I don’t watch much TV so I don’t follow many of the shows that people watch. The day after Mandy Harvey performed on America’s Got Talent I knew about her. How? Four different people sent me a link to her performance and said, “Cass, you HAVE to see this!”
And I watched, tears streaming down my face. This woman.
Over the years I’ve come to terms with my hearing loss. Coming to terms with it doesn’t mean I feel any less resentment for it. I never hide my loss or my experience but the resentment I feel every time I put my hearing aids in is strong. I can feel that little prickle in the back of my throat every time it comes up and while it hurts a lot less to think about now. It still hurts.
Her song, Try, has one particular lyric that struck me hard. “I don’t live the way I want to. That whole picture never came into view. And I’m tired of getting used to the day.”
After hearing that song and really letting myself feel that lyric I realized that my acceptance has also been complacency. While I have no desire to go back into much, I am absolutely tired of my complacency. I decided to go out and purchase a ukulele and learn it without any expectations. I was surprised how fun it was and immediately set out to learn Mandy Harvey’s song.
I told a good friend about an idea I had. Every year my parents host a big party with a talent show. I thought it would be fun to play Try and have my friend sign along with me. It was symbolic to me in many ways. shedding my complacency and putting myself out there…and having the sign language along was a big part of not only accepting the situation but also allowing it to give me strength. I almost backed out. “It’ll be too sad.” said somebody. “You’ll bring the party down.” said another. But my friend came and urged me to do it.
I can’t describe how meaningful this experience was to me. It was just on a silly little stage in front of mostly friends and family but it was empowering beyond belief.
Mandy Harvey has also written a book called Sensing the Rhythm: Finding my voice in a world without sound. That has also been changing my life. She speaks about her journey with such succinct truth. I find myself nodding and crying along. It’s so personal, I almost wonder if a hearing person would feel the same way. I keep trying to find excerpts that are especially important and can’t chose one without the other. I encourage you to read this book if only to marvel at what she has done. But also to seek understanding about people of all different abilities.