Who Am I? Part 1

I’m just an ordinary guy.

Born in northern California and raised in the southern deserts of Arizona. This life of mine so far at 27 years old has been a ride, and it’s not even close to being over!

Like everyone, I have my struggles and past experiences, and like everyone, I have my triumphs and achievements. Everything in life is relative, in my opinion. I may go sky diving and love it, but my mother may go sky diving and absolutely hate it (she really would!). It’s relative though because it’s the same experience with two different outcomes (or perspectives). I hope you will all remember this as you continue to read my posts. Everything I’ve gone through is in my own experience and cannot be compared to anyone else.

I’m Deaf!

Okay, well, more like I’m hearing impaired, I can still talk, hear, and hold conversations with people (whether those conversations are normal or weird, it varies haha!). My family learned this when I was three years old. I’ve been told a few stories about how this came to be, but I’ll share my favorite.

One fine day when I was a wee little three year old kinderling, I was sent off to a daycare center. A place many kids go whether they lived with a single parent or both. I just happened to live with my mother. Now, back in the early and mid 90’s, the deaf community was still dealing with new inventions in technology that affected the public perception of them. A test that many schools and daycare centers performed was to line up all the kids facing a wall. They then proceeded to bang two pots together and see who turned around!

This story makes me laugh for a few reasons. First, HA! good luck getting those kids to sit still! Secondly, if I saw everyone turning around I would’ve turned around too, kids are naturally curious! Lastly, my paternal grandmother was pretty old when she told me this, so maybe she’s right and never forgets a thing or she’s just silly (I’ll admit, it’s probably both). LOVE YOU GRANDMA!

Two things happened for me since that day. First, I was sent to an audiologist and it was determined that hearing aids would be the best option. Second, remember the deaf community perception issues I mentioned earlier, it was strongly suggested that I attend a public hearing school, instead of the local deaf and blind school, and be taught to speak properly.

I admit it! I have the BEST of BOTH WORLDS! But when you’re torn being two different worlds, it’s a real bitch trying to figure out who you are, and who you want to be. I struggled with this more in my early college years, but we’ll get there.

Being hearing impaired really affected me growing up for a number of reasons. I was removed from class everyday between 1st and 5th grade for speech lessons so other kids thought I was special (not always in a good way). I was bullied and picked on by other kids, For example, refer to the picture below. For blind readers: the picture is a person wearing a box, no bigger than an average adult hand, like a backpack on backwards. Can you imagine wearing that day in and day out around a bunch of 1st and 2nd graders? The jokes are endless! “Hey robot! Are your batteries running low?”, “What would happen if i touched this button?” *turns off device*, etc. As an adult, I honestly find these quite funny, but as a kid, they were hurtful! I was constantly reminded that I was different and being different then, was not praised as much as it is now.

I grew up in a small town. For those of you who know what that’s like, you know that growing up with the same people for years means that bullying somewhat fades away, it almost changes to a completely different term so to speak. I’m sorry if that wasn’t the case for all of you. After elementary levels, the bullying stopped and I was generally accepted by those around me. I was well known and respected because I played sports, I was in band, etc. I had friends from just about every clique. This as you may learn later, affected me for years after high school.

If you’ve read this to the end here, I am super thankful to you for sticking through my rambling. I hope I stayed on topic. Please carry on to the next Part if you want to learn more about who I am and what I’ve experienced in life that makes me, well, me. Who Am I Part 2 is next. Warning: it is not a happy post.

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