I Can’t Hear Them…
After a lot of discussion these past few days regarding communication, as well as reactions and responses to what people do/say, I decided it was time for me to confess something. And today I finally shared it with Fitzy.
When Fitzy and I were in New York he was approached by a promoter trying to sell tickets for a comedy night. Since there was a famous person that Fitzy really wanted to see and since he thought it could be a fun night out he went ahead and ever so generosity bought the tickets. My reaction? Well… I threw a bit of a strop, and rightly so to him I looked like I was in a mood with him. True I thought he was too easily talked into this sale… but that wasn’t the problem.
At the time I knew what the problem was but I was too frustrated to communicate what I was really feeling inside or thinking. Since then I’ve been too ashamed to even admit the problem to myself. I knew all along had I should be straight up and honest with Fitzy. I also knew without a shadow of a doubt that Fitzy would understand this problem… But the problem was with me. I didn’t want to tell him because I was too ashamed to admit the problem to myself. So poor Fitzy for the past few months as never understood the situation and always thought I threw a hissy fit for no apparent reason. Dead right he thought that, especially when I couldn’t even tell him the reason.
So today…. I took the plunge and finally told him. “Fitzy, I can’t hear them.”
When I was in Perth, Fitzy ever so kindly took me and another friend out for the evening. One part of the evening involved going to a comedy club. Now I’d never been to one before and so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The night was a lot of fun… only when it got to the comedy club part, I didn’t understand a lot of the jokes because I missed so much of what was being said. I couldn’t laugh when others did and so I sat there feeling pretty foolish to be the only one not laughing. I especially didn’t want Fitzy thinking I wasn’t having a good time, because at the end of the day… I loved Fitzy and because he was having a great time… I just wanted to be with him. No matter what we did, no matter whether I enjoyed it or not… I got to hang out with him. And that’s what I wanted. I got to create moments and memories throughout the whole evening. I would have continued to go to a thousand comedy clubs if it meant I got to live life with him… But this time, in New York, I panicked inside. And the feeling of foolishness and embarrassment became too overwhelming.
I’ve been deaf since the age of 18 months old. Which means I’ve been deaf for just over 21 years. You would think after all the social work training on discrimination, oppression and empowerment I would be brave enough to admit this to Fitzy… but I wasn’t. I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed of my flaw. Which is so silly. So so so silly. And I know that. I know it’s not my fault I’m deaf, I know Fitzy would love and respect me in this situation. But the deep sense of shame strangled me and instead I made the situation so much worse. I don’t want to admit I’m different. I don’t want to feel I’m different to others. I don’t want to hinder others and prevent them from doing things in order to “make me happy“, meet my needs or to, I suppose, protect me. But I guess the reality is I do need to communicate it. The lack of communication just meant it looked like I was getting upset over nothing which is a stressful situation for any guy. Least of all did I want to stress Fitz out.
I’ll never be able to fully explain what I feel inside when it comes to my hearing, and why I feel such shame. I’ll never be able to fully explain how my hearing affects me. But Fitzy’s response today was what I was so sure it was going to be all along. He understood. I’m forever encouraging people to be straight up and honest with one another. It saves and prevents so many problems. But… truth is… I’m still learning this art of communication too. And I’ve gotta learn to have faith that the people in my life, like Fitzy… won’t reject me because of my hearing.