The Truth Always Prevails

treeofhonesty

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Oftentimes I am reminded of the challenging positions of past that I was subjected to on different occasions by those who let their negativity and jealousy get the better of them, by those who had one rule for themselves and another for others, by those who conspired to overtake my role as founder and owner of The Tree House. There were also those who dared to manipulate (others) in order to engineer situations for their own gains, only, for it to be all in vain.

Only a select few has stood the test of time, remaining by my side throughout, giving continuous support and respect and so, it is they who deserve to be applauded for their courage to do right by others. Their moral values are both honourable and admirable.

Inevitably, there came a time when I became extremely deflated, of all the triviality and nastiness out there, so much so that I was determined not to close down The Tree House, in defiance of those who then chose to exploit and/or bully me, for being who I am. For being different, for being honest and for standing on my own two feet. For not following the (m)asses.

Fortunately, I soon realised all the unsavouriness was still dictating the quality of my time, which, to me, is very precious knowing how short life can be. My beloved children consequently became my first, second and last reason, hence the decision to take a sabbatical.

All I ever wished for was a space (for people) to speak freely with the greatest of respect, without fear of being judged. This is actually possible but only as long as people remain respectful and open minded of one another, willing to improve and learn, even from one’s (their own) mistakes. Except, there is yet much to absorb and practise regarding patience and relatively, respect. Everyone is different and there will always be those from all walks of life, who will teach us who not to be.

Even, those who may choose to knowingly associate themselves with the likes of the unsavouriness still, after having witnessing events or having seen evidence of the events, after allowing “them” to manipulate them into choosing a side – “they” are now, their problem. Their conscience.

To get by in the world of politics, one has to lie, be cunning, devious, manipulate and hold no or very little regard for others. It is all a game of ego and greed for power. Whereas a honest and genuine person trying to do their best by the people, for the people, will unfortunately be singled out and descended upon by a baying pack of wolves, those who are in fact afraid of having their true colours exposed, fearing the truth and subsequently, being embarrassed of their own flaws.

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There are those of us who may (appear to) stand alone for speaking the truth and telling it like it is. However, that is okay because our conscience is clear.

Now would be an ideal time to remind you of one of my posts titled “Positivity rules!

There is no shame in being introspective, in being honest albeit respectfully, in seeking further knowledge, for it will all help you to become a better person. It is courageous at best since it is all about the survival of the fittest in our test of a lifetime.

On that note, do look forwards – not backwards as any impurities, which have been filtered out and left behind, are behind us for valid reasons.

Thus, why, I have decided to move on from such experiences. I have learnt so much more about people and their ways, the deaf world and how it functions. I can only hope you will appreciate this level of honesty, as I believe people deserve to know the truth since the truth always prevails.

We all have our own lives to mind and so, I wish you all the best in yours.

A token of gratitude and a tip of the hat please, for Andrew, Paul, Mervyn and all our readers / contributors simply, for being you.

More than you realise… 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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Disability Sensitivity Training Video.

This video which was initially shared by Action On Hearing Loss (AOHL) earlier, caught my eye and made me smile so sharing in the hope that it will also make your heart smile too.

 “The easiest way to show respect is to focus on the person, not their disability.”

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Credit And Respect Where It Is Due – Please.

How should one feel after numerous times of making suggestions and coming up with ideas only for someone else to make it their own?

This website and group is not for other people to make gains from and it would be nice if respect and credit is paid where it is due – please.

Because next time, we will kick ass. 🙂

So please, pay credit where the content first originated and respect the people who came up with or wrote it.

Thank you.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t

I have decided to seize the day in order to try to end the on-going issues from last week’s chain of events. It is time for everyone else to put it to bed and move on. Respect all around x

“Hello Everyone,

Last week was a bad week for me and I’m sure it was the same for other people too.

Why bad week?

Because people criticised my choice of what to do. Last week, people didn’t respect the various communication needs and differences.

Last week, people attacked me because people made videos which were divisive, not only one but two, three, four and so on. Through all of them, people criticised.

I feel nervous making videos because never make but last summer I did make videos for one person but that person hurt me a lot. I didn’t feel I could make videos so stopped.

