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It’s Mine, I Own It

From what I understand, there is a lot of talk in various disability-advocacy groups to change the way people talk about disabilities and disabled people in general. I’m 100% sure I just broke all of their rules with that last sentence, and I DON’T CARE.

I am disabled. I have severe, nearing on profound hearing loss. Unless you have my attention and I can see your mouth moving, I can’t hear you. Sometimes not even then.

It’s fucking embarrassing, actually. It really is. Not being able to hear is the most bullshit ‘invisible’ disability I can think of. Because people can’t see it (unless they really look closely at my ears), they assume it’s not there, or that I’m exaggerating.

I am fucking NOT.

I’ve worn hearing aids since I was 30, and I’d been losing my hearing since well before that. The only reason I got hearing aids in the first place was because I was about to have a baby and thought it would be a good idea to be able to hear it. Otherwise, I probably would have continued to put it off until I had thoroughly irritated everyone by saying “what?”

[Speaking of saying “what?” let me just say that if I happen to mention to you that I am hearing-impaired and you respond with “what?” in an attempt to make a joke, you’d better pray to the old gods and the new that you get me on a good day or I will fucking eviscerate you. Would you limp around the room in a jokey way if someone told you they had a club foot? No, you fucking would not. So don’t come at me with the world’s shittiest non-joke and think I’m going to let you get away with it. I might, but you don’t know for sure, do you?]

So I got hearing aids. I fucking hate them. Like, I really, truly, fucking HATE and RESENT them. I really cannot put it into words, but the day will come when the rest of my age cohort catches up with me and you all have to get them too and THEN WE’LL SEE.

Mine are pink. Because if I have to wear them, then they’re going to be as awesome as I can make them and the company who makes mine doesn’t offer them in purple or sparkles or ones that light up. So pink it is.

Anyway, I call them ‘hearing aids.’ Some of the language surrounding them wants people to call them ‘hearing instruments’ but fuck that. Adding syllables to the term doesn’t make it any better. Hearing aids. Learn it, live it, know it.

I also consider myself ‘hearing-impaired.’ I was recently lectured by someone who took offense to that term. I asked her if she was ‘hearing-impaired’ herself and she said oh no, but that the “community” “prefers” other terms such as ‘hard-of-hearing’ or some shit. Apparently, “impaired” implies damage of some sort and she went on in this vein for awhile but I got bored and tuned her out because what the actual fuck, lady? It’s *my* disability and I will call it whatever the fuck I want. I occasionally refer to myself as a Cute Deaf Lady and hooo boy some of the people don’t like that.

Fuck that. I have to live with it. I can talk about it however I like. It’s mine, I own it.

Also, “community?” What the shit? It’s not like a bunch of people with hearing aids get together and have potlucks and shit. Can you imagine trying to have a conversation at a party like that?

No, I wasn’t born this way. I don’t know what caused it, so we haven’t figured out if it’s fixable. I don’t know if it’s hereditary but I BET IT IS because I come from a long line of VERY LOUD PEOPLE. That probably is a side effect from the giant families both of my parents hail from, where you have to be loud to be heard. So there are probably a few in my family tree who could have been hearing-impaired at a young age, but who the hell knows. We are loud people.

It’s embarrassing, being relatively young and having this kind of impairment. Having a conversation with someone in a loud restaurant is 100% impossible. I usually have Freddie along as my ‘translator’ and he knows when a waiter or bartender is talking to me and I’m not getting it, it’s his job to help out. He does a reasonably good job at this. But when I’m out with other people, I have to concentrate VERY hard and IT FUCKING SUCKS. Lucky for me, my friends know this and most of them get it and I don’t feel weird about asking them to repeat what folks are saying, but sometimes I just want to be able to go out and do normal shit without having to navigate around these fucked-up earholes.

The funniest part of this whole situation is that hearing aids are FUCKING EXPENSIVE and my insurance company (most insurance companies, in fact) don’t classify them as “medically necessary.” That is fucking laughable and 100% bullshit and if you ever wonder why I’m so fucking PISSED OFF about this, THAT IS WHY. The set of hearing aids I’m currently wearing set me back about $6500. And, six years ago when I got them, they were top of the damn line, state of the damn art. They were also obsolete three years ago because the technology moves so quickly. I sent them in just before they stopped product support on this model for a refurbishment in order to squeeze a little more life out of them. I go to my doctor in two weeks to discuss a new set because my current ones have reached the end of the line.

