Ten Reasons Why We Would Like Change.

We are all too aware that changes need to be made and asks ‘What would you like to see be changed?’

(SJ says, “I would like” because her grandmother always said, “I want – never gets”!)

Here is a list of some of the changes the Tree House dwellers long for;

I would like to see the deaf community put their differences aside and work together to improve access. I wish they would realise no one is superior or inferior to another.

I would like to see a bridge built between people of every walk of life (deaf and hearing for example) working together to establish common ground and to work out ways to bridge gaps that exist between the two camps.

I would like to see the deaf community unite regardless of different communication abilities to work towards the same aims because that would make inroads more.

I would like to see a day when being deaf does not feel like being punished for something you did not do!

I would like peace because I am a troubled person.

I would like people to stop having one rule for themselves and another for others because that is just selfish and unfair.

I would like change to happen from the top down so everyone is equal regardless of whether they are deaf, HoH, deafblind, blind, hearing or different in any other way.

I would like to see respect and tolerance between all human beings across the planet, and the gap between rich and poor hugely reduced.

I would like people to realise just how diverse the deaf community is and that not everyone is reliant on the same assumed method(s) of communication.

I would like to see the deaf community and the hearing world to look at the full picture instead of looking at one spot constantly and focus on the diversity cos we all are diverse and lastly unique…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

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Positivity Rules!

Life in itself is one big challenge, testing us daily to see how we fare. The results of which moulds us over time into whom we are and for some who we do not want to become.

It is up to us, as and when to introspect, seeing the errors of our ways if any, to tackle and improve on these traits. It is also up to us how we deal with these daily challenges. Do we react instinctively or take a step back and contemplate? The latter is not so hard to do.

More often than not, reacting instinctively leads to destruction, sending one into a negative state of despair. Almost certainly sending you on a downwards spiral towards a quagmire, which can be a very dark place to be? Once that point of “trying to stay afloat” is reached, be it by another’s hand or words, it is time to review the situation why, who or what got you there in the first place and nip it in the bud. Find the negativity and turn it a positive because even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

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“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

― Abraham Lincoln.

In order to get the best that we deserve, we need to give and do our best otherwise; one will get what they give. To react constructively comes, positivity in the knowledge and confidence that we have tried our best whilst remaining dignified in the face of justice. Only then, can we reflect and feel positively rewarded.

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I always say, “Keep on smiling – it is free and does wonders” so take the first step in being positive by smiling. To strangers, to your friends and families – in smiling, you are instinctively changing your outlook, your moods and the glow on your face. By smiling, you could be helping someone else – without even realising it. It takes an extremely special someone to rise above giving what he or she got, in order to be kinder on themselves and others. You too can be this person. Carpe diem.

Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules! Because it rocks.

Wishing each and every one of you best wishes for the new year – wherever you may be.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

Stop Online Abuse.

Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.

There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.

When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.

The World Wide Web.

The World Wide Web.

However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.

To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.

Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publically naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.

I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.

To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!

Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).

◾Depression

◾Shame

◾Low self-esteem

◾Sadness

◾Difficulty trusting others

◾Anger

◾Anxiety

◾Frustration

◾Fear

The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.

Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.

It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.

Thank you, for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Some useful links for your reference:

Internet Safety

Bully Online

Crown Prosecution Service

Taking action about Harassment.

Harassment Act 1997

and last but not least,

I would like to applaud Dr Taylor.

Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.

Hungry? By Paul Leonard

Take a look at this picture, do you know where it was taken? What are they waiting for?  Was the photo taken at a bus stop?

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No, this photo was taken outside Covent Garden at around 6pm on Thursday just gone, the day before the newest iPhone from Apple came out.  Speaking with man in the checked shirt, he told me the new phone was due out at 8am the following day and so presumably the line would only get longer … and longer!  (I would of gone back the following day to take a look again, but I wasn’t well enough.)

At this time, there were around 6-8 tents that people had erected to sleep in over night and this queue which stretched the width (and longer) of the front of the Covent Garden Apple Store.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge geek and love all things technological but the site frankly sickened me!  Scores of people waiting to spend at least £600 of their money on a phone.

The very same evening, some of the Admin Team from Tree House met up for a Chinese meal.  Food was great, company was even better, just the staff were the problem (which we may save for a future post.)  The food was very tasty as I say and for 7 of us, the cost was just over £78.  We were all well fed at just over £11 a head, a bargain.  We had left over food and decided to pay for some boxes to take the food out with us.  The purpose, for midnight munchies?  No, to try and find a homeless person and give the food to them.

