Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky is a well-known deaf poet who was born in Odessa. He was born hearing and eventually lost his hearing at four years old from mumps. His father’s death resulted in him expressing through in poetry. Interestingly, Ilya expressed that the sole reason for his love for poetry was that no one in his family knew English, and he felt it was a sense of freedom (Kaminsky, 2013). Ilya became a resident in New York during the year 1993.

In his book, Deaf Republic, the book reveals a tragedy during a protest which resulted in a soldier killing a young boy who happened to be deaf. It also affected the entire town and caused them all to become deaf. It becomes a drama series and will lead the readers to realize that disability has power. The whole anthology of poems is a story including a married couple who are expecting a baby and teaching signs daily, luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the scenes (Kaminsky, 2013). The book is unique because it includes sign language images throughout the pages. Two quotes that felt powerful from Kaminsky were, “Silence is the invention of the hearing, and the deaf do not believe in silence.” He also expressed what silence is like for deaf people throughout the book, which is vital for the readers to understand.

Here is one of the poems that I really think portrays a deaf person’s picture of witnessing a tragedy in its true sense. Reading these poems helps the reader imagine what it is like for those who experienced suffering through war and tragedy, like current events in Haiti, Ukraine, Palestine, and other countries that are not getting enough attention or support.

That Map of Bone and Opened Valves

I watched the Sergeant aim, the deaf boy takes iron and fire in his mouth- his face on the asphalt, that map of bone and opened valves. It is in the air. Something in the air wants us too much. The earth is still. The tower guards eat cucumber sandwiches. This first day soldiers examine the ears of bartenders, accountants, soldiers, the wicked things silence does to soldiers. They tear Gora’s wife from her bed like a door off a bus. Observe this moment – how it convulses – The body of the boy lies on the asphalt like a paperclip. The body of the boy lies on the asphalt like the body of a boy. I touch the walls, feel the pulse of the house, and I stare up wordless and do not know why I am alive. We tiptoe the city, Sonya and I, between theaters and gardens and wrought-iron gates – Be courageous, we say, but no one is courageous, as a sound we do not hear lifts the birds off the water.

-Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky’s Achievements

Bachelor’s Degree in political science

Georgetown University

JD Degree

University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.

Co-founded Poets for Peace

Author of “Dancing in Odessa,” which resulted in winning several awards

Author of “Deaf Republic,” winning National Book Critics Circle Award.

If you are interested in learning more about Ilya Kaminsky’s background and poetry, check out the link below.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/ilya-kaminsky

If you are interested in purchasing the Deaf Republic poetry book, you can order it through Amazon. Click on the link below or contact DeafandHOH to request borrowing the book.

https://a.co/d/3u7bSET


References:

Kaminsky, Ilya. (2013). Deaf Republic. Minneapolis, MN. Graywolf Press.

The world’s largest movie theater provides open captions NOW!

AMC theaters is the largest movie theater chain to provide open captions at 240 different locations in the United States (Treisman, 2021). AMC plans to continue moviegoer accessibility of closed caption screenings and electronic listening devices in many of its theaters (Treisman, 2021). Additionally, the movie theater chain will provide weekly showtimes for new releases to viewers who want to watch movies with open captioning (Treisman, 2021).

If you are interested in watching open captioned movies at your local AMC theater, you can download an app on the smartphone or check the website. If you are unsure whether your local area has an AMC theater, don’t fret! Click on the link at the bottom of this page to get help locating the closest movie theater in your state of residence. This comes with perfect timing for many deaf and hard of hearing Marvel Universe fans that want to watch the early November release, “Eternals” in theatres. The new Marvel movie includes deaf actress Lauren Ridloff, making her Marvel’s first deaf superhero (Treisman, 2021).

FLASHBACK TO THE PAST – 1990’s.

Many DHH are still looking forward to the day where they don’t have to advocate for themselves to watch unlimited videos with closed captions. And thanks to AMC, we may be halfway there! AMC theaters is the largest movie theater chain to provide open captions at 240 different locations in the United States (Treisman, 2021). Did you know “The Caption Center” was the United States’ first captioning agency (Allen, 2015)? Closed captioning became widespread with the rebroadcasts of Julia Child’s television show “The French Chef.” Julia Child was the first to rebroadcast a show with closed-captioning in an attempt to be more inclusive of deaf and hard of hearing viewers watching from home (Allen, 2015). The Federal Communications Commission was established in 1972 and is a non-profit national captioning institute that provides access to closed captioning (Allen, 2015). It wasn’t until 1990 that “The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990″ went into effect, requiring all televisions to have caption decoders (Allen, 2015). However, television programs were still able to exclude captioning from commercials so long as they ran less than five minutes (Allen, 2015). They were also allowed to exclude captioning if the programs ran between the hours of two to four in the morning. Programs having the ability to opt-out of captioning has made it difficult for DHH individuals to enjoy watching television with captions for more than thirty years.