But what about…? But have you tried…? I heard that you could do…
Yes, yes, yes – I know. I’ve tried it. I even went so far as to try acupuncture, which is a thing in which I heartily DO NOT BELIEVE. It didn’t do anything. I’ve tried everything my doctor and I can think of and lots of other things besides. This is just how it is.

And I will talk about it any way I want.

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When Things Pile Up

The piles are starting to get big again.

This is usually a sign that I need to change something.

I had a good couple of weeks, where I was starting to get rid of unnecessary stuff and make a stab at getting rid of some of this clutter, but the piles are starting to get big again.

Today I’m going to focus on cancelling things like magazines that don’t ever get read, memberships to things that I’m not using, and stuff like that.

But there are paid bills that need to be shredded or filed – at least I have figured out how to keep THAT in order. There are notices from Hebrew school that need to be put on the calendar. There is a bat mitzvah that is coming up VERY fast and still have REALLY MAJOR things that need to be done for it.

The piles are getting big again.

I need to clean out my closet because there is laundry that can’t be put away. There are tons of things in that closet that I don’t wear and I don’t know why I’m holding on to them. See also: bookshelves. They’re an unorganized, dusty mess. See also: craft room. I’m pretty close to just chucking all the yarn I have and starting over with organization in there. We’ll see if I’m brave enough to do it. I might.

The piles are getting big again.

The dogs are overdue for their yearly vet visit and I feel bad about that but I can’t make the appointments for them. I did make a dentist appointment for Jill and I feel good about that but it looks like that is the full extent of me being on the phone today, trying to decide when and where I can fit these things into my life.

There’s a metaphor that people use sometimes when appearances are deceiving and it very much applies to me right now – I’m a duck. I’m swimming along and it looks pretty calm and easy but under the surface, I am paddling like mad to keep going.

I got into an argument the other day with a man (always a man) who claimed that being a stay-home parent “isn’t a real job.” Well, no shit it’s not a “real” job. Nobody would do all of this for free. Most people wouldn’t do it for money, either. It might not be a job but it’s work. It’s physical labor (hauling laundry up and down stairs, bending and stretching to put dishes away, walking dogs). It’s emotional labor (knowing which family members need to go to which places on which days and making sure they get there, knowing what we’re running low in in the fridge, knowing not only that the water filter in the fridge needs to be replaced, but also knowing which one it is, etc). I often wonder what sorts of world problems the moms could solve if we didn’t have to have so much of this bullshit domestic trivial lodged in our skulls. We’d have colonized Mars by now.

99% of the emotional labor in my domestic sphere is just NOTICING things. I’ve noticed that we have wasps living in our porch light fixture. That is so awesome. I am calling an exterminator or similar to deal with it because I’m not fucking dealing with it and while What’s-His-Name is many things, he is not a noticer. He would never notice and if he did, he’d just shrug. Thus, I call pest control.

I’m currently running an experiment to see if I can get someone to put a new roll of TP on the thing in the bathroom. It’s been empty for two days, so I suspect people are using the other bathrooms but once the TP runs out in those… well, we’ll see what happens then.

What’s-His-Name and I had a very illuminating discussion the other day. I wasn’t feeling super-great after the gym because I feel like I’m hitting this “NOPE” barrier and I can’t seem to push myself through it. I definitely hit that wall this morning but I’m trying to be OK with it. He was asking me why I don’t or can’t push past that “don’t wanna” point and I don’t know why that is. It could only be beneficial to me, so why not just do it? I’m working on that.

But the piles are getting big again.

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#YouKnowMe

Abortion is, as ever, a hot political topic. Never moreso than right now, when the state of Alabama has outlawed ALL abortion for ANY reason. No exceptions in the case of rape or incest. It's disgusting. 

So there is a lot of talk right now about abortions, and who has had them and what that all MEANS. 

