Learning to Hear Again

What do you do when the world as you know it suddenly changes and not understanding why? Imagine waking one morning and everything is completely silent. You don’t hear the typical sounds of your kids screaming your name asking for breakfast. And you’re thinking to yourself, “finally, some peace and quiet”. But then you quickly realize, the silence isn’t because your kids decided to give you break; it’s due to the fact you’ve lost one of your major senses, your hearing. This became my reality in 2007.

Being faced with this new challenge of adjusting to hearing aids, I became embarrassed, ashamed, depressed, and hated myself for this flaw. Nothing seemed to bring me comfort. I tried so hard to not strain to hear to just pick up on sounds and words that I could. Overtime, there was still little improvement as the straining continued and I would constantly pretend to understand anything that was said to me when I truly did not understand at all.

The hearing aids where just for sound. I constantly found myself asking others to repeat questions or saying I don’t understand. Words sounded so mumbled together. I was using my best judgement all the time to put together what others were asking me to avoid showing my misunderstanding. Would I ever be granted the immediate fix I so longed for?

My world had changed. I had changed. My question always remained, would I be able to hear again? Still no answers.

Uncertainty is like a wild fire, it spreads uncontrollably

Face Masks Designed for Deaf & Hard of Hearing

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As the world must come to panic with the case of COVID-19 and everyone trying to take cover and protect themselves with face masks, this becomes a strain and headache for the deaf and hard of hearing community; like myself.

I am hearing impaired and try to read lips with every person I encounter to make out communication face to face. However, these few weeks I have found myself feeling more discouraged to go out and handle my essential needs with all the face mask covering of lips. Questioning myself do I need to make a badge and wear daily stating ” I suffer from a hearing loss, please remove the mask”.

Before COVID became so big in the North Carolina area, I visited one of Charlotte’s largest medical facilities. The nurse who came into my exam room was very friendly and helpful. She was eager to assist me with my procedure but lack communication with my hearing impairment. I do understand the need of precaution with all the safety gear working in a medical field, but how does the patient benefit when he/she can’t understand what is being said or asked of them. After going through the typical medical review questions and constantly asking for repetition and clarity, I asked could she remove the mask. She looks every bit confused about why would anyone ask for their medical professional to remove their mask. I explained the hearing impairment. How it is very important to understand what I am being treated for as well to answer questions.

Healthcare has become the biggest misunderstood job profession when it comes to those with a hearing impairment. With the COVID being the biggest topic and concern for the United States only one person thought of the hearing community. A young college student Ashley Lawrence decided to introduce a face mask with a transparent area around the mouth for others like me who read lips. The masks allow us to see the wears’ facial expressions, which is very crucial with Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The masks are like surgical masks worn in healthcare settings, which protect the person wearing it from fluids and droplets that may contain viruses.

Weekly the number of cases grows in our area with more people tested positive for coronavirus cases and more people from our community seeking medical attention these masks are a great asset with communication. We are thankful someone thought of us, when we are the least thought of community and overlooked.

 

 

Hired,Quit, Fired, Started My Own

Who would ever think your life dreams would come when you’re at the lowest point of life. Being hired so many times, quit because no one understands your situation, and fired because you lose interest in the position you once thought would lead to your final place of retirement. I have started so many jobs ranging from Customer Service, Accounting, Medical office, Real Estate, and the list goes on.

February 2019 was just like any month for me attending a well-paid job for a check. No matter how I woke up and got dressed to drive the 20 miles to work, I couldn’t find my passion in the position other than looking forward to my Friday weekly paycheck. There wasn’t a reason why I should hate the job with all the flexibility given, but it just didn’t allow me the excitement of enjoying eight hours a day. Soon enough management picked up on my lack of interest to be there, my constant errors in overlooking my work, tardy daily because I took advantage of the flexible shift, always on my phone in meetings because I was browsing on Instagram hours after hours looking at what gave me excitement. Later that month, I decided this is not for me. I am tired of settling just for a check. I am tired of fear stopping me from the things that I love so much and hold my attention. I ended the position.

