Like how waves overlap with sand: I am a (deaf) woman.
I could tell you my story if I wanted to. And don't worry. I will.
But because experiences are relative, some of you will think I’ve had it tough, while others of you will think I’ve had it easy. Both of you would be right though, because like many women and many men, my life has had good bits and bad bits in it. Often simultaneous, overlapping with each other like how waves overlap with sand. Different textures perhaps, but both there, present, co-existing at the same time.
It's called living, I suspect.
There’s a risk however that comes with telling your story, if you tell it to the wrong type of people. A tragedy, whereby others come to define which parts of your existence are bad and which parts are good. A danger if you will, that they will attach labels to you that you may not agree with yourself: “disabled,” for example, or “tragic,” with all their subsequent implications of victimhood and inability.
I'm deaf, for example. And so:
“Poor you,” people might say. “Your life is hard,” they’ll observe, willingly painting me with a brush.
Well yes. I suppose it might be, but only insofar as I face the same challenges as anyone else in my mostly privileged situation of growing up Australian. There’s only one little difference. My deafness.Which requires extra stuff to be dealt with, sure. Just mostly with humour, irony, and a nice serving of drollness. Besides, people forget about the good things. The great people I’ve met, the different types of communication I’ve tried, the new perspectives I’ve learnt. With the right support and education for people with a disability, there’s a wonderfulness in being the “same but different”. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Stories are good. Sharing is wonderful. Collectively coming together even better. There’s nothing like finding commonalities and motivation among others locally and worldwide to reassure ourselves about our paths, beliefs and progress, and to be inspired and help others help themselves. But only in places like WorldPulse, which seek to create empowered, active women - with or without disability. That’s why I am here.
“I am a 28-year old Australian woman, born of a mother and father. Younger sister to my older sister, twin sister to my brother, sister-in-law to my brother-in-law, aunty to my nephew, partner to a loving man. Lover of travel, advocator of free speech, champion of access to communications for people with a disability, marketer, coffee drinker, and vegetarian. I am a deaf woman - fortunate enough to have had wonderful support and encouragement. Hear me roar”.
On WorldPulse that is.
So there’s my story. A celebration. A life that is mine. A gift that I love.
Roar. With me.