Here's what it means: it means that a woman found herself in a position where she was pregnant and didn't want to be. Maybe it wasn't the right time for her. Maybe she had other medical issues that made pregnancy a bad idea. Maybe it was rape. Maybe it was incest. Maybe it was an ectopic pregnancy or other medical issue that meant not getting an abortion would result in the woman's death. 

The WHY is not important. Women should be able to access medical services for ANY reason whatsoever. 

So here's my story. 1994. It was not a good time in my life – I was battling an undiagnosed mental illness (at least one, likely three), exacerbated by the stress of trying to go to college with no money and no family support and no idea what it was that I was doing.  It was what I like to call the first of the Bad Decision Years. 

Trying to continue in college like a normal person was a Bad Decision. The boyfriend I was with was a Bad Decision. I'm pretty sure my hair was the result of a Bad Decision. Lots and lots of Bad Decisions happening.

But, because I'm not a stupid person, I was, and remain, a huge fan of birth control. AIDS was still very much in the collective consciousness so you could get free condoms pretty much everywhere. I was on the pill.

AND I ENDED UP PREGNANT.  It was the worst day of my life, actually. I thought there was no way I could be, because we put up SO many barriers to it. But I was at dinner at my boyfriend's house and had to excuse myself to go throw up because I hadn't been feeling that great for the past couple of days.

His dad asked him "is she pregnant?" Us: "nooooooooooo not possible!"

I mean, I couldn't be! I was doing all the right things!

But the nausea wouldn't go away, so a few days later, I bought a test and peed on it.

Oh.

Shit.

I never once considered staying pregnant. Not even for a second. My very first thought was about where and how I could get an abortion because I was 19 years old. I didn't have a drivers' license. I still lived at home. I could barely take care of myself, much less a baby. There was no fucking way on earth I was about to have a kid. It was abortion or suicide, frankly. 

I did not, could not tell my parents. Our relationship was not great at the time, and my belief in them as a source of support was non-existent. Maybe they would have stepped up, maybe not. Maybe they would have thrown me out of the house, maybe not. The fact that I didn't know for sure and couldn't trust what their reaction might be speaks volumes about what it was like between us. Maybe it would have been okay. I didn't know if it would be and wasn't about to take the chance that it wouldn't be, so I didn't say anything.  

That's when things get a little hazy. I do not remember who found the clinic, only that it was in Cleveland. The big city! And this was WAY before GPS and Google Maps, so we really had to figure out how to get there using a paper map and some hastily-scribbled directions.

I do not remember what day it was, only that it was in early September. I don't remember if there were protesters outside. I do remember having to go up there the day before due to that fucking "waiting period" where the asshole white men who wrote that particular law thought women might magically change their minds overnight.

Maybe some of them do, but I will tell you this: once a woman makes a choice to have an abortion, she is strong enough that she isn't likely to be swayed overnight. Making the decision to do it is the hard part. The rest is biology.

I remember asking my best friend to come with us. I know that she was a bit more religious than I have ever been, and I know it had to be hard for her to do this with me and support me the way she did. I remember thanking her at the time, but I don't know if I ever apologized for putting her through that. I never asked. I should. 

I don't remember where the money came from to pay for it, but I do know that it cost $250. That was for the "twilight sleep" version, which meant I wouldn't be put under full anesthesia. More of a, well, "twililght" situation. I was awake-ish. To be put under fully was more money and we just didn't have that.

I remember the doctor being very kind, explaining what he was about to do and I remember two nurses in the room, one who assisted the doctor and one who just held my hand.

I wasn't upset or emotional about it. I never was. It was the right thing to do for myriad reasons and if I had the chance over again, I would do it again. 

I remember the recovery room – there were about 10 recliners, each one with a woman in it, each one with a small table next to it with snacks and juice. We all had heated blankets on our laps. I'm sure we all had the same different reasons for being there. I don't remember any of their faces. The lights were dim.

I don't remember the ride home.

I have regrets about that period of my life, but getting that abortion isn't one of them. It's not something I think about all the time, but it does come up occasionally. The word that comes up most often when I think about what life might be like now had I chosen differently is "stuck." I would have been stuck. Or dead, let's be honest, but most definitely "stuck." I can't even think about it and say "maybe it would have been all right. Maybe we could have made a go of it." I am certain that it would have been a disaster for everyone involved, starting with me. I wouldn't be here now, either literally or figuratively.

