Are You Hard of Hearing?

Did you hear what I heard?  There are many different degrees of hearing loss, from slight to profound. I know I’m lucky that mine, although more than slight, is not profound. The hearing doctor believed it’s a side-effect from having the Measles when I was about eight years old.  I say “about” because my eighth year was the most tragic year of my life. It was the year my dad died, just two months after my eighth birthday.

Until recently, I believed the line between the “before” and “after” periods in my life was caused by the loss of my father. However, I’m now convinced the horror of the time that followed was due to being consciously unaware of my hearing loss, failing to understand. Do we refuse to accept our handicaps in order to cope?

Many years later, in my thirties, I was married with four children when my husband remarked on my hearing. I decided to get tested. Not that I hadn’t been accused of  it before, the crucial difference being “accused”, as though I was willfully refusing to hear. My mother’s most famous line was “You hear when you want to!” Other remarks were more critical “Why don’t you pay attention!” Some remarks were more derogatory.

I’d heard the derogatory remarks aimed at my eldest brother and only sister, the first two children in our family, as both suffered from severe hearing loss. I witnessed people being rude to them and decided I would NOT be hard of hearing. This was more subconscious than not, of course, as I simply incorporated lipreading and close attention in my interactions with others. In fact, the hearing doctor pointed out the soreness in my shoulders, which I thought I’d always had, “Your whole body strains to hear.”

My mother had keen hearing but she thought our dad’s hearing suffered somewhat. If we had a hereditary weakness toward hearing loss it likely came from his side of the family. When the next generation (at least three grandchildren, one deaf in one ear, two others profound) suffered hearing losses, the hereditary factor seemed evident. Of course as children, all of us suffered colds and ear infections, as children tend to do. It appears that for some, they may have led to a degree of deafness. My own son, who as an Air Force Officer, served twenty-some years as a Navigator, near retirement suffered a mild hearing loss. Those planes made a lot of noice!

But, on to the consequences of the hearing loss in my own life, which I can’t claim to be a common occurrence. It’s taken me years to come to these conclusions but I’ll share them as I believe them to be true. Before my bout with the Measles or my dad’s death I was a “straight A” student, afterwards my grades fell drastically. I know that sometimes I didn’t hear the teacher correctly. I also remember somebody talking to me on a phone. I heard a voice but could not understand what it said even though it kept repeating stuff. I was embarrassed and began to withdraw socially.

Think about it, you who are not hard of hearing. You’re embarrassed at having folks around you repeat things to a point that you may pretend to understand (“understanding” wrongly!). They may think you are (gasp!) retarded. Although I worked part-time during high school as a waitress, or in the movie-house as a ticket-taker or usher, and worked in offices later, earning good reviews in all of them, my attention and lip-reading being a big help, I often questioned what I heard. I often repeated myself, not sure if the other person heard what I said.  My hearing loss changed me before I ever knew I suffered from it.

As far as hearing aids go, it’s only been within the past few years that a new one came along which  worked  well for me. I was grateful from the time I began wearing them that they helped but my older siblings were not so lucky.  For years there were no good aids for nerve loss, which is undoubtedly what they also suffered from. They are quite expensive and many lower-income people can’t afford them.

I believe all our life experiences work together to help us become who we really are.  If so, both my love of reading and loss of hearing have led me to express who I really am.

Lost Yet Found: My Inner Journey – Part 3

“We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the years and of the season of which we are born.  Astrology does not lay claim to anything more.”    The Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung was one of the major forces responsible for bringing psychological(having to do with the mind and its processes) thought and its theories into the twentieth century.

My timid search for what lay behind the door in the back of my mind eventually led me to the study of Astrology: I’m now an advanced student, still learning.  Over the past few years professional astrologers have explored the meaning of newly discovered bodies called Dwarf Planets or  minor planets, along with specific asteroids and Trans-Neptunian (Kuiper Belt) Objects.  When I checked the ephemerides for their positions at the time of my birth I was amazed at how they tended to explain my natal chart.  Indeed “as above so below”.

Today Huya the Rainmaker, a TNO,  is transiting both my Lunar Return Midheaven and my natal Moon.  A New Moon arrived a few days ago, following my Lunar Return.

Although Huya was named for a Venezuelan rain god, different tribes of indigenous peoples throughout many countries have been adept at making rain.  The shamanic or spiritual way was once practiced worldwide. It used intention, prayers and ceremony to open the heart and mind of the seeker to contact unseen forces that exist in nature.  Most Native American tribes also included a rainmaker. In the shamanic tradition a person could become a rainmaker after a long apprenticeship.

