Deaf Awareness Week 2021 – Coming Through It Together
Deaf Awareness Week is an annual event that is celebrated by the Deaf communities. The purpose of the week, is to raise awareness of deaf issues, the people, and their culture. The theme this year is ‘Coming Through It Together’. My interpretation of the theme is, succeeding, surviving, or coping with being deaf together. The community and its advocates work tirelessly to raise awareness and ensure that the community is not ‘harmed’ in any way. There are many great advocates out there, regardless of whether we all agree or not, I hold a great deal of respect for their efforts to raise deaf awareness. This week means a great deal to me, because it allows me to educate others about deafness, and demolish any harmful misconceptions. Being deaf or hard of hearing, can be incredibly exhausting. We continuously fight for equality and educate abled individuals daily. Times can be tough, but we work together, slowly making progress, and we come through it together!
Over the past 7 years, I have been incredibly grateful to have met (both virtually and physically) some incredibly lovely deaf and hard of hearing individuals. I feel that my deaf identity has developed a great deal. I have been taking sign language classes, and absolutely love it. My teacher is ‘culturally deaf’; therefore, she was born deaf. I feel like I have learnt a great deal from her. I believe it is incredibly important to be taught sign language by a deaf individual who grew up experiencing the deaf culture. Eileen, my teacher, is a fantastic teacher, and a great role model for me. It makes me feel proud to be deaf!
I have learnt so much this year, and I hold my hands up, I do not always get it right! I do make mistakes, but I am human. I am always happy to learn and be taught and corrected by others. Learning is part of life, and that is how we grow! I have always felt stuck in between both the hearing and deaf worlds. Despite being profoundly deaf, I have not had the privilege of growing up in the wonderful deaf culture. I am absolutely fascinated by it. I have met some wonderful deaf people who happen to be cochlear implant recipients and learnt so much from them. I have always considered a cochlear implant, and I am aware that I am eligible, but I have never been too sure? Since meeting these lovely people, my whole perception of implants have changed, and this is something I will consider one day.
Deaf Awareness Week gives me a great sense of belonging. I see some fantastic content posted each day, and I can relate so much. It makes me feel warm inside! My focus this year is, collaborations. There are some key figures in the community who work tirelessly and have been a huge positive influence on me. I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate some of these lovely people. I was diagnosed with depression, which means I struggle more with my deafness. I have many bad days, which can feel incredibly lonely at times. Although, with the help of my fellow deaf friends and followers, I get through it! If you have reached out to me in the past, with a positive message, I want to thank you.