I have tried to remember more of that experience, but it's just not there. I'm not a trained psychologist but I have been in therapy long enough to get to know myself very well and I wouldn't say that those memories are blocked out or faded due to trauma. It was 25 years ago, first of all, and it was a thing that happened to me over a couple of days in what was a very tumultuous year.  There are lots of things, both good and bad, from that year that I just don't remember. 

But I don't regret it. Not at all, not for a single second. I have many regrets about other things from that time period, but that is not one of them.

Statistically, 1 in 4 women in the USA have had or will have an abortion. So if you think you don't know any woman who has or you don't know any woman who would, you're wrong. 

You know me.  

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FOOD BLOG

I've been cleaning out the cabinets and fridge and freezer this week. It's been interesting – I haven't really had to go to the grocery store at all in the past two weeks, and we haven't ordered out any more than we normally would.

Some of the meals I've presented to the family have not been great. They have been hodge-podge situations with beans and strange grains I bought for some other recipe that I never got around to making. The people are eating it anyway, because what choice do they have?

Yesterday, I found some $$$ filet mignon in the freezer and fed that to the people. It was YEARS OLD but thanks to the magic of vacuum sealing, all four pieces were in perfect condition.  Today I'm making fajitas with ANOTHER leftover steak (we are fancy here sometimes), some chicken, and some andouille sausage I found while poking around the freezer. Should be fun! The family might hate it! I don't care!

This has been FOOD BLOG. 

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Ugh. Fine. Whatever

I'm in Facebook Jail for the time being. This is what happens when you respond to someone threatening to come to your house and rape you with "go die in a fire." Rape threats are apparently fine, but telling someone to set themselves on fire goes against Facebook's "Community Standards" and you get yourself put in time-out for three days.

Ultimately, this will be a good thing. I use Facebook far too much and can find hundreds of more productive things to do with my time, starting with dusting off the ol' blog. Hi blog! Nobody reads this blog anymore and that's probably a good thing. I don't know that I'll ever be able to get back to the level of candor I wrote with in 2002-2003, but THAT is probably a good thing, too. Times have changed.

What is this blog even FOR, anyway? I certainly don't know. If nothing else, it serves as a place for me to talk about myself and the things that happen to and around me. For instance, I could give you a list of the things that are currently percolating:

1. A squirrel landed on my windshield the other day, causing a question-mark-shaped crack that extends all the way to the bottom. I spent my morning getting quotes on how much it will cost to replace it. Weirdly, two fairly-local companies came in around $250 while Well-Known Nationwide Company was almost double that. Interesting. So do I go with the well-known company or do I take my chances with the local guy? I haven't decided yet but I'm probably going to save myself some money and trust the local dude. Time will tell.

2. In honor of The Cure getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I've been listening to them A LOT over the past week or so. They're one of those bands that, if you get it, you get it. And if you don't, you never will.  The Disintegration album is about as perfect a piece of art as anything. The Wish album reminds me of the first time I saw them in concert which was, I think, the first time I had a non-drug out-of-body experience. I'm half-convinced that all the live music experiences I've had since then have been a futile attempt to ascend to that level again. Like heroin, I guess – they say that nothing compares to that first hit and every subsequent try is just a losing battle at getting back to that point. Live music is my heroin.

3. I bought carrot cake macaroons for Passover. I have no idea what they're like. They might be amazing. They will probably be terrible. I haven't tried them yet, because I'm reluctant to find out for sure. Schrodinger's dessert strikes again!

4. I'm only a little annoyed at how relaxed my daughter's school is about her alternative hair colors. She started the year with bright magenta hair and is currently rolling with a splotchy experimental teal. That kind of thing got us hauled into the principal's office back in the day, but now they just sort of ignore it. How times have changed. 

5. My own hair needs some attention. After about 6 years of just ignoring it, I think it's time for some kind of drastic change. But I'm undecided as to what that should be. Maybe it's not my hair, maybe it's my surroundings? I could frame some of the art in our "to-be-framed" pile and stick it up on the walls and maybe that will do the trick. Or I could shave my head. Possibly both things.

