My name is Frieda and I am hearing impaired. Here, you will find stories of my life growing up and what it is like for me to be a wife, a mom of two boys, and hearing impaired.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reminders and a Pity Party for One

Tonight, I am reminded of my hearing loss.  Sure, I am reminded every morning when I put on my hearing aids, but once they're on, I don't feel any different.  My hearing loss is not a constant, daily reminder; just an occasional one.  I am not an actively social person, especially in large groups, but I force myself to attend such functions.  Why?  To remind myself that I am an adult, human, and a woman who needs such contact from time to time.

In church, I play the piano for the Primary aged children (ages 4-12) every Sunday, so there is no opportunity to "rub shoulders" with the ladies in church and have a social visit. So when our church hosts a social function, such as a dinner, I force myself  to get out and get to know these people that I see every Sunday. The dinner is located under a pavilion outside the church building.  I see neighbors that I haven't seen in ages..  After eating my meal, I notice several ladies sitting at a separate table and decide to join them, an assertive move on my part.

There are five ladies in all, each chatting animately about what was going on in their lives.  Mostly it is about their children.  They are talking about their daughters and even though I have two boys, I try to find something in common to share with them.  One lady comments on how cute my sandals are and I tell her where I got them.  Another gal tells me that a group of ladies  are getting together later, going to the dollar theater to see a movie and invite me to go.  "What time?" I ask.  "8:15"    "I would love to come."  I then overhear the ladies chatting about carpooling together.  I ask who is going to drive and a few of the ladies begin chatting over each other, asking each other how many seats their car will hold.  One gal mentions,  "Oh, we'll come around and pick everybody up." 

I go home, excited about going on a GNO (Girl's Night Out) and getting to know these ladies better.  8:15 came and went.  I go to my neighbor's house two doors down to see if I could get a ride with her.  Her husband answers the door.  I ask if she has left for the movie.  He said that she had left.  Then it dawns on me..."Did the movie start at 8:15?"  "Yes...I'm so sorry," he says.  "Oh, it's no problem."

Really?  No problem?  I rarely go to movies, let alone with a group of people.  It's hard to lip read many of the actors and the background music always interferes with understanding the dialogue.  However, it was nice to be invited and I was looking forward to going.  My face becomes hot and my eyes begin to sting.  I try to fight back the tears as I am walking home.  I walk into my house and throw my purse onto the floor.  My husband asks what was wrong.  I simply tell him that the movie started at 8:15.  

I'm angry.  I'm not angry with the ladies who invited me.  They don't understand my hearing loss.  I'm not angry with myself for not making sure about the details.  I'm not angry with my husband, who is trying quietly to console me.  I'm angry that I cannot hear as well as everybody else.  Sometimes, I wish I didn't have to work so hard to fit in.  I wish I could hear better, enjoy conversations more and be able to relax and enjoy a movie without captions.  Occasionally, like tonight, I am reminded that I am unable to do some things and though I try to fight it, the tears will come.  "It is what it is," I tell myself, "and no one is to blame."  I can't change what happened.  It is a pity party of one, and no one is invited.  I allow myself to have this party and let the emotions come.  I know the party will be short and will come to an eventual end.  

That's the interesting part.  I have this ability to push through my emotions fairly quickly and begin the next day as if nothing had ever happened.  I don't hold grudges or worry about the "could'ves, would'ves, or should'ves."  Talking about my feelings helps, but no one, not my husband or kids, understands how it feels to be hearing impaired.  So, here I am writing about these feelings so I can look at tomorrow as a clean slate; another chance to start over.