Some of y’all know that I am hard of hearing. I wear hearing aids. I read lips. It isn’t something I hide or feel even an ounce of shame for. I function mostly normally for the severity of my loss. Hearing aids help a lot but they are far from perfect. I’ve found ways to cope with most of the difficult situations. In social situations I’m usually either dancing or bar tending.
I do struggle with movies or videos of any sort, usually. If I know the person, it’s easier to understand their lips and mannerisms. But most of the time in conference calls or any kind of video conference situation I’m stuck hoping that the notes and email/chat exchanges will shed light on topics so I don’t get too lost. It’s embarrassing, to be honest.
This has been a part of my life for a few months now. I’ve been doing training at work which is heavy in video/phone conferences. I’ve been complaining to my bosses about my extreme dislike for the trainings but even I hadn’t realized why until one of my bosses walked me through what the classes are like. And it hit me. He said, “Is that why you don’t like it?”
Tears instantly filled my eyes and I nodded. It hadn’t even occurred to me that the reason why these classes had been so awful was because of my hearing. I feel like an idiot sitting in the classes, unable to participate.
You can imagine how excited I was to see the #NoMoreVoicing movement!
This is a movement I can get behind. Captions are amazing. I love watching TV with no sound after my daughter goes to bed and even my husband admits he catches stuff he wouldn’t normally hear with captions on! My daughter loves reading along.
I’ve always felt responsible for making the things around me go well and the people around me happy. It is something I take a certain amount of pride in. This sense of responsibility is something that allows me a certain level of trust, respect and autonomy…and it wasn’t until recently that this responsibility started to feel heavy…crushing, even.
I once joked with my friends about how my cowgirl name should be “Wimpy-Ass-Cass” because I’m such a wuss about all things. The truth is, I’m not so much worried about falling off and doing something that kills me. Nah. Death doesn’t scare me much at all. What scares me most? Letting people down. The past couple of years have lead me to realize that my self worth is directly connected with my ability to take care of things for people. At least in my mind. So, you see, if I were to fall off a horse and end up unable to do anything, in my mind, I would be unworthy of love. Therefore I don’t have the freedom to be bold and wild and brave. It hasn’t bothered me much until recently but lately I’ve been getting a taste of what that Cassidy would look like…and I like her.
My horse trainer has been working on getting me comfortable at the lope on a horse. I tense up, I freak out. I can’t relax…until I can. The day I felt it was life altering for me. For a few blurry moments I was free of fear, free of responsibility. It was just me, the horse and the wind. And it was amazing. When I felt that, knew I needed more.
I remember the first time I read the quote above. I burst into tears. It felt like somebody hit me in the gut. But if I’m not carrying mountains, what is my life worth? And it’s weird because I’m at a place in my life where I’m suddenly surrounded by people who expect nothing more out of me than friendship. They don’t expect me to keep all of the plates spinning and to be the one holding everything together. And they support me even when I’m being wimpy and neurotic.
The other day I had a conversation with my best friend, Ellie, about how wonderfully uneasy this place in my life makes me and she said, “That makes sense. All your life you’ve had a job and now your only job is to be your authentic self.”
Bingo. She nailed it.