Let’s go back to March 1st, 2019, the first day of me being unemployed and stepping out on faith. All those hours spent on Instagram looking at different profiles of other women who have started their way in the beauty industry of eyelashes/eyelash extensions had my undivided attention. With no experience except wearing eyelashes, I decided to pick a class. I located a local Certified Eyelash Instructor who profiles showed me she was dedicated to her work, passionate about what she does, and I knew this was someone I wanted to train me to be my very best with this new task. We all are aware of investing in ourselves is never cheap, but well worth it at the end. I paid for my class and stepped out on faith to learn something new, something that I could do alone, something that makes me forget about my phone the hours I am working, and most of all something that I dream about at night and during my naps.

Most people doubted me saying the job is too tedious. Some thought I was wasting money because out of all my career titles; none dealt with the beauty industry. None of that matters when you have set in your head; this is what you want to do. I even had a few others laugh and say I left a full-time job to do something with no experience. Still, I didn’t allow that to stop me. I will be lying if I say these few months the journey of being my very own boss as a Certified Eyelash Tech has been easy because it hasnt. But the more I dedicate myself to practice I have found improvements. Finding my confidence in my work has taken time, but each day I wake up and set up at my home-station whether it is practicing with my mannequin head or a live person, I give it my all. I vow to myself to not return to the world of a 9-5; dedication is my key to my new business in the lash world.

I am going from Certified Eyelash Extension Tech to Licensed Esthetician over the next few months. There is so much more to come from getting Glammed By Tae. I thank all my mentors, supporters, those that have trusted me with live practice, most of all, I am thankful that I found my purpose and passion in starting my own business.

Hired, Quit, Fired, now I have started my own business, so can you.

Instagram @artistryglamllc
Website http://www.artistryglamllc.com
Sales@artistryglamllc.com

Turn the Switch Off

A few weeks back, I shared a blog about my toddler helping with simple daily routines when I can’t hear around me. Yes, that blog post showed how sweet and innocent CJ can be at times. But what about the times when CJ is not so honest! Or the times when your boyfriend continues to nag about dinner not ready! How can I leave out a manager in a meeting rambling on and on! Teenagers are fighting in the next room over about fortnight! Thank God for the ON and OFF switch of my hearing aids!!!

If you are wondering there are some pros I call it with wearing hearing aids. Especially if the noise of toy trucks bouncing off walls, or the noise of PJ MASK blasted while your toddler is singing along, and you’re laying in bed with a massive migraine, merely turn the off switch.

I have taken advantage of this off and on the switch, to save my life at times, from exploding on many people. CJ at times has come in front of me and yelled “DO YOU HEAR ME” lol, I simply shrug my shoulder to answer him with “I DONT UNDERSTAND.” Believe it or not, he will walk away and quiet down.

I know that may seem a little harsh to some, but we as mothers sometimes need a mental break from the world — a moment to silent everything around us entirely out. My mental interruptions from the kids fighting, a boyfriend nagging, a manager rambling, or just someone near me irritating me with their sounds, has all been silent out with turn the switch off. To have both worlds in my hands the ability to hear those when I need too and ability to silent those when required has been a thoughtful way of capturing my thoughts. Once I have gathered my ideas, calmed my nerves and ready to enter back into the world chaos and noise I will turn the switch back on to be part of my environment.

When learning how to adapt to your new world, you find the pros and cons to help you enjoy who you are. I can say when I look back and think I am one lucky person.

On or Off are my choices!
My world!
My peace of mind!
I love me!!!

My Child Understands Me

We have all considered our children as little geniuses. At least I was blessed with three I love so dearly. Each one has made changes in their ways of communication to assist their mom with her hearing loss. Of course, my older boys were able to experience the before mom lost her hearing and know how to communicate with mom and her hearing loss.

I want to take a moment to share how my youngest amazes me with communication. CJ now at the age of three years old with no sign language teaching, no understanding or been told his mom can’t hear, he has adapted quite fast in communicating with me.