6. I need to get up on a ladder and shave the ceiling fans. Between our jackass long-hair cat and the two dogs (one of which is an short-haired Shepherd/Husky mix who paradoxically has SO MUCH HAIR), the hair is just suspended in the air during Shedding Season. Judging by the tumbleweeds I'm seeing today, Shedding Season is upon us and that means I need to start chasing the pets around with a brush.

So when my Facebook Jail time is over, will I fall back into my bad habits? Probably. But maybe not! Watch this space. 

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I Don’t Understand Bananas

For about a year and a half now, I have been going to a fancy (read: expensive) gym where, two or three times a week, I am told to do impossible things with my body (find a video for something called a "pistol squat" and know that I will never, ever achieve one). It's fine. I like it, oddly enough, and I think it's the best decision I ever made. 

Part of that gym experience involves tightening up the way I eat. I don't think I'll ever get to their recommended ideal of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner but I think I'm doing all right. One of the things I've changed is breakfast. That used to be non-existent because ugh, who has time, and ugh, it's morning, who wants to eat in the morning? That's what a pot of coffee is for. 

I still drink a stupid amount of coffee but I've also added a breakfast smoothie into my morning. It's pretty hefty, but it gets the job done: banana, yogurt, frozen strawberries (and sometimes blueberries if I'm feeling purple), protein powder, almond milk.

Almond milk?

Yeah. I don't know how that happened either. But it's fine. I'm a suburban white lady in 2018, I think I'm *required* to have almond milk in my diet somewhere. 

Anyway, bananas. I don't understand them, honestly. I typically do the grocery shopping on Sunday, because that helps me get the household set up for the week ahead. I typically buy 4 or 5 still-slightly-green bananas in a bunch and one from the loose pile of slightly more ripe bananas that people tend to overlook because OH HOLY SHIT THERE ARE BROWN SPOTS ON THEM OHHHHH NOOOOOOO. That's usually my "Monday banana" because it's ripe-ish and good to go. 

The thing I don't understand is what happens to the other bananas. They're slightly green around the tops when I buy them. That's great, because they ripen slowly and there's no real rush to use them all up, right?

WELL.

There is no rhyme or reason to this, at all. One week I might buy 5 slightly green bananas and by Wednesday, they're all practically black and need to be used up ASAP. Another week, I can buy 5 bananas that look exactly like the previous week's bananas and they are still perfectly fine by Friday. WHY IS THIS. I store them in exactly the same place, in the same way, every single time. So how come one week they're all "LOL YOLO I'M DEAD" in three days and other weeks they seem like they're going to last forever? 

I don't understand bananas.  

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At 4 AM

At 4 AM, everything is dark. The sun has not yet crept over the edge of the world.

At 4 AM, all lights are bright. You get dressed in the dark so as not to wake the house with blaze of the hall light.

At 4 AM, everything is very loud. You tiptoe out of the bedroom. The cat greets you, bellowing, and you wonder if the crinkle of the catfood bag will wake the whole street.

At 4 AM, nothing is happening. The television offerings are so bad, you think perhaps it would have been best for TV not to have been invented in the first place.

At 4 AM, nobody is awake. Unless you count alcoholics, angry loners, the unemployable, and me, who is worrying.

At 4 AM.

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MidtermPodcast Disaster

This is a rather roundabout way to do things, but after much screaming, here is our midterm podcast project thing.

IT WORKED!!

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Time Makes You Bolder: A Glimpse

When I started making this list, I tried limit it to songs that are really important to me for whatever reason. I wanted to tell the story of my life as soundtrack. However, I ended up with 58 tracks and hadn’t even made it halfway through my life so I had to stop and think again. I suppose the list would be shorter if I were still 21. Alas.