Just outside Leicester Square tube, we met Nigel, along with his dog.  Here he is with Sarah, Paul and Sara:

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Anyway, Nigel had left over spare ribs, lemon chicken, some rice and noodles and even some prawn crackers.  (He must of thought all his Christmases had come at once!)  We gave him the food and we made him and his dog very very happy!

This got me thinking about the messed up world we live in.  People prepared to spend a fortune on “fluff and stuff”, stuff that will pass away in time and break and yet there are people like Nigel, who in one day, would be lucky to make even 1% of the cost of the phone (£6) and still have to buy food from their begged for money!  Personally, I don’t agree with giving money to homeless people in case it fuels a habit that perhaps shouldn’t be fuelled but giving food and drink, this is the way to do it.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Nigel, this post is dedicated to you and certainly not the guys in Cupertino, California.  As I said to you that night, “Go well – whatever you do, do it well!”

 

~PAL

 

Never Look Down on Someone Unless You Are Helping Them Up.

The moment I read Teresa Garraty’s article on Limping Chicken “Is it time for deaf people to be a little less angry?” I knowingly smiled. I felt she made her point which in my eyes, from my own more than fair share of experience, was justified.

Her article very bravely made light of the facts around us because: “it is relatively true and reminds people not to take things so seriously. Not to be so immersed and concentrated. Not to be fighting all the time. It is not directed at people who campaign tirelessly but at the attitude within societies that give off those vibes of us not being a welcoming and positive community which is in turn misleading them?” As I gave my response on the back of it amongst other rather emotive feedback and watched some bitterness simmering which once again only confirmed Teresa’s whole point?

I concluded, “I just think if we come across as “angry” we won’t be heard but seen as just that. I can see her points from being on other teams and since I left those I can see those attributes which I have shrugged off as I do not want to be seen as demanding or “angry” but as welcoming and positive. Which would make inroads more? Being welcoming or being “angry” which is how hearing society is perceiving us? Hence why I said it’s misleading them because we aren’t angry. Some only appear angry. Most do react as though they are angry.’”

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.” – Confucius

With actions comes consequences: relatively soon after her initial supposedly “controversial” article, Teresa followed up with what she meant by her angry deaf people article to explain in depth, apologising to those she did not intend to cause any offence to, which I thought was admirable of her because members of the public chose to take offence? I was very concerned to learn that she was bullied as a result of her tongue in cheek article. This was sadly inevitable knowing how society behaves, yet it could have been avoided if people within the deaf community had their sense of humour about them. But perhaps their true colours were exposed instead? Who knows. I personally think Teresa should have been warned of potential back-lash from the more experienced writers and contributors but there is only so much people can help others with. Out of a negative, comes a positive. Teresa, in my eyes, is now wiser and more experienced regarding people’s ways.

Nowadays when someone reacts angrily, I am instantly reminded of Teresa’s article and once again smile. I know for a fact a friend of mine is on guard with the article ready to present before the offending party. That is who he is but for me, I so just know it is going to wind them up even more. ‘Tis best to let things be. Why? Because we can. There is no point in dwelling over an iota of bitterness because that iota is only going to grow into an ounce, which in time will weigh tons; becoming overbearing and diseasing your mind along with your soul. Paranoia will also creep in which one will eventually pass onto those around them. Deal with it.

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help and what they cannot.” – Plato

Lone campaigners have the passion and desire to see change out of frustration, due to the pace or finances others impose. This is highly admirable because it is a voluntary action which means sacrificing valuable personal time and sweat for a cause they believe in – I pay respect to each and every one who find it in themselves to be subjected to intense passion and genuine interest from the bottom of their hearts. It frustrates me still, to see “friends” patting each other’s backs behind the scenes. It is happening everywhere, the most blindingly obvious has to be the government who more or less went to school with one another.

We have seen several hardened and angry members enter the Tree House who over time have mellowed wonderfully and stayed on, with their sense of humour, trying to resist the urge to come out and joke along. Naturally there will always be one or two who lose their footing along the way but since people know how it feels to be bullied, isolated, singled out, put down and how it hurts to be kicked whilst down after so long, it has automatically become second nature to us to help them up on their way again. It is what you, the people are making it.

It is always healthy to exercise our free speech as nature intended, within reason and respect, in order to teach others. In the past I have been dictated to, to not say this, to not post that, to delete this, to remove that especially when what I said or had done in the first place was justified. How else will people learn, reflect upon, see things and others for what/who they truly are? There is always a balance and only a wise, experienced person will know when to control themselves.

“Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up”

– is another favourite quote of mine.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)