Last week there was a knock at the door. Me running around the house and not hearing the beat at the front door, and only been one room over caused for CJ to alert me. His first attempt was using words “someone at the door, someone at the door” again just being a mom brushing him off responding “boy go sit down and stop shutting doors” yes I was way off with where this was leading to lol. CJ than got very agitated and grabbed my hand leading me to the front door, where I was caught off guard someone was outside. I open the door and YES someone was knocking at the door for 5 minutes. The person begins to ask me questions which I was slightly confused, a simple question on did I have any trash for the valet trash attendant — me standing there trying to understand this soft-spoken person and make out the conversation. CJ goes and points at the garbage in the kitchen signaling for me that they were asking for our trash service for the day. I was just so stunned at how this little person who is only three just walked me through an entire conversation by pointing and leading me. I had to explain to the valet trash service provider I am hearing impaired, that I didn’t hear a noise at the door, but my toddler did, I didn’t understand what he needed because I was standing with one hearing aid in and couldn’t quite make out what was said, but my toddler understood. Valet trash smiled and said you have a little genius on your hand to care for you.

I always questioned having all boys would they care for their mother like a mother should be cared for when the time comes and I can’t provide for myself. This situation here has shown me that my child is ready for years of communication with me, years of leading me, and years of being my interpreter because even now barely learning speech himself he has proved he is his mother’s keeper.

Never underestimate a child. They see and understand things better than we can ever imagine. I am blessed to have him.

CJ mommy loves you!!!!

We Need Our Mothers

How does a young girl become a woman, most have a mother that teaches them the true meaning of womanhood. Growing up each young girl enjoys to play in makeup, polish her nails, comb and brush her hair. These are things some are blessed to do with their mother. Heres where the bond of mother and daughter begins and grows.

Blessed with a beautiful black queen as a mother — a strong-minded woman who thinks highly of herself. My mother had the image of a tom-boy I always thought. Her style has forever been sweatsuits and the hottest air max. She never could relate or understand why I like to strut in heels, play with press-on nails, or enjoyed the latest hairstyles with weave. Over the years the misunderstanding and different ways we shared caused many arguments and fights.

Many mothers don’t realize how a girls day with your daughter or daughters allows them to open to their mothers about who they are. It gives a chance of bonding and moment to express your likes and dislikes freely. As time passes over the years, a young girl seems to feel alone, and slowly looks for the attention and bonding with other outside people.

The choices young adult women make in life comes from how they feel deep down inside. If they feel as if the woman who birth them never have time for them they take on the same thought process with men. And they allow men to come and go as they please.

My high school years were spent learning about who I was. I had no clue of what type of woman I wanted to be because the woman who was supposed to teach me was very busy finding herself. These were my hardest years because a lot of decisions I made were because I didn’t know or was told my worth or how a woman should handle situations among other women or men. I read many of books on self-love and care at the early age of 16 but still couldn’t quite comprehend. There were times I cried myself to sleep wishing she understood me but she couldn’t.

As time went by and we both aged, she has made numerous attempts to relate to me. Over time I have attended church with her, and to the hair salon with her. We have shared many secrets good and not so good! The bond my mom and I have now is inseparable, unconditional and with great respect, love, compassion. She has expressed her childhood growing up which has enlightened me on her thought process. Even with, the damage did she goes super hard now to make up. As God says, everyone deserves to be forgiven and second chances. I admire her strength never to give up. We may miss out on bonding however her go-getter attitude I have picked up. That has been the greatest trait she could have ever-blessed me to have.

My young adult and adult life as a woman hasn’t been easy teaching myself, but the few stumbles have made me stronger. Now as an aunt and stepmother of young ladies I make it my duty to let them know I love them so they may enjoy themselves, that they are loved unconditionally and don’t have to seek approval or love from outside. They are worthy, there may be mistakes made, but they are loved and not judged by me. Those bonding trips to the mall, nail salons, hair salons are the times where I allow them to express who they are in style. All that I give to them is all I ever wanted for myself. We must remember the young women under us will soon be mothers themselves we must break the cycle for them.

Love on every young woman connected to you so she may love herself.

SELF-LOVE, SELF-CARE, WORTHY

BODY SHAMING IS NOT COOL

Everyone tends to think the word FAT is harsh. Don’t get me wrong it is. Why is it the word SKINNY is left as a positive word?
For those that suffer from eating disorders, weight challenges that affect their ability to gain, or the person who has other illnesses that keep them from not gaining, skinny is very offensive.
I have been small all my life. Some people have picked and made me feel the discomfort of enjoying me as a healthy me. Meanwhile, others have asked what the secret of staying so small is. There is no secret at all. I eat daily probably more than a person more prominent than my size — somehow I haven’t managed to pick up the pounds in the right areas to fit in with the IG models or today’s THICK GIRLS club.

Over time I have spoken with doctors to see what healthy ways I could use to add on weight. Many requested ensure back in the early 2000s. YUCK! Drinking two to three ensure supplemental drinks a day can be upsetting to the stomach. I experienced nausea over time which caused me to stop that route. Another doctor requested Depo-Provera 2007. Now, this I was excited to see if worked. I read many women saying how Depo- Provera caused them extra weight gain over time. After my first dose, I noticed me eating more snacks and continuously having the munchies lol. It could have been a mental thing, but I am quite sure the shot played a part. When starting depo provera, I was at a tiny size of 105LBS. Yes, skinny minny. Three months passed and it was time for my next dose and lord the scale read 135LBS. Thirty extra pounds. The biggest I had seen in my life without being pregnant. After remaining on depo for four years, I decided I wanted to have another child. In just four years my body had changed tremendously my once so fertile self-wasn’t as productive as years before. Visiting with my ob-gyn, she felt it was best to let go of the shot to give my body some break especially if I was trying to conceive in upcoming years. I was torn between having another child or back to my skinny size. Thankfully my homegirl from high school recommended a medication she used for weight gain and was prescribed by her doctor for use. I was back to smiling again. My primary care saw no harm in prescribing the medication to take three times a day. The year of 2011 I begin my first round of prescription drugs, and drastically my weight increased from 135LBS to 165LBS again another thirty extra pounds. Now I fitted in with all the girls who were thick, so you say.

I end by saying this, us skinny girls have trials to go through as well to feel comfortable about our outside body and appearance. Calling another person thin can make them feel down about themselves the same as calling someone fat. No one will ever be a perfect size. It’s best to not judge another person’s weight with or without knowing their struggles. As you see from my experience, I spent many years with doctors just a person much bigger would spend trying to find weight loss options just to fit in. Body-shaming is not respectful for any shape or size individual.

If you or dealing with body shaming from others or even yourself. Practice accepting yourself now, use powerful affirmations, turn your focus on away from what you look like on the outside and toward how you feel on the inside/outside, and last it’s ok to seek professional health to improve but do it for you, not for others. What matters most is that we’re happy with who we are!

TRUE FRIEND

I always desired to have many friends in high school based on popularity and wanting to be known by so many. As years passed the number of friends, I had met over time seem to come with more drama and problems. I instantly wanted to end socializing altogether. The saying “quality over quantity” is what started to stick in my mind. Where were all the good loyal friends. Maybe I should have thought about the type of friends I were attracting or clinging to vs. the number of friends.
As years passed by into my adulthood, I learned what the meaning of real friendship meant. I didn’t need a set number of friends by my side I required one loyal friend without the drama and chaos. I also had to reflect on myself and ask were I offering good traits as a friend. Sometimes we can be the bad friend that attracts terrible people. It was times that my attitude, mood swings, and disrespect could cause me to lose friends and vice versa.
When looking at another person to become that number one go-to person for you, it requires the same amount of time and dedication as you would put into a relationship with your spouse. A friend should offer comfort and support, someone who has your back when things are going wrong. Someone who doesn’t cause harm behind your back or bring harm to you. Your real friend will neither lead or follow you both will walk the storm together. But how do you know when you located that person?

The year of 2005, I met someone who didn’t need me to lead them nor did they need me to follow. This young woman immediately offered me support and comfort I needed to be myself and accept myself for who I am. When my darkest past would come to haunt me, she would remind me not to look back to focus on my future. The moment I felt ashamed of who I was because of my disability she told me what I stood for as a mother and a young African-American woman. When my communication begins to decrease over the phone, she took the phone from my hand and handled calls as if she was my identical twin. One year I thought of committing suicide, and she sat next to me at the hospital coaching me on how important my life was. If your friend hasn’t saved your life once but twice, you need to get you one like mine. My God, I thank you for her. No situation would come up that she would turn her back on me and no case I would turn my back on her. All these years I had been searching for one person who I could relate with my father above blessed, me with one of the best.
Having a true friend is a real gift for any person male or female. It shares value just as your marriage or relationship with your mate. Always cherish the one who gives you the support of going that extra mile, who will never be ashamed or judge you for your wrongdoings but encourage you to do better. Friendship can save your life with the right people. She kept me!

TESTIMONY

Now and then the testimony is needed to share with others around you, those that have no idea of what you been through and how you made it. This upcoming month is Domestic Violence Awareness and I am here to share my testimony with those who feel they can’t walk away or let go.

 I recall thinking I wasn’t enough to let go, that a marriage wasn’t meant to end. Over time I became so useless and helpless to my kids as well as myself. I questioned God on my choices as a mother, woman, and someone’s daughter. When will enough be enough? What physical or verbal altercation would be the last? Would I make it out tonight dead or live?

Everyone says when you sick and tired you will walk away. Sometimes it’s not that easy. When God see you have made up in your mind you ready to go, there will be no going back or apologies to try to keep you hostage. When the bruises no longer can be covered you realize this is enough. All those family outings you missed because you know longer looked like your beautiful self, oh yes that’s when you know it’s enough.

You can’t call on God to come to rescue you, and you’re not ready to be saved. You must know you deserve more, you deserve to be loved, free of harm. I had to call on God. Sometimes I called, and my Father answered, but I wasn’t ready. I returned. I played this game back and forth for years with God, yelling, pleading, begging that I was ready. Still, I was not.

 I remember watching my younger children waiting behind closed doors as I tried to pick myself up off the floor to gain control of a bleeding wound. I started my pleading with God again. He answered back by showing me the light. This light shined so brightly in my face that it scared me. It was as if the sun was leading me down a road to be free. Sitting there deciding if I was going to take the chance to run or stay. I ran.

I am 12 years free from domestic violence. I suffered from the mental, physical, and verbal abuse. If it wasn’t for Father God staying by me and answering each time I could have been dead. If it wasn’t for me realizing this is too much and having lost so much; there could be death. My two children were starting to suffer all because I couldn’t find the strength in me to love myself and them. When I ran, I never looked back. I have had to shout numerous of days saying, GOD, you saved me. I was tired of lying to those who loved me about my life. Tired of making excuses for someone else bad actions. I needed to be free. I thank God.

Walk away. If you can’t, see the light at the end step out and run away it’s there waiting to save you. It kept me, and it can protect you.

 Love you

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233

Overcoming Anxiety and Dating

Anxiety can take over our lives for several reasons. The constant feeling of nervousness and uneasiness was nothing new to me, especially when it came to dating. After my divorce, I felt uncomfortable meeting others and disclosing my hearing loss. So many insecurities and worries haunted me daily when getting to know someone. Holding very few conversations via phone or constantly making up excuses for why I couldn’t answer my phone became the norm for me. Face to face interactions would always be giggles or jokes from me to avoid any deep conversations. Over time, men picked up on the fact I was hiding something.

Some would ask, why you don’t relax and get to know me? Why can’t I know you on a more serious level? Why when I touch your hair to move back from over your ears you’re so defensive? However, I still lacked the confidence to disclose my loss to anyone. In 2009, I decided I would just give up on dating and begin acting like a woman but think like a man.

As time progressed, it became evident that dating and not catching feelings just wasn’t me. I will never forget my friends asking would I like for them to mention it to the guy for me. I was so scared and worried about the outcome. How could I call myself a woman and ready to be with a man if I couldn’t speak up as a woman about myself? I came to the reality that I was allowing my disability to control every aspect of my life.

This is when I began the journey of self-love. Questioning myself numerous of nights on how I could expect someone to accept me when I truly did not accept myself? What grown woman hides behind her flaws. I needed to love me first before I could allow another human into my world. I had to learn which communication methods worked best for me when dating. Not only that, I had to change the men I was looking to date. I needed someone who was mature, understanding, and welcoming of all of me.

 Daily affirmations started to be my daily routine. Waking up each morning standing in my mirror I repeated affirmations such as “I AM ME, AND ONLY ME, WHO CAN NOT ACCEPT ME DOES NOT NEED ME, NOR DO I NEED THEM”, “YOU’RE MORE THAN ENOUGH WOMAN FOR THE RIGHT MAN”, ”THIS HEARING LOSS WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO SETTLE FOR LESS OR DO LESS FOR LOVE”, “I LOVE YOU SHANTAE FOR WHO YOU ARE”. Those words to myself built my confidence, in time I found my purpose, I started moving differently when approached. When I showed the love I had for myself, men were able to see the confidence in me and know if they couldn’t accept me, I was fine with being alone, I had ME.

Love yourself first so others can follow how to do the same. Self-love and self-care made me stronger.

Their Misconception

We have all encountered individuals who make their own perception of you before actually getting to know you. Being an African-American with a hearing disability and working with other women, I encountered this problem a lot.

I recall working at an Assisted Living home here in Charlotte, NC. I was giving the role of working with Activities and resident tours with families and tenants. I enjoyed the opportunity of speaking with the family, showing them our facility and just laughing with the elderly tenants. Not once was I questioned about my disability when words slipped pass my ear, and I had to ask for them to repeat themselves.

It all started with nursing, rehabilitation therapists, and housekeeping were the ones that through the stones behind me. While working at an Assisted Living Facility, I walked past an older adult housekeeper who I have passed so many times on the halls. No words have ever been exchanged between us, but this day, I felt the need to open and speak. “Hello, how are you today” I said with a big smile. Her unfriendly facial expression caught me completely off guard. As she made her way out of the room, she says I AM FINE, THANKS FOR ASKING. IT WOULD Have been NICE IF YOU would have ANSWERED ME THE OTHER DAYS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU”. That’s when I said in a stern voice, “did it ever once cross your mind to tap me on the shoulder, to pull me aside and speak with me one on one, to even ask upper management was there something they should share about me to help you and the rest understand me”. She shook her head NO as in why go through all those extra measures. That’s when I pulled my hair back from over my ears and exposed my two best friends, left and right. Don’t ever judge me again for something out of my control.” She was left in that hall with a blank stare.

As women, especially women of color, we’re misconceived as being angry, bitter, miserable and stuck up; that’s exactly how I was being viewed by own colleagues. This is an ideology that we must cease especially amongst African-American women. We are so quick to pass judgement that we often forfeit the opportunity of better understanding one another. Let’s do away with misconception!

WHEN YOUR BATTERIES STOP!!! O.M.G!

As awkward as this may seem this happens way too often. Sitting in a meeting at work or just in the middle of some juicy tea; and three beeps comes into your ear. Many of you haven’t had to experience this, I am quite sure. In my world that’s the que of ‘OH SHIT’ you about to go completely deaf. What am I to do?
This happens quite often. As most girls walk around with their extra mascara or even a set of emergency lashes. I must keep an extra a set of energizer small batteries in my makeup bag to maintain sound around me. There is nothing like have something stuck in your ear without sound to what’s being said around you. The funniest moments and most embarrassing moments have come from sitting in a meeting at work and suddenly one of my devices goes dead. Imagine not having no batteries on site and trying to still communicate with the ones around you like nothing has changed. Yes, it is confusing.
Recently I was in training for my job and loss power in my left hearing device. Let’s keep in mind that this is my good ear. I sat there contemplating on whether to inform the instructor or to just start my (fake go with the flow game). After sitting there ten minutes wondering my next move; I remembered there would be no more faking it games and no more pretending to understand. I will accept my situation and request the assistance needed. Yes; I must pep talk myself from time to time. This is just me and my process. I am not going to feel embarrassed about that. I lifted that shy hand of mine for my instructor’s attention, held my head high and the words flowed so smoothly. “I’m sorry to stop you, but you have wasted fifteen minutes giving me instructions and I have no clue what you need me to do”. She looked so dumbfounded as if she was disgusted with the amount of time she wasted going over material and I had no clue what was expected of me. I was giggling in the inside knowing she wasn’t aware of my dead battery in my ear. Me being the petty queen I can be at times wanted to see her gestures to determine how the next few words would exit out my mouth. “Ms. Thomas do you care to explain what you missed and why you missed this information”. I slowly thought to myself ok this your time to be honest in front of 5 strangers who are looking at you for a loud outburst. Yes, I would love to explain; I currently have two hearing aids in and one has lost sound. I heard part of your instruction given. Now I know this may sound crazy ma’am instead of packing extra batteries this morning I packed an extra lunch. She stood looking with a stunned look telling me she had no clue of my disability or how to respond. By my surprise she asked me would I care to pause for a fifteen-minute break to run for extra batteries to continue training. The smile that shot across my face for being so brave to speak who I am and what I needed opened so many doors for me. There was no need to be scared to share my disability. If only had I been as prepared with these extra little batteries as I had for lunch.
Times like this in the past I would have used my eyes to read the instructor’s lips. Most times I would find myself nodding and smiling to anything being asked and not to mention the fake laugh I use so very often.
Communication is the one of the most major keys in daily living. I have lost that key over time by not been prepared with an extra set of batteries for communication. I have noticed how being unprepared or not taking proper care of my hearing aids can cause me confusion with others. This has become a great relief for me. Standing up and becoming honest with myself I have saved myself numerous of jobs and opportunities by waving a hand. “Hey batteries dead can we stop for a quick second”. Goodbye to panic attacks and the O.M.G my batteries are dead moments.