Music has surrounded me for my entire life. My mom had a fantastic record collection and was a big fan of turning it up loud. I have very vivid memories of stomping out of my bedroom in the wee hours of the morning to say “Mommmmmmm turn the stereo down, I’m trying to sleeeeep.” Even now, I will be flipping stations and one of the songs from my childhood will be on and I’m immediately 4 years old again, all chubby cheeks and tousled hair. One such song is Goodbye Stranger from Supertramp. It’s off the wildly successful album Breakfast In America and every time I hear it, I’m about 5 years old, in the backseat of my mom’s gigantic green Thunderbird, and we’re coming home from somewhere. It’s late and I’m trying to sleep, but the radio is turned up so I can’t. I don’t mind.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and MTV is very much a part of my DNA. Before MTV, most people didn’t think music could also be visual, but in many ways it is. I’m not a synesthete, which is kind of a bummer because that sounds like a cool thing to be, but I do “see” music when I’m listening. Sometimes it’s abstract ideas of shapes and color, but other times, I get a really strong vision for a video. MTV’s influence on me cannot be overstated.

Back in 1995, the movie Batman Forever was about to be released and U2 had written a song for the Zooropa sessions a few years prior that would fit in nicely with director Joel Schumacher’s vision for the film. I was still a huge U2 superfan at the time, so I managed to get a hold of an early release and I immediately thought that the video for this track should be animated. LO AND BEHOLD, not two weeks later, the video was released and there it was, in all its comic book glory.

1995 isn’t going to go down as the greatest year of my life, and it’s one I would gladly forget if I could. But however bad things got, there was still music. As Morrissey sings in the song “Rubber Ring: “and don’t forget the songs/ that made you cry/ and the songs that saved your life…” there are more than a few songs that I credit with keeping me here on earth.

Nobody does mopey better than the Smiths and the closest Morrissey ever gets to offing himself is in the song “Asleep.” He says “sing me to sleep/ sing me to sleep/ I’m tired and I/ I want to go to bed/” and later he wails “Don’t try to wake me in the morning/ ’cause I will be gone.” He asks the listener not to feel bad for him because he’s glad to go, and knows there is another world. Well, he thinks so, anyway. The idea that it’s okay to feel like this is like catnip to a moody teenager.

Before I was a moody teenager, I was what they now call a “tween,” and the best thing to happen to tweens in my boring Ohio town was the Friday-night dance party in the Methodist Church fellowship hall. It was called The Belfry, it cost $2 to get in, and it was the literal best thing ever. From 7th through 10th grade, the place was full of sweaty tweenagers dancing and flirting and HAVING DRAMA. It was GLORIOUS. Every time I hear Salt ‘n’ Pepa singing “Push It,” I am immediately transported back to that sweaty church hall, smelling like Love’s Baby Soft and Rave hairspray, dancing with my friends and not caring about anything else in the world. It’s been over two and a half decades since my last appearance at The Belfry, but I still get my dance on when Salt ‘n’ Pepa tell me to.

Lots of teenage romance at The Belfry, but not really any of my own. I was solidly on Team Dork until well into my high school years. But every now and again, there would be a boy or two who didn’t find me scary and we’d date for awhile. I started listening to Rush because of a boy and while he didn’t last, the three dorky guys from Canada have been with me for years now. When my husband and I were first dating, Rush put out a new album and, like a good girlfriend, I went with What’s-His-Name to stand in line at the record store so we could buy it at the midnight release. Then we went to a “pre-ticket” party thing where we had to endure lip-syncing contests, air guitar, air drum, and a room full of dudes dorkier than I’d ever been in order to get tickets. 10th row center was worth it, and even moreso when I turned to What’s-His-Name and said “they’re going to open with Dreamline.” He disagreed and thought they’d open with something off this new album and we bet $50 on it. I’m still waiting to collect my $50.

You can’t really dance to Rush. I’ve tried. I don’t have any real dance moves anyway – most of the time I look like I’m about to fall down. It’s fine. Anyway, after we all outgrew The Belfry, we found another place that did “Alternative Night” on Wednesdays in the summertime. My friends and I would get all goth-ed out in our ripped tights and babydoll dresses and scary boots and we’d go pogo and mosh and stomp around to the likes of The Clash, Joy Division, Siouxie and the Banshees, and Jane’s Addiction. Our parents didn’t get it, but then again, they weren’t meant to. We were free, man.

