NOTE: if you haven't watched the video in the first post on this website, please do that before reading this post.
*Scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch the ASL interpretation of this story.
There's been a lot of struggle as I've learned to live with this. To light a dark room, sometimes all it takes is a single ray of light. With that in mind, I offer the following perspective on life with little-to-no sound to answer the question, "What is like to not be able to hear?"
Imagine not being able to hear the lyrics to songs but hearing the voice as another instrument and feeling people's voices as an energetic expression of their soul.
Imagine being at a family gathering and not hearing the conversations, just a constant din of voices, but through being disconnected, learning to find comfort in silence and aloneness.
Imagine having to leave a group of friends at a bar early because you can’t follow the conversation, and as your struggles become apparent watch them drop away one by one, but feel how much that makes you appreciate the bond with friends who understand, adapt and stay.
Imagine not being able to hear your cat meow, but feel the tiny thumps of his feet as he stomps around the house because he wants your awareness of his presence to be felt.
Imagine being nervous to fall asleep every night because you're alone, but feel the comfort of having a dog beside you who will alert you to any noise.
Imagine telling a niece she can’t whisper secrets in your ear, and as a result getting to see the cute
seriousness of her big eyes as she talks to you, in a level just above a whisper, face-to-face.
Imagine not being able to hear close family members talk around a meal because they speak in low, quiet tones, but feel the triumph of learning how to be present while feeling separated and to love people knowing you will never really know them.
Imagine not being able to hear the next stop announced on busses and through missed stops, wrong stops and backtracking, learning to let go of control and order and understand the bus ride and all of the stops along the way is a metaphor for the moving fluidity and unpredictability of life.
Imagine being in a crowd and not hearing anyone’s words, but seeing all of the details around you, such as the tense body language of a couple through the crowd ten metres away and the toddler beside them captivated by everything. Her wonder reminds you, we don’t just tell stories through words, movies and books, but that each and every one of us shows our story every day.
We are living, breathing stories, ready to be witnessed.
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