Determined to Win

Searching for a job can be the ultimate stress that each of us has tried to avoid. How can we overlook it when a job is needed to survive? Looking for a job has never been an issue for me. I recall at the age of 15 walking inside of the Shoe Dept at Carolinas Place Mall. I was with my cousin playing a joke and I applied for a job. Not knowing how mature I looked or how well I spoke for my age. This joke turned into an actual opportunity. After that one offer, many offers came my way. I would only need to complete an application, land an interview, and the rest was magical. I had become so HIGH on myself. I would walk into a job saying, ‘watch I get my training schedule the same day’. Back then I didn’t need the resume; I was the talking resume.
Suddenly the change came about 2006, with the hearing loss. As the hearing decreased the ability to hear throughout an interview shortened my chances of getting hired. Over time the high self-esteem I had for so many years was no longer there. Still battling with accepting myself I never mentioned my hearing loss to the employers for special accommodations. I was in denial.
After so many tries and failed attempts. A position finally came my way. I was hired as a Collector for a major finance company handling back end collections. We all know collections are handled completely on phone at times, especially dealing with auto. How will you hear? How will handle calls? How will you master the tasks of your position? Those were questions I had no answers to. I was determined that I would take this new opportunity and do my best without sharing my hearing impairment. Over time I was able to use my dual headset that had an extra max volume setting that I could turn on and up to the max without any problems. But there were times I couldn’t hear my debtor gather information to complete a call which caused me to disconnect the call. Months begin to go by and the ringing in my ears gets louder and louder from sitting on the phone for 8-10 hours straining to hear. Something had to be fixed, but what. This is permanent damage.
Over the years as I have started to accept my situation. I have begun to allow employers the opportunity to accommodate me before being offered an interview. I have learned just as much as I need this job they need me to. That high self-esteem that was a loss is coming back. Obtaining employment and maintaining my opportunities have become less stressful. I know who I am; I accept me for who I am and no matter the outcome if an employer needs me they will go out their way to hire and accommodate me.

JUDGEMENT FROM OTHERS

Judgment of others is a natural characteristic for some of us. I’m sure we’ve all been in positions where we put ourselves on a pedestal overlooking the ones below. From thinking you have the better wardrobe, to having the nicer car, or even so-called “better hair”, we’ve all thought that we were better than someone else for whatever reason. The humbling thing however is that sometimes we are lucky enough to get a wakeup call. For me that wakeup call came one morning when once familiar sounds weren’t so familiar anymore. I’d traveled life sitting on my pedestal, chip on shoulder, thinking I was untouchable, then BAM, my whole life changes. In 2006, with no indication or warning, I completely loss my hearing. I had no idea where to even begin to cope. In the following years, I struggled with a gambit of things that were designed to break me. Clearly, they didn’t. Since my hearing loss has become a major part of my life, and I’ve learned over the years how to deal with it, I’ve channeled my emotions into an outlet for others to come to peace with their flaws and insecurities. I am now the founder of a women’s empowerment group called Women of Change. This group was designed to help other women who suffer from health issues or life changes, learn to cope day by day while building their self-esteem. This group was formed online where we now have over 2k members. The group consists of 5 Administrators Brandi, Sara, Malinda, Tameka, Lashaunda and me. No one can understand how a woman feels when a health issues that is out of her control takes over her life. I am here to say no matter what has tried to stop you, it’s not the end of the world. What broke you down, was supposed to teach you. WOC offers daily motivation, empowerment, as well as a host of other things to ensure that we as women continue on the path to greatness, wholeness, and empowerment.

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