use Cochlear implants and am what some have called "high functioning" with them, I am still deaf. If they fail, I'm deaf. When I take them off, I'm deaf. In all aspects of the hearing world, I am not hearing, and yet I am not Deaf.
The difference between deaf and Deaf may be a greater divide than hearing and deaf. Deaf is a culture. deaf is a condition. I can't hear, therefore I am deaf, but I was not raised without being able to hear, which is the culture of being Deaf. It is a different identity. A different perspective. And one that I can't wrap my head around, or for that matter, embrace.
I have tried, but I just don't understand it. I doubt I ever will. As a culture, Deaf seems to be one that is struggling with it's own identity as well. Sign language is good, unless it's not. Speaking is NOT good, unless it is. Hearing is good, unless it's not. Hearing aids are OK, maybe, but cochlear implants cross the line. Or maybe they don't. It all depends, but they may or may not accept you for it. And as a culture, you won't know until you have offended someone. Then you will know. Trust me.
It's for that reason that I will never be able to accept being part of Deaf culture. I'm deaf- a condition, not a culture.
Maybe my perspective would change if I was raised as a Deaf person. Then again, maybe I have reached the point in my life where I've fought my battles and where I am is where I am. I have little need to prove myself to anyone anymore. And I have little need to be offended for not fitting into a narrow description coined by others. Take me for what I am or move on, but don't expect to drag me into petty disagreements over verbiage.
Life is too short to be so easily offended.
'Til next time
Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness