Rumour Has It…

That I have had a breakdown. Hmmm, I must admit that when I heard that, I just had to laugh. Granted, for those of you concerned enough, it was not at all funny but alarming enough for you to actually approach me and find out the truth, for yourselves. I would like to applause those of you for having enough respect for me, to come to me, rather than conforming to the peer pressure of Chinese whispers amongst yourselves.

gossiping

“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.”

As for the “breakdown” – it is absolutely and utterly untrue. IF there ever were one, it would have been before I founded the Tree House. There was a time when I was kicked whilst I was down but those who did not dare to look down on me – whilst I was down helped me back up again. After the Tree House was founded, there was another time when a good portion of my previous admin team tried to undermine, overpower me but I stood my ground, stood up (much to their horror hoping that I would stand by) and removed their flaws from damaging me, relatively the Tree House further. (A survival of the fittest of course) They still and will always try their best to damage it but that is their problem, therefore their waste of (negative) energy. These people are behind me, and so it should be the case, for you too.

I have now reached the stage where I do not need social media in my life – any longer. Social media has become quite the tool for sociopaths. It sucks people in, makes them mindless of others and sadly, the preciousness of face-to-face values is lost on most. If anything, the Tree House has been a lifeline to me for the past two years. I am oftentimes (albeit surprisingly) reminded that people can still be humane, respectful, kind, considerate, honest and genuine.

I do appreciate social media in the sense that it has reconnected me in the past, to long lost family and friends, for introducing me to some newfound friends that have brought laughter and tears to my heart. For reminding me, who not to be, who to steer clear of and just how twisted and bitter some people can be. That is not the way I wish to use my second chance at life – most people only get one chance and if they could turn back time and change certain aspects of their lives, they would. Thus, why, I am because I can. I have once again found the balance in my life in order for me to cherish life and social media is not part of that equation.

Look to the person next to you, to the cashier in the shops, to the stranger opposite you on public transport. Consider how they may be feeling or what they may be going through. They would love a friendly smile just as much as you do. Smell the freshly cut grass, cherish chocolate even – as a treat mind you! Strive to be righteous, honest and the best one can be. Find a way to being happy from within because being happy for a reason is dangerous since that reason can be taken away from you.

There is certainly no need for me to broadcast why I have taken a step back, a sabbatical, especially when it is for very personal reasons that only my family and a selected few friends deserve to know. They have after all, always been there for me.

Please trust in me that when I say, I am more than fine, I am actually anticipating all the joy the future has in store, for me, and my children.

For… “What is coming is better than what has gone.”

Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules! 😉 😉

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Six Degrees Of Separation.

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The six degrees of separation.

I have a sweet recollection to share, of a particular time long ago when a father wished to purchase for his daughter, a bag she so coveted. Mine. Was this you or perhaps, do you know them? If so, please do let us know.

I had jumped onto the train, all ready to meet friends with my roller-blades tucked away in my brand new sporting bag, that I had purchased especially.

As the tube rattled along and made its course, everyone was either reading the newspaper or dozing off encouraged by the monotonous vibrations of the train. I for one usually contemplated to pass the time.

Someone suddenly but gently tapped me on my knee, I was mildly astonished that someone wanted my attention. He explained that his daughter admired my bag and wanted to enquire as to where he could buy her, the exact same bag. I looked besides him to find his daughter being ever so shy. I remember being as shy as she once. Bless.

I seized the opportunity to draw a detailed map for them, alighting from a specific tube station, directions and the name of the shop. Even, where the bag was in the shop… His daughter seemed silently appreciative whilst her father seemed a little daunted, perhaps at the thought of making his way through crowds of people within the busy streets of London, with his daughter in tow.

My instincts told me he had at least, a little bit of experience with deaf people, knowing how to speak and listen in return. Therefore, I asked him, if he knew anyone that happened to be deaf. Much to his surprise at my evaluation, he then confessed his wife was deaf who remained in the United States whilst he was holidaying here, with their daughter.

Not forgetting the desired bag, their stop was the next one coming up. Mine was not for several stops after. He had shown me patience and kindness as a stranger, “What shall I do? I cannot leave them stranded at the mercy of body pushers” I thought…  I decided to listen to my instincts and got off the train with them instead. He seemed to be somewhat surprised yet relieved that I was able to join and guide them through the bustling streets of London, which was heaving with tourists. He was no longer nervous and seemed more at ease; this meant his daughter was relatively more at peace.

Upon arriving at the shop, I showed his daughter through to where there was an identical bag to mine, waiting to be owned, by her. Different shades of gorgeous purple – who could resist? At last, two people were happy, having been looked after, satisfactorily. I explained that I now had to go because I was meeting friends, wisely omitting that I was late. After all, it was my choice.

I bode them well, to take care and to enjoy the rest of their holiday before turning around and leaving them to continue their retail therapy. As soon as they could no longer see me, I ran like the wind to make up for lost time.

My friends at the time was wondering where I was but they could not get annoyed with me once I explained, what I had been up to. Bless their cottons!

Who knows if the ‘six degrees of separation’ reasoning is viable yet my faith and trust in fate will remain. If this somehow reaches you and this has made you smile in reminiscence, being the daughter and/or the father – ‘Twas truly, my pleasure.

🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

‘EU Referendum in BSL Survey’ by Drip Media

The EU (European Union) referendum leaflet is in just written English, large print and audio CD. There are no visual materials for those who rely on sign language hence why, I support this video by Drip Media in trying to gauge just how many people would like to see the same content available to them so they too, can make an informed choice however which way they would like to vote.

Their video is in BSL yet it is captioned to be inclusive of all.

Please complete their survey in order to assist them in achieving what I hope, will be a successful and fair result. This will only take a minute of your time.

http://www.dripmedia.tv/eureferendum

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Yes, I Can.

i-can

I saw an advert on TV quite some time ago which used the words “I can” and this advert inspired me to put the question to our dwellers to see, what they CAN do….

Screenshot_2014-07-06-17-26-35

Here are some of their answers.

I sang in a choir (a hearing one), played clarinet to grade 8 and the obvious one that most people seem to be shocked about “Oooohhhhh my gawd! You can driiiive! Cleevverrr!”

My friends think I can do everything and even things I say I would find hard to do because of my hearing loss, they’re the ones telling me: “Why not, go for it”, so I guess I’m lucky. However, years ago, some of my family members and relatives seemed to think that it was “amazing” that I had got a university degree (as if deaf meant stupid) and my sis in law once told my mum that I was “lucky” to get a good man as a husband, due to my hearing loss!

I had a similar experience – my husband is hearing and someone in his family said he ‘must find it hard’ with a deaf girlfriend (this was very early on) We’re all people – hearing or deaf it doesn’t matter, some people have strange/misguided ideas about relationships and equality. I tend not to think in terms of ‘I can do this despite being deaf’ – in my eyes, I think being deaf has given me more determination. Life is tough for most people, I think everyone has potential and it is often what we do with it and the resources we have that make the difference between ‘I can’ and ‘I can’t’.

I’ve had hearing people say to me ‘You’re so inspiring, being deaf and doing a degree!’ and…. ‘how can you hear music?’. I am a singer and a musician because I can.

I’ve met some people who seem shocked to learn that deaf people can dance.

I had a boss who shifted my mindset from can’t do to can do, now I’m talking on phones, gibbering at Portuguese in work, smiling a lot more and having fun!

My old school told my mother that I would not be able to do music or French?! I did both in the end, at Mary Hare School.

I was told I couldn’t rock climb once… because I was deaf (said by a professional climber)

I was told at 16 that I couldn’t go to university as I was deaf but I went to four in the end.

I didn’t go to Uni – I was often asked why with sympathetic looks “Was it because you are deaf and you would find it difficult?”, “ No, I chose to travel….”

I couldn’t sign 3 years ago however now I can have a conversation in sign language. 

I can choose when I don’t want to hear. 😉

I have friends who kept relying on people to help them, I told them that they could do it themselves. They assumed that because people were there for them, they felt they couldn’t do it themselves. I decided to show them that they CAN do it.

Empower yourselves, because you CAN and you WILL.. 🙂

Positivity rules, what else CAN deaf people do?