30 YEARS > PANDEMIC

Although closed-captioning has been around since the 1990s, it is not yet a standard for public places such as; movie theaters, bars, restaurants, and open public events. It is slowly becoming widespread and that is wonderful for people with disabilities. Closed captioning provides language acquisition, improves reading skills, and improves receptive skills. With the increase in online consumers over the past thirty years, it can be difficult for DHH consumers to enjoy things like social media to the fullest. Many online videos do not include closed-captioning, including those that come from media outlets. Since the pandemic hit, many people have opted to stay home and use social media as a digital platform to connect and share videos with others. However, a lot of these videos are inaccessible due to the lack of captioning included in them. Thankfully, some digital platforms like Instagram have responded to this influx of online users by providing captioning in the video creation process. Instagram will review the video and add captions as an overlay before users submit the final video for upload. Accessibility continues to evolve, reduce barriers, and provide opportunities for those with disabilities including deaf and hard of hearing consumers. While the pandemic brought about a lot of barriers and obstacles, it also helped digital platforms recognize potential changes they could make to some of their features for captioning, like Instagram.

What is the difference between open captions and closed captions?

Open captioning is always on the screen and the person watching does not have access to turn it off whenever they please. Differently, closed captioning can be turned on and off by the person watching the screen. Open captioning is beneficial for everyone since it is universally designed (UW, 2021). For instance, it’s helpful for noisy environments, people who speak a different language than the original content, and people who struggle with speaking (UW, 2021).

DID YOU KNOW…

People who work as stenocaptioners or captioners make more than $100,000 a year (Allen, 2015)? They are responsible for maintaining high quality captions without making any mistakes.

AMC Local Theater


References:

Rachel Treisman. 2021. The world’s largest movie theater is adding open captions at 240 U.S. locations.

Scott Allen. 2015. A Brief History of Closed Captioning.

University of Washington. 2021. What is the difference between open and closed captioning?

What is Dinner Table Syndrome?

Many deaf and hard of hearing children come from hearing families in which the majority do not know sign language. Consider the experience a deaf individual might have compared to a hearing individual at the dinner table. As a result of this, many DHH people struggle to gain regular access to socialization and communication in their daily lives. Imagine a group of people starting to laugh uncontrollably at the table while a deaf individual questions themselves and asks the nearest person, “What’s so funny?” Often, they will receive a response like, “Oh, it’s nothing” or “I’ll tell you later.” This type of social interaction could lead anyone to experience the depths of isolation and frustration.

According to Sara Novic, “Deaf people have a term for the isolation that grows out of being surrounded by non-signing hearing people: ‘Dinner Table Syndrome’ ” (2016). Many hearing families do not realize they are contributing to language deprivation and inaccessibility to their deaf relatives. Dr. Henner, a deaf assistant professor at the University of North Carolina stated, “People learn language and get information not only from direct teaching but also indirect exposure” (Novic, 2016). Hearing children are exposed to things like background noises that constantly reinforce their language abilities— while deaf children do not always have the same privilege. Since many families do not sign, deaf children are deprived of important information that may be happening around them, such as background conversations. Many DHH children may recluse themselves by going off in their room to read or watch television. It’s become easier for DHH children to excuse themselves and interact virtually rather than experience things like family time and forming deeper connections with others face-to-face.

For many families, the upcoming holidays are perfect for catching up and spending time with one another. But for some DHH individuals, this time spent with family can leave them feeling full of dread and isolation. It’s important to note that communication with deaf relatives is still possible for families that do not know sign language. Perhaps they are just not familiar with some of the basic accommodations that can be made during these gatherings. For instance, using gestures can go a long way. And with a lot of relatives watching television during the holidays, it’s important to be mindful if the big game or holiday parade is on to include deaf guests (NDC, 2019). The most important thing you can do is to turn on the closed captioning on the television before guests arrive (NDC, 2019). If you do not know how to turn closed captioning on, you can ask a deaf guest when they arrive. They will appreciate your consideration and efforts to include them. By simply adding captions, families can “help deaf people follow what is happening on the television, especially in a noisy or busy environment” (NDC, 2019). Another accommodation for families to consider is pitching in funds to hire an interpreter (NDC, 2019). This could be an exciting experience for everyone involved—and who knows, maybe hearing relatives can learn some new signs. And if hiring an interpreter is not possible, there are still other options available such as speech-to-text services (NDC, 2019). Speech to text is an app which is similar to common tech devices like Siri or Alexa. It can translate what is  being said to text.