I have a long way to go but I feel I too am working on an apprenticeship. Whatever gains I may make in this life, I hope to carry over into my next incarnation.

My American Indian heritage is very scant. As far as I know it began when a great grandfather took a young Cherokee bride way back in the pioneer days in the southern mountains of Appalachia.  Her name did not survive in our genealogy yet a legend was born.  Traces of her has appeared ever since through one descendant or another.  Not only in physical traits but also in spirit.

For instance I had a great grandmother who was a “Bee Charmer”.  My mother told me Great Grandma Polly Stamper could walk among the bee hives unprotected, talking gently to the bees and they gave her all the honey she wanted.  Whereas Great Grandpa could cover up from head to toe and still get stung. 

I’ve never felt an affinity with bees but I have always loved the rain.  The crashing thunder sending a thrill through my body, flashes of lightening across the sky bringing anticipation of things yet to come.    

I have hope for the future.

To be continued.

Is The Me Too Movement Over?

Is the Me Too Movement over?  Is it too late, or is there a place where I can sign on.  I recently entered his name on Google and learned he died six months ago.  No, he wasn’t the one who did it to me but he was the one who changed his mind and finished destroying my self-esteem.  His obituary said he was 86 years old and had a full life.  Well, bully for him.  Although I’m not quite 80 I’ve had a full life too.  I had no choice but to go on.  What else do you do?  You pick up the pieces scattered about, grin and bear it.  Roll with the punches.

We had met and he’d romanced me, making me feel so loved!  Treating me like a lady. But we double-dated one night with his friend.  His friend told him.  Later I noticed a change, asked what was wrong.  He told me.  The friend had recognized me.  He had arrived at an alumni party of fraternity brothers and their dates.  I was passed out and they were searching for my panties.

Humiliated?  You bet.  All I remembered was arriving with my date, having one drink and waking up the next morning, sleeping bodies scattered about.  I woke one and asked him to take me home.  What else could I do?  It never occurred to me something had been in that drink.  I’d never heard of such things.  I assumed I’d had too much to drink.  As usual I blamed myself.  I’d learned early in life that anything that happened to me was my own fault.

I’d like to blame him, even though he’s dead.  Kick him in the gut for assuming I was trash, not the “nice girl” he had believed me to be.  But instead I hope he had a miserable life, married a girl who was actually a hooker, found out on their wedding night (since she wouldn’t let him before) that she was not a virgin.  I wish all kinds of evils on him for the time I suffered, licking my wounds until, on the surface I healed yet went on to make a few more bad choices.

But you know what?  I wouldn’t change the results of those later choices.  Because I’m a survivor.  I learned to love that innocent, naïve girl that I was.  Welcomed her into my life.  Along with the one who at age fifteen successfully fought off an attempted rape. I hit him over the head with my shoe and threatened him with my brothers.  “By God,” the asshat said.  “I never thought I could get a virgin!” and begged me to marry him.  The answer of course was ‘Hell no.”

To Think That We Saw it on Maplewood Drive!

Today I dare to express a little sentimentality to all those erstwhile dwellers of the old neighborhood, who allowed us into their lives, as they brought their love and blessings to the blue house.  Which began as white and changed to gray, but still remains blue within our memories:

     ODE TO THE BLUE HOUSE

    A little magic wrought

As sight unseen and ears unheard

A tiny tear escapes, without a word

T’was only yesterday

The children ran

Waving stop! stop! at the ice cream man!

A Ghost Story

Have you noticed all those ghosts walking around? They used to be mothers, full of life, full of warm, nurturing love. Babies snuggled up in the curve of their necks, their soft sweet skin smelling of Johnson’s baby powder. The babies grew and grew and learned to walk and talk and make their mommas proud when they said her name. As they began to explore, they outgrew their infant needs, becoming self-propelled. They began to learn grownup things. Like who to love and who to hate and some even learnt who to blame when things go wrong. Be it their teachers, the government or their mothers.

They used to be ordinary people like you and me before the miracle of motherhood changed them into bright shooting stars that lit the heavens with happiness for an all-too-brief moment that continues to warm their memory as they grow old.

Have you noticed all those ghosts walking around? The ones with their failing eyesight and tender smiles who fade into the background, soft-spoken and undemanding? They had their moment in the Sun and are content to watch the seasons change and the years fly by.

I hate to say it but they are not me.

Oh, how I loved my time of shooting stars, yet I refuse to be a ghost.