I was born with a moderate sensorineural hearing loss, but it was not diagnosed until I was 5 (even though my smart Mom knew long before my diagnosis!) Being hearing impaired to me is one of my strengths, as it makes me extremely intuitive, since I have to watch people’s mouths and body language in order to fully understand their message. My mom taught me early on to embrace my disability and how to self advocate, so my struggles with my loss have not been overwhelming.
However, one of the biggest challenges for me has been getting new hearing aides, it is something I have avoided each time I need a new one, far longer than I should. For me, getting a new hearing aide is the one area of change in my life I detest, despise and fear.
Six years ago, I tried to go from being unilaterally aided to being bilaterally aided. It didn’t work, I just couldn’t do it and I stuck by my one hearing aide and promised I would try two the next time…
The next time arrived on Thursday.
I woke up this morning, after struggling with both aides last night, with tears in my eyes and fear in my heart. I was terrified to face an entire day with two aides. The sound was so much for my brain to process, the background noise was so foreign to me. I wrapped my arms around my husband and cried, I was just so scared. Overwhelmed. Afraid.
As I was blow drying my hair, I realized that the one thing that heals me when I am afraid is photography.
As I was walking out of the bathroom to grab my camera a simple text message popped up from my husband:
“Love you. Be Strong.”
I stared at those words sitting right next to those aides and knew I needed my camera.
I put the aides in and checked things out.
I closed my eyes and prayed for strength and smiled at myself for encouragement.
Then I went to work and tried to make make myself be ok. I tried so hard, but those aides? They made everything so loud. They hurt and then my head started to pound from the sensory overload and I finally cried MERCY and put my old aide in.
But I left them on my desk, as a reminder that while I couldn’t be strong today…I bet I could be strong tomorrow.
Tonight after shedding some tears to Erik about my defeat, I used my camera to heal me again and I went outside to capture the new life that had graced our yard. The kids and I have loved watching the baby robins grow…
As I walked around the yard, listening to the Mama Robin chirp at me in protection of her babies, I realized that soon they too will have to overcome their fears, be strong and fly. So, I guess I have to do that too…one foot in front of the other…I can be STRONG.