It’s Not Easy Being Easy

Calm yourselves, Earpluggers. This post has nothing to do with promiscuity.

This post has to do with confidence.

Just last night I was spending time with a friend’s family and the topic of this very blog came up. They commented on my candidness and how it was so amazing that I was willing to invite everyone and their uncle to learn about me and my story, particularly since it is a story that so many would hide.

At first I brushed it off. Whatever guys, aw shucks. It’s no big, it is what it is, I’m just being me.

But you know what? It’s not whatever. It’s not easy sharing this with everyone. Those of you who have come to know me through my blog have experienced an entirely different Shayna than those of you who have known me in person. In person, my hearing impairment doesn’t come up until later. At first I thought I did that because I was shy. Now, I realize I do things the way I do because I want people to know me for who I am before they know what I am. There is a huge difference between being shaped by my hearing impairment and being defined by my hearing impairment.

I take on the attitude that I have been shaped by my hearing impairment. My impairment has allowed me to mature and face adversity from a very early age. It is the reason for some of my favorite personality attributes — resilience, easy-goingness (that’s so not a word), and empathy. It has allowed me to develop a sense of humor, which I think is so essential for getting through the rough days. But most of all, my hearing impairment taught me to bring my guard down.

The truth is that everyone has something. Some people can’t walk, others can’t talk. Some people can’t see. Some people don’t have arms, or fingers. Then there are people who have “somethings” that aren’t so visible to the naked eye: mental disability, addictions, diseases, unstable family relationships . . . the list is endless. No matter the specific “something” you have, everyone else has their own unique “something.”We all have our flaws and these flaws make us human, but I think they also make us who we are. They shape us. I made this blog to try to show that they don’t necessarily define us. My hearing impairment has taught me that.

My “something” — my disability — is pretty hidden in our society. No one really knows how to react when I share my disability with them. The truth is that you don’t need to have a reaction. I am still as normal as they come. My hearing impairment is a part of who I am, but it is not all of who I am. If I were to let my hearing impairment define me, I would have aimed much lower. I would have cut myself a lot of slack. Maybe I wouldn’t have attempted honors and AP classes, maybe I would have gone to a different college. But I didn’t do that (thanks mom and dad for helping me push myself). I said, “okay. So I have this thing. Moving on.”

You can either let your “something” pull you down, or you can use your “something” to lift you up. I chose, I choose, and I will try to continue to choose, to let it lift me up.

My desire to share this outlook on life with you outweighs my urge to run in my bedroom, slam the door shut, hide under a pillow, and pretend that my impairment isn’t there. Even knowing all these things that I have gone on and on about in this post (about how everyone has “something”), I still have those moments before I blog where I think, “do I want everyone to know this?” These moments of self doubt explain my previous lackadaisical track record for inconsistent blogging. Yet . . . I came back, because every time I did ask myself that question, the answer was always yes, I do want people to know this. If it is at my own sake, then so be it. Better that I do it at my own sake than somebody else do it for me.

So, if you are still reading this (congratulations, you are amazing) — I just wanted you to know this: it isn’t easy for me to share my most vulnerable component of who I am with you, but I just really wanted you to know what hearing impairment is, what it means to me, and what it means to you. I wanted you to know how I used my impairment to get to where I am today if not to inspire you, then at least to entertain you for a while. After all, someone’s got to do it.

So . . . hello.

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