Understanding the importance of language deprivation is critical in helping families recognize the problems faced by their deaf relatives and friends. Families can work toward solving these problems by providing the support and accommodations necessary to include deaf relatives. By familiarizing oneself with the different accommodations available to DHH individuals, it should be much easier for hosts of gatherings to create an enjoyable experience for all.


References:

NDC. (2019). A Holiday for the Whole Family: Tips to Include Deaf Guests.

Sara Novic. (2016). Why ‘Dinner Table Syndrome’ is getting worse for deaf people.

Four Degrees of Hearing Loss, Part 1: Navigating Mild Hearing Loss in a Hearing World

Affects of Mild Hearing Loss

Mild hearing loss affects about 25 million people in the United States (source), and is the least debilitating of the four degrees of hearing loss – the others being moderate, severe, and profound. Hearing loss is usually categorized in terms of decibel receptivity. A person who cannot hear sounds of 25 decibels (as loud as whispering or rustling leaves) to 40 decibels (quiet ambient noise in a library or urban environment) may identify as having mild hearing loss.

Erwan’s Experience with His Hearing Loss

Until his recent (mild hearing loss) diagnosis from an ENT specialist, Erwan, 28, thought that his difficulty in noisy crowds, his loud speaking voice, and his slight reliance on lip-reading were typical experiences. Getting hearing aids made a fast difference in how he adapted to situations where hearing might be an issue. “I must have had this [hearing loss] since I was a kid without realizing it,” Erwan, 28, says. “I’ve always been able to adapt and deal with it.” Receiving his first pair of Phonak hearing aids in March 2021 helped Erwan rediscover small sounds, like the bass in a song or the boiling of a pot of water. For Erwan, getting hearing aids was “one of the best things to happen to me this year!”

Jordan’s Experience with Her Hearing Loss

Meanwhile, Jordan, 30, has been wearing hearing aids for the past four years. As a professional with mild-moderate sensorineural hearing loss, she often needs to make careful decisions on how best to navigate in a certain situation. Is there a place she can stand in a crowded room where the surrounding conversations will be least overwhelming? Will she be able to wear behind-the-ear hearing aids, glasses, and a mask all at the same time, or is it better to pick the invisible-in-canal aids of a slightly lower quality?

Although Jordan greatly benefits from hearing aids, she wants people to know that the common parallel between glasses and hearing aids isn’t completely accurate. A pair of glasses will clarify a blurry object, but hearing aids are meant to amplify, not clarify; a mumble will just become a somewhat louder mumble. In addition, quiet noises brought to focus by hearing aids can quickly become exhausting or overstimulating. “No matter which way I slice it, wear my aids or don’t, I end up cognitively more tired than I used to after social interactions,” Jordan says.

Complications They Both Faced

For both Erwan and Jordan, the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the difficulty of navigating conversations without the ability to lipread, and neither of them were aware of the extent they relied on it until people’s faces were covered with masks. Still, even before realizing their hearing loss, they have been able to adapt and cope in a hearing world.

Questions

Do you have questions about the benefits of hearing aids, or are you wondering about how to deal with masks in a post-COVID world? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for quick answers, or reach out on our community Facebook page for resources and advice.

The Camp

As a child of the 70s, having been born in ’72, growing up was a huge learning experience, not just for myself, but for my family, my friends, my school, my job(s), but especially for myself. Back then, I was unique because I had a disability that not many people knew about, much less understood. I was born with a severe hearing loss due to the results of birth complications. During the ’70s, and perhaps into the ’80s, those with some form of hearing loss or deafness would be sent to a school for the deaf. In Maine, there was only one such school, and it was called Baxter School of the Deaf.

My parents wouldn’t have any of it. They refused to send me somewhere so far away. The only time I’d ever see them was during the weekends, if that. They fought for me to stay home and go to public school in our area, and miracously, with the help of several doctors, speech therapists, etc, they won the right to keep me home and send me to public school.