Eventually, I grew up, What’s-His-Name and I got married, and we did all kinds of adult-type things like buy cars and a house and have a kid. I still don’t think I’m ready for parenthood, but she’s ten years old now, so by the time I’m ready for her, she’ll be in college. When she was tiny, and didn’t speak English, she would spend hours screeching at me for being an inadequate human. To calm her down, I’d sing Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 jam, “Crazy.” Whether it was the song itself or my incredibly terrible singing, she would calm down and put me lower on the priority kill list that I know she has stashed somewhere.

I’m getting older now, and my hearing is starting to go at an alarming rate. I’ve worn hearing aids for the last ten years and I HATE THEM but the alternative is almost total deafness, which is not the most super-fun thing in the world. The upside is that I appreciate bass players a lot more than I used to, and speaker technology has improved quite a bit so I can turn it up as loud as I need to. People complain, but I don’t care. If it’s too loud, you’re too old.

This is in no way an exhaustive musical biography. A complete list would be pages and pages long, each song with a story or a smile to go with it. Someday, I’ll write my life story and book technology will probably be advanced enough that I can attach a soundtrack to it so you can listen along with me as we go. Until then, I have over 30,000 tracks in my iTunes library. These are just a few of them.

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Not Hear

My ears don’t work.

My hearing loss was probably inevitable, since the myriad doctors I’ve seen about this issue can’t seem to find any trauma or other physical explanation for why I cannot hear well. My current medical team seems to think that it’s neurological, and if that’s the case, then there’s not really anything I can do. I can wear hearing aids, but that’s about it.

And the hearing aids are not exactly the best solution. It’s not that they don’t do anything, but that they don’t do enough. Nothing I do will ever be “enough,” and that makes me angry because I used to be able to hear, so I remember what things sound like. In short, I know what I’m missing.

Hearing aids are an imperfect solution. The technology is improving all the time, but the fact remains that in order to function somewhat normally, I need to have tiny machines stuck into my head at all times. In some countries, I can be classified as a Cyborg, which is kind of fun.

Because they are machines, they can break down. My current set is currently “in the shop” because one side died and the other side was protesting something. I dropped them off at the doctor’s office yesterday and probably won’t get them back for a week or more.

I can’t hear.

I can hear SOME things. Loud noises, obviously, but unless What’s-His-Name is enunciating carefully (and… he does not ever do this), I can’t understand what he’s saying to me when he’s sitting four feet away. I have to ask Jillian to repeat herself all the time. If I’m watching TV, I can’t multi-task like I usually do because I miss all the words instead of just some of them. Closed-captioning only helps when you’re looking at it, after all. The radio in my car is turned up VERY LOUD, and I’m afraid I’ll blow the shitty, 10-year-old speakers in an effort to just hear music at a “normal” volume.

Right now, there is no such thing as background noise. For people who deal with a lot of sounds every day, not having background noise sounds like a great thing, right? It’s not. It’s unnatural and oppressive. All my other senses are on high alert to compensate for this missing one. Not having background noise, which our brains use as a way to orient ourselves in the world, is stressful. I have to be hyper-aware of my surroundings and THAT SHIT IS EXHAUSTING.

Not being able to hear is exhausting all the time. From explaining it to people I’ve just met, to having all my other senses going to 11, to dealing with the incredibly insensitive people trying to be funny… it’s tiring. And hard. And I hate it.

But let’s talk a minute about the “funny” ones, shall we? The most common reaction I get when I explain to people that I cannot hear well and would like for them to speak up is “What?”

*blink*

“Aw, c’mon, I was making a joke.”

*blink*

Really? If I told you I were epileptic, would you fall on the floor and flail around to be funny? No? Then why is it okay to say “…WHAT?” when I tell you I’m hearing-impaired? How is that okay? How?

And… it happens A LOT. A very lot. A lot a lot. It baffles me, every time. It’s exhausting and one of the main reasons why there are some people out there… well, I just don’t bother.

I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. It would have been better if I’d been born with this impairment, because then it would have been my version of normal. But I know what I’m missing out on and that’s a very real source of anger and sadness for me. The fancy new hearing aids I got last year help quite a bit, but a week without them is going to be hard.

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