“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
– James A Froude
There are several different labels used to describe a person; there are familial titles, society standards and occupations on one hand, on the other gender, heritage, and character. It’s easy enough to accept how we may appear to complete strangers - that is until we’re giving a box or a few lines asking us to describe ourselves. Suddenly we feel almost godlike when we’re given the ability to pick and choose what we wish to define us.
I’ve always found definitions limiting. How can anyone possibly grasp the bigger picture of who you are from a few short stipulating words? It takes time to see all the facets of what makes someone unique. Taking that into consideration, one of the words I use to describe myself easily besides a writer is - deaf. Anyone that has read me for any length of time knows it’s been a learning process to own up to that.
For new readers who may be curious and afraid of offending by asking; no I wasn’t always deaf. I grew up hearing impaired. The nerve damage to both of my ears would continue to destroy what hearing I had, until my impending deafness five years ago. I’ve had people say to me, “I can’t imagine what that must be like.” Neither could I, until it happened. I can honestly say nothing could ever fully prepare someone for that kind of life changing loss.
People have used words such as courageous and inspiring to describe me. I don’t get it. Why? Anyone else in the same situation would have found a way, to do whatever they needed to get through each day. It’s human nature to adapt. Without getting into the issues I faced, let’s just say five years later it’s still a learning process. I refused to take it lying down and found a way to communicate and exist in a hearing world.
So what does this have to do with writing - everything and maybe to someone else nothing at all. Words gave my silence voice, strength, compassion and life. Writing allowed me to be on an even pedestal with everyone else. The same passion I apply to my writing, is not unlike that which I overcame my insecurities with my deafness.
Here on these pages, I’m considered no different than you or anyone else. I still face obstacles with my deafness even in a writing capacity. Conferences and writing seminars are rather difficult under the circumstances. So maybe I have to work a little harder to get where I want to be. To me it just makes it that much more rewarding. I’m no different than anyone else, not really, not here or in life.
Find something you’re passionate enough about and willing to sacrifice for and you’ll find a dream in the making. That last sentiment is anyone’s choice.
Food for thought – When you pick up a conch shell on the beach and put it to your ear, do you hear the ocean? I do, in the sand beneath my feet as it crashes to the shore, in the tangy salt air wafting up my nostrils, in the cold spill of bubbling water and foam spreading across the sand, and in the slimy tendrils of seaweed wrapped around my ankles. I hear the ocean with everything I am. It’s the same way I approach life and my writing.
The question isn’t what defines you; rather how passionate are you about life? I’ll leave you with a quote by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, "I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”
Picture found here