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

(May you now realise, where the inspiration for the #ICAN posts came from.) 🙂

Therapy, The Deaf Way.

therapythedeafway

By SignHealth.

Over the past few weeks I have seen a campaign by SignHealth and their supporters from within the deaf community, steadily grow.

I wanted to share with you, my personal experience.

At one point last year, a deaf friend was concerned enough to put me into contact with someone offering their professional help except, how could I talk to them when their sibling was one of the bullies? The deaf world was much too small, typical and predictable for my liking. I felt extremely claustrophobic.

Eventually, my GP referred me for counselling to help lift me out of my depression and certain trains of thought. Members of the deaf community had brought all of my life altering experiences on so it was only natural for me to want to stick with a local counsellor, who was hearing and had very little (if no) experience with deaf clients.

My counsellor began the first of our many intensive sessions, asking if an interpreter should be present to help us communicate with ease. This was enough reason to make me clam up. I refused their offer politely and asked if we could continue without one, as I was confident it would work.

I did not at the time trust anyone that had any connections to the deaf community; enough to be anywhere near me. Not even an interpreter bound by confidence because they too, I could not trust.

In time, my counsellor’s deaf awareness grew with each session and once they took me by surprise by saying, “I am glad we didn’t use an interpreter because you would not have told me everything. You would have been extremely cautious. I did not think our sessions would work without one and you proved me wrong. You have taught me that not every deaf person needs an interpreter present and not every deaf person relies solely on sign language.”

Their acknowledgement and increased deaf awareness made my heart smile. I suddenly felt freer than I had ever been and that feeling of being finally understood, not just me but the deaf community too, how diverse it actually is and how our needs and abilities differ, was priceless. This was therapy, albeit my way.

Each to the their own for reasons that should be known to themselves, only.

It is vital that we fight to retain our choice to be counselled however we wish, be it the deaf way or the hearing way in order to be at our most comfortable, for our therapy to succeed. And for that, we should be grateful such a service like SignHealth exists because they do work, for those who choose them. For those who need them. For those who solely rely on sign language, for they do exist.

No one deserves to be ignored.

I wish SignHealth all the best with their latest campaign, to continue providing “a national psychological therapy service where all the therapists are fluent in British Sign Language (BSL)”.

#TherapyTheDeafWay

Finally yet just as importantly, I would like to applaud SignHealth for adding captions to their videos, making it more inclusive and accessible to all. Thank you, for doing so. 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

A Pleasure To Meet You.

I was encouraged by my best friend to share a video, that my daughter managed to sneak off me. (The little minx!)

I had previously been too fearful to share it because in it I speak. (I say “Is it recording?”) The last time I spoke in a video which was for the BBC, the fall out was unfortunately, predictable.

Too many people presume (albeit dangerously) and try to dictate our choices rather than respecting them.

By the way, I have signed ever since I could, because I have deaf parents – I believe in total communication.

So, come on over to The Tree House and meet me / us, cyber wise. Do feel free to share your videos too.

Positivity rules! 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Neighbours, Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Neighbours

Our elderly neighbour, Hilda, seemed exasperated with her mobile phone and she exclaimed, “My phone keeps on ringing all the time, I don’t know why!”

Me being deaf, I couldn’t hear if it was ringing or not said, “It might be a cold caller so register your number on the TPS site and by 28 days the calls should stop.” “Oh yes I’ll do that!” Hilda agreed.

Our other neighbour, Inga, joined us out of concern for Hilda who immediately pointed to her mobile phone inside her bag, “Can you hear it? It keeps on ringing… There it goes again!”

Inga seemed bewildered as we were given her phone. Her phone wasn’t ringing as it was off? We turned it on… Hilda then started giggling, realising it was actually her new hearing aid that was making the ringing sound.

She laughed so heartily effective, that we couldn’t help but laugh with her.

Bless her cottons!

Hilda’s hat had been placed over her hearing aids, setting them off. It set her off and relatively, us!

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours

With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend

Neighbours, should be there for one another

That’s when good neighbours become good friends….

~ SJ (Sara Jae)