As a child, I remember feeling like all I wanted to do was read. I didn’t like school so I would not do my homework. I felt confused by my new disability and thought the doctors were wrong.
My doctor told my adoptive mother I was mentally retarded and I would need someone with me all the time to make sure I was okay. As a child I let them believe that but I wish I hadn’t because it felt like there was a big X on my head. Meaning there was a she’s fragile don’t drop sign on my forehead. I was just discovering what it means to be hard of hearing at age 7. People yelling at me made me sad because I kept thinking what did I do. How come I can’t hear them? I couldn’t travel alone at home or school because they had told my school I only could use the elevator or have a Paraprofessional with me at all times. I wasnt allowed out in the streets alone around my home because they feared i would walk into the traffic and hurt myself. I was such a shy child and now I wonder if I should have said more.
As a teen, I was very rebellious. I had set out to prove I wasn’t retarded at all. I broke away from my paraprofessional and went to the library whenever I could. I never cared for my school work and I did not want to be home. At home all around me was just ridicule with my siblings and mother. I read whenever I could just to escape. When I was in seventh grade, I started writing poems about feeling excluded or feeling like I was put in a specific box. All I wanted to do was fit in and break out of the box at the same time. My words were my weapon as I rebelled against the restraints put on me. No one was going to tell me I wouldn’t follow my dreams or tell me I would never be able to leave the house alone because I was too “dumb”. I knew that being hard of hearing wasn’t supposed to be the end of me. I felt it with every fiber of my being. I rebelled into high school too but I would still be sheltered. My mind was racing as I was angry that I was treated like a baby. In eleventh grade, someone told me “wow you’re different you are talking more. You are laughing more.” I found friends where I could be myself so in turn I wasn’t as shy as I used to be. When I think about my teen self, I often wish I wasn’t so angry. My angry fueled me but it also lasted a long time. I was not an adult until I moved out of the toxic home I grew up in. Everything was different and I was learning as I went. But I didn’t mind because it meant no one was going to stop me. I could be myself and be more happy inside.