By: Sara Lundquist
About a year ago I wrote about advocating for myself and how I need to work on that aspect of my life, well lots of areas. I have found that this is not an easy task, and I have found this takes time. and also make peace with myself and acceptance. In college I was part of a group or a cause. I will go to meetings and pay dues and make posters and be all for helping a cause. I have found the hard part becomes when the person you are trying to help or advocate is yourself. It seems like there is a neon sign over your head and I don’t want it lit up. I sure hope this isn’t a common thing with many people, but it is with me at times.
A few weeks ago we were invited to a game night at a young couples house. I was excited to be invited, and my daughter and I ended up going. Including us there was 4 families there. There are a couple people at the game night that know of my hearing loss and many did not, including the hosts. I debated do I say something, do I tell them in the kitchen before we play games. I knew not letting people know that I need to see people when they talk and so on would hinder the night. I made a mountain out of a mole hill in my mind and I stayed quiet.
Because I stayed quiet I ruined the first part of the night for myself. The first game was about song lyrics. Are you serious, it couldn’t get worse. I have never been able to understand that many song lyrics since a child. That is one of the first things my husband noticed when we first dated. I didn’t understand what songs were about, I didn’t hear enough of the lyrics just mainly listened to the music. The game was you split in teams a word was said and you go back and forth saying lyrics that contain that word till a team can’t think of one. My first mistake was I took the card and looked at the word we were now thinking of. I don’t understand what the big deal was but one person yelled you can’t look at the card, we all heard it. I dropped that card so fast and I could tell my face was beat red. I wanted to crawl in the couch. The next problem began when I started thinking I really stink at this game I need to contribute. I finally thought of some lyrics so I yelled them out. Whoops our team just thought of one so now the other teams turn. I gave them a point. One team member got upset that I gave the other team a point. Well needless to say I was feeling mighty low. I remained silent the rest of the game and our team lost. I wanted to leave but my daughter was having a great time. I ventured to the kitchen to look at the snacks and a friend came up to me gave me a hug and said they felt really bad for me and that game. They agreed it was a very hard game to follow especially if you couldn’t hear all what was said. Next game was a card game. It was great, 4 people sitting around a table. I did mention something to the fact that I don’t have the best hearing but that was about it at this point. I kicked myself of not saying something at the beginning. The night ended great. Now I need to change.
I need to advocate for myself. I need to get myself in the mindset that I am worth it. No one cares that I wear hearing aids and they may have to repeat something. So why is it so hard to say something. Why do I feel that neon light is blinking above my head. So once again this will be a resolution for 2016 and my whole life. I advocate for causes, my children, my husband, I need to include me. When I am with a friend that happens to be hard of hearing and our families get together I feel so at ease. I don’t need to pretend, I can be myself completely. She gets it, her husband gets it, my family does it just feels great. Peas in a pod, or birds of a feather they all mean this feeling. Find people that understand and with the friends you have try to explain let them know, let them into your life.
I can’t wait to meet and be with more people that get it. I hope to soak in the confidence, experience and advice they can give me. This year I want to take time for me, stand up for me, and become a better me.