As I said, it was a learning experience. Not only did I had to adjust to a life with hearing loss, but so do others had to adjust to a child with a hearing loss. Thankfully, my mother made sure that I lived a “normal” life, a life that would be considered the life of a “hearing person”. Among those I still count as friends are kids, and now adults, who had perfect hearing all their lives. If I did not have those guys as friends, I’d have been very, very alone indeed, because of the simple fact that there were no kids my age who had the same disability I did.

One such experience I will relate to you now. A few years after my parents found out of my severe hearing loss, when I was but a wee kid probably still sucking my thumb, my parents decided maybe I would benefit from meeting kids who had the same issues I had. Deafness. Hard of hearing. So my father took a day off from work, and hightailed it up north with myself and my mother in tow to a Camp for the Deaf Children.

Little did I know that I would remember this experience for the rest of my life.

We arrived at the camp, and to all appearances, everything looked normal. People were normal. Kids were normal. The campgrounds were normal. Everything was just fine and dandy. My eyes probably lit up then, seeing all the fun things I could do for three, maybe four months! 

We were ushered into a room and spoke with a guidance counselor. And then he showed us around on the camp grounds. As we walked around, we passed building after building where the kids would sleep or stay inside during rainy days. As chance would have it, it had just rained about an hour before our arrival, and the children did not yet leave their bunks. 

Have you ever seen an old black and white film where a car would be cruising a dirty old neighberhood, and kids would be standing in their doorways, just staring distrustfully at the car as it drives by? That an ominous silence filled the air, only to be shattered by the voice of the counselor as he introduced us to other counselors, or when he showed us around? It was like a scene straight out of a horror movie, to be honest. 

I thought I was home. I thought I was with kids who are…Just. Like. Me. But it was furthest from the truth. You see, I am hard of hearing, not completely deaf. Strike one against me on that one. I did not learn sign language, having been able to communicate just fine with other kids my age. Strike two against me. And finally, I was an outsider, regardless of our mutual disabilities. Strike three.

People with deafness, they are empaths. We can read lips. We can read body language. And kids? Well kids are honest to a fault. And their body language was so plain and open to see. I was not wanted. I was an outsider. And I felt every stare, every distrustful stare that day. I broke down and cried that day, so powerful were the emotions I felt emanating from the children in their houses of wood. 

My parents took me out of that camp as fast as their feet could go. They knew what I saw. They felt what I saw. And I never attempted to do that again, never. Ever. Again.

Here’s the thing I learned since. I am thankful for my parents with what they did. They did not shelter me from the world, as cruel as it is. They did not inhibit me by defining me as a child of deafness. They chose to treat me as their son, a child, a child who loves to play ball. Who loves his video games. Who loves to read and write, and play games with his friends. They did not let my disability affect my happiness; they would not allow me to let my disability define who I am. And what I am.

Because of that, I was much better able to deal with the real world as a consequence. Did I have some problems as I became an adult (and afterwards?) Certainly! No matter what, there will always be ignorant, selfish, uneducated people who will judge you no matter what. But I was better able to deal with such things, and still retain a semblance of a “hearing person’s” life.

It’s okay to have friends and acquantainces from all walks of life. It’s okay to accept your deafness as a part of yourself, and it’s okay to mingle and mix with people of different race, color, religion, and last but not least, with people who can or cannot hear. 

I don’t let my deafness define me. I define who I am, me alone. And you know what taught me to do that? Walking in a camp of deaf kids changed that. 

Morale of the story? Don’t let anyone or anything define who you are. You are who you want to be.

Living In Between

When most people look at me, they probably don’t see my hearing aids. They probably don’t know that I struggle with comprehending a spoken conversation. They most definitely don’t know that I am juggling life between two worlds.

Many of us in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community wear hearings aids or cochlear implants, however, this doesn’t mean we can understand every spoken word. With my hearing aids, I simply hear more noise. The noise itself is not distinguishable between rushing wind and someone shouting my name from far away.

From the time I was five years old and I received my first hearing aids, I was encouraged to “be hearing.” I went to speech therapy but was never introduced to American Sign Language. I didn’t even know the Deaf community existed, until I was in high school. While my parents weren’t supportive of me attending the American School for the Deaf, I could take ASL classes. It was there that a passion was born. I finally found a place where I wasn’t an outcast. I wasn’t the only one who was different. I could breathe.

I remember when I was in elementary school trying so hard to fit in. I purposely left my hearing aids at home, “forgot” my FM unit in the audiologist office and must have done the Deaf Nod a million times a day. I always felt like the odd ball. The misfit. I was constantly fighting what made me different – unique. I didn’t want to be that way. I wanted to be like everyone else, you know, normal. It didn’t become painfully apparent that I would never be normal until I was in high school.