Last week I talked with one person by making videos again. Why? Because I wanted to sort out the problems and I don’t want bad feelings between us. We corresponded by sending video messages – all sorted out. Not easy.

Same other people when I sign I feel concerned about being criticised but now I don’t care because I will do what I feel is right, what is inclusive of all.

Lot of people think if (I) we can sign and speak as well, it is an easy life – no, you’re wrong. We (I) suffer more.

You see last week, what happened? This was out of our control. The BBC decided to make this video of which I did not know there would be other speakers too, I didn’t know but I was happy to see their video showed speakers to show the variety in the end. But when they did the interview, I didn’t know.

The first interview, I tried to sign and speak which no one knows about. People still criticised me. Not my problem but yours. The second interview, I felt like speaking because it was easier (to a hearing person) quicker so we could all leave. Also because the other people that was there all signed. I felt I wanted to show equality as there was signers but no speakers so I braved it and tried my best to speak, the interpreter present knows this and he stayed just in case I changed my mind and wanted to sign instead. I come from deaf parents and my first language is sign of which I know is not perfect but still I braved it.

If I sign, im damned if I do, if I speak, im damned if I do. I cant win.

When I see people using sign language, I feel others should try to sign, add subtitles so those wont be left out. When I see orals or typers I feel like I want to show sign so all is included.

Our Tree House, if people want to put BSL videos on – welcome. I will volunteer to transcribe and I have done so in the past to make sure everyone is included.

This morning I woke up and saw numerous videos on FB with sign language in. It was good and nice to see but still it means I have mixed feelings. Why? Because only signers will understand and the speakers who write cant understand. I feel like I am being torn, can’t win, always stuck in the middle, hurt because want to see everyone being equals. Don’t want signers to be left out, speakers to be left out.

The Tree House is about equality, showing respect no matter what your communication needs are. At the same time, while its good to see signing more in videos but on the other hand it is appeasing the bsl using community to make them feel better because we know they feel “Where is sign language?! “We have to hold onto it!” worrying it will cease. Don’t worry, wont cease.

My view, Facebook is only for social media. Sign language videos will make people become more addicted. It is also not a replacement for real life. In real life, there is a strong community. Facebook is only facebook,

Last week, people spat their dummies, behaving as if everything had to be done “my (their) way!, me me me me” Not everything is about you, have other people with different communication needs, difference schools of thoughts, need to remain calm and not spit their dummy, behave like a baby, throwing toys out of their prams.

Then what happened? People made videos of which some points were not true which is why I stood up for myself (as I was there!) because I am a big believer in the truth, I don’t like lies. Last week, people who made videos, I tried to tell them they were wrong and it was misleading. (People were jumping to conclusions based on assumptions) should have said what was right and I tried to explain. What happened? Their friends blamed me.

People sent me messages which were not very nice, people oppressed me, dictated to me as well as to other people. Hold on, don’t forget, I am from deaf family and I do sign. If you want to judge me, you’re wrong to do so.

This is another form of bullying. If it continues, I will take action.

Sorry about my signing, I feel nervous because I don’t like videos. I worry that people will download them and edit accordingly to portray those as a bad person. This is another reason why I don’t make videos, we have to be careful, for safe guarding.

I hope everyone will carry on respecting the different communication needs and not only sign language or only speakers. There are people who are in the middle. Need to open, have an open mind as well as respecting. We can’t do “My way, me me me” all the time – it won’t work. People (outsiders) will view us and think we are childish.

Just imagine last week, if hearing people saw what happened – they would think “My god! So that’s what the deaf community is like?!”

My conscience is clear, I tried my best, if people want to criticise and bully me – not my problem.

While im signing in this video, I feel mixed up because I know some of my friends wont understand so I have to transcribe also. It’s only fair.

Facebook is only for quick posts, not for life stories or continuous videos, Just quickly contact because it is visual. That’s it. It is not a replacement for life (in general).

Nervous. Thank you for watching and hope you understand me well.

Bye”

I am only telling it like it is as honesty is the best policy – life is too short yet please spare a moment to remember how to prioritise, triviality versus Apