It is a dark and lonely world when you shut yourself and choose to dwell on your weaknesses and sorrows. We do not willingly trap ourselves in this world; however, our disability is a giant monster that threatens to consume the very assumptions of social communication that you tend to create around yourself.
Yes. My life appeared bleak earlier until thirteen years. They primarily stemmed from my inability to hear and speak clearly. My social circle was limited mostly to my parents only and me. I always felt that the world denied access to me.
The world outside our near and dear ones is cold, cruel and unforgiving.
Alas, I believed this reality and lived in my personal hell hole. But I have been lucky to get inspired at the right moments. This blog post is a shout out to fellow deaf teenagers and adults. I want to let you know that you aren’t alone. Here is my journey; hopefully, it will inspire your growth while integrating with the mainstream society.
From childhood, I have always had trouble integrating with traditional society. Interacting with the people, understanding them and expressing myself clearly with my mouth has been challenging. I’m a born writer, yet the language skills fled me in social interactions. Every single small situation when I failed to interact properly affected me a lot—the self-inflicted humiliation when people treated me like the odd-one-out used to happen daily.
Every single day, I used to get up with a fresh mood and believed that my day would go well, And then one or the other small thing would happen to rub my face in failure. Hearing is extremely critical for a smooth interaction in society, and the lack of it was always a pain point. I was sidelined often among my peers, and this affected my self-confidence to a great extent.
In my childhood, I often felt that I was a significant unnecessary burden to my parents, my family, my friends, my teachers, and in general to the society around me, as they had to compromise for me in various aspects. Basically, I felt inferior to my peers. I thought that I was incapable of achieving anything when I saw my peers handling the situations in a far better way than mine. I withdrew myself into a shell. My general behavior was different due to the psychological impact of my hearing problem. It hindered my growth to a great extent and made me moody and depressed.
At around 12-13 years of age, my life took a turn for the better. There were absolutely no external changes whatsoever. I started reading a lot into the various perspectives of talented individuals. They encouraged me to think differently. The process of self-transformation was indeed a beautiful one.
I started seeing the bright side of life and started appreciating my abilities and my unique talents. I wasn’t ill or disabled to an extent where I couldn’t fend for myself.
But the question remained.
How do I feel okay with demanding too much attention and access?
The answer was simple.
I had to be a lady of immense value. I had to be different and better than the rest personality-wise.
Empowered with my new realisation, I focussed on being the best version of myself. Conscious efforts were made to implement good values and attitude in my life. I expanded my mind to a broader open-minded spectrum and became open to exploring different perspectives. And I opened up myself to others. Rather than giving or expecting, I started giving more: words of care, empathy, support and encouragement. I used to write it down if they didn’t understand my speech. (I didn’t have clarity back then)
I consciously worked on myself so that I could become an interesting and exciting companion for others. Today’s world is fast-paced, and human bonds are fragile. I started interacting more and made a constant reminder not to let my weakness in essential communication deter me.
My world began changing. Those who used to make fun of me became my close friends. All that they wanted was someone to be there regardless of the circumstances. Behold, I was that person in their lives. As a result, I received the love in abundance. My social circle became a better place.
I focused on achieving as much as I could because I knew and felt that my achievements were the main things that could put the spotlight on me, and make people take note of me and accept me in spite of my disability. The pride that I feel when people call me their role model and inspiration makes my life worth living.
At twenty-one years, I would be lying if I say that my problems and my conflicts have vanished. But since my approach towards the challenges has changed, my social world has become better. My self-esteem doesn’t get affected easily anymore. I can proudly say that I am the girl who I want to be loved and valued by my friends.
That is the change that has been catalysed in my life by choosing to approach my disability in a positive way and opening up myself to be a friendly, receptive and ambitious girl with a strong will of her own.
The key to surviving this battle both with your deep inner self as well as with the world is to shut out negativity; Shut out the negative people in your life. Believe that You can, and You will do anything you desire.