My high school experience was not a good one. Honestly, I’d rather pretend those four years never happened. Not only were students picking on me for not being able to hear them, teachers did it too. They could be in earshot of someone bullying me and wouldn’t say a word until I retaliated. The one memory that is forever burned is when one of them called me a retard. That word haunted me and still does sometimes. Any time I wanted to try something new, his voice would echo in the back of my mine until I decided not to try. I had started to believe that word was synonymous with my name.

Since no one in my family learned ASL, I was forced into a life of lip reading everyone all the time. Whenever I went home after school, I rarely wanted to have a conversation because my energy was often tapped out. I’d go to my room, crawl into a comfy chair and read a book. In those fictional lands, I didn’t have to work as hard to understand what was going on. If I missed something, all I had to do was turn back a page or two. Whereas in a real-life conversation, I was always lost. If I had to ask, “What did you say?” more than once, I usually just read their facial expressions to figure out how I should react. It got to the point where sometimes, I was 100% guessing during a conversation.

During the pandemic, I have been guessing all the time. My insecurity is now through the roof! I can no longer hide my hearing level as well I used to. I have started to use alternative methods for communication among general public like Sprint IP Relay and typing my food/drink orders in my phone. Lip reading and facial expressions were the skills I could use to understand what I couldn’t hear. Now, I have less to work with when figuring out the correct response to a question or statement. Every Deaf and Hard of Hearing person would probably agree to this, I can’t wait till we no longer have to wear masks in public!

While hearing aids allow me to hear sounds, I can’t otherwise hear, this means many people I encounter think I am hearing. Since they assume that I am hearing due to what I can understand and my speech, I have always been embarrassed whenever I need to ask, “What did you say?” I am positive that they will think less of me, if I told them the truth. In reality, I think of myself as less than. Not good enough. Subpar. Don’t get me wrong, the bullies from high school and others I have run into over the years who have said, “Never mind” or looked down on me, played a part. Those looks, words and vibes chipped away at my self-esteem, as I grew older. I hardly thought of myself as successful or worth anything. This is something I still struggle with.

So, when it came time to move almost halfway across the country to start my own life, that mentality followed me into every kind of relationship. Whether it was trying to find a job, friends, boyfriend, or roommate, I was constantly second guessing myself. When they looked at my hearing aids, they automatically saw what I couldn’t do, instead of what I could do. Eventually, I met individuals who saw my potential, my worth, my essence as something to be cherished instead of frowned upon. In an effort to acknowledge my own self-worth, I have a mantra. I am a Black Deaf Queen who deserves to have space to be me. I will accept nothing less. I can do anything, except hear.

What My First Job Taught Me

I still remember my very first interview at Marcus Theaters, Westown Cinemas in Waukesha, WI. I was in high school then, and my mom took me to a movie theater that was only five minutes from our house. While she waited in the lobby area near the concession stand, I went into a small office for an interview with the manager.

He hired me on the spot as an usher.

I learned what really happens behind-the-scenes in a movie theater. I worked with other ushers to keep the lobby and theaters clean before, during, and after each show. I swept away popcorn, ripped tickets, and helped out at the concession stand. Better yet, I had the power to kick people out who tried sneaking in without a ticket.

It was a fun experience–but I faced some challenges. The other ushers bullied me. They gave me the most boring jobs, like keeping track of tickets when customers entered the lobby. It was just like middle school, when I was teased because of my hearing loss and being a minority.

I kept my chin up and refused to let it bother me. Eventually, the managers noticed I was great at greeting customers and made sure the other ushers treated me fairly. Their approval and consideration made me work hard and improve, despite the social obstacles.

Eventually, I received enough positive feedback from moviegoers that I became an employee of the month. I never felt so proud to earn that recognition–at my first job, no less!

By stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a job that intimidated me, I reached a milestone I never would have considered.

I hope you all find my first job an inspiration to try something new–even if it scares you. Thanks for reading!

Edited by Stephanie Stott, Staff Writer

Rebranding DeafandHoH.com for our community

As our website continue to expand with over 11,000 members in our Facebook community, we are re-branding our logo to serve both deaf and hard of hearing individuals worldwide.

As I mentioned before, I started the hearing loss website back in 2008 because I always felt like an outsider and not having many friends while growing up with mild to moderate hearing loss. Back in the school days, it was always a challenge to make new friends and found myself outside of the social circle.

I worked with our talented designer, Autumn Wallace, to create a new logo for our branding. She used the “I Love You’ sign and that reminds me of all the challenges I faced wanting to be cared about from others. Even though I am a non-signer, I feel this sign is commonly recognized by hearing, deaf, and hard of hearing individuals all around the world.  It’s a symbol that represent love. I want everyone to feel loved and cared about in a community unlike how I felt feeling isolated between the two worlds. The squares represent unity and digital technology as we establish this community online with a wide social media presence.

deafandhoh site logo

The mission of DeafandHoH is to empower the hearing loss community by promoting confident social interaction and open communication. We will continue to work hard and make this a great place for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The milestone of 10,000 members

I would like to personally share some exciting news. We have finally reached the milestone of 10,000 members in our online hearing loss community with DeafandHoH. I’ve had mild to moderate hearing loss all of my life, and have always felt like an outsider and as if I don’t have many friends. Those feelings were my inspiration for starting a hearing loss community.

Thank you to all of our past student interns who have contributed to make our hearing loss website a great place for the deaf and hard of hearing community. We have had many students from Ohio University, the University of Dayton, and other colleges over the years. Without your contribution and involvement, we would not have gotten as far as we are today.

Last summer, I unexpectedly lost my job for no reason and faced another road block in my life. I will continue to advocate for others who are treated unfairly and are isolated in the outside world. I will continue to share my stories, frustrations, and achievements. Lastly, I will continue to reach out to the stars and all my dreams will come true no matter what roadblocks I encounter again.

I am confident our community will expand to become bigger than ever. The more we have, the stronger we are. Just remember, you’re not alone in this world.

I appreciate each and everyone in the hearing loss community, the friends who are still my friends today, and especially my parents who always been supportive and always there for me.

I love you all and thank you for reading.

Nothing Personal is Personal

It was just another normal day at work on Friday, July 28. I was feeling positive while taking on a graphic design request assigned to me. I always showed the willingness to contribute in other areas with my broad experience and creative talent whenever I could. At noon, my manager sent me a chat message asking if I would be around at 1 p.m.  He didn’t give an explanation, so out of curiosity I checked out his calendar—there was a meeting titled “Employee Action” at that time. I wondered what that meant as I walked over to my manager and asked if everything was okay. He briefly mentioned there was nothing to worry about, so that was a relief. I was thinking maybe it was a promotion or something good, since I had always been a hard worker. But instead, the unexpected happened like an asteroid falling on me out of nowhere. I was called in to see the HR manager whom I never met before. The HR manager told me I was being terminated. I wasn’t given any good reason for this.  I asked, “Am I being fired?” The only answer I received was, “No, nothing personal.” I was told this was a marketing department decision and that my skills weren’t needed anymore. Well, that was a vague response. Everything was personal to me in this case and I did not see it coming at all.  The digital team was expanding and more of my expertise was beneficial in the days to come as mentioned. I’ve always gotten positive feedback and recognition on my work. Nobody was being laid off in the marketing department and I kept asking the reason “why”? The HR manager and my manager were only interested to take away my ID badge and bring any personal belongings I had. I could not even return back to my desk. My manager walked me out of the building and treated me like a complete stranger. I have never been treated so badly by any company I worked with over the years. I felt deeply insulted and, even more, cheated like everything was an act. Just like that, one sunny afternoon, I lost my job that I worked so hard to get 17 months ago. Later, I learned I was possibly wrongfully terminated because they had hired another person to take over my role a week later. I had a taste of how Corporate America and management operate, particularly in big companies. It can happen to anyone and the world isn’t always a friendly place. It’s filled with politics. Unfortunately, it happened to me.

Even though this experience has really emotionally impacted me during the past couple of months, I have been trying to stay positive. Yes, thinking about beginning the job search process again is difficult. Yes, I have had dreams while sleeping of going back to work and being treated like an outsider by co-workers as I dealt all of my life growing up because of my hearing loss. But I’m also reminded of why I started all of this in the first place. This experience is why I continue to expand my hearing loss website, write a novel reaching out to the world, and share my personal experience in every part of my life. I will continue to advocate for others who are treated unfairly and isolated in the outside world. Someday I will reach the stars and all my dreams will come true, no matter what roadblocks I encounter. Sharing my stories, frustrations, and achievements is the best cure to move forward. That’s what I have been doing all along here in my blog.

Thank you all for reading and your support. New beginnings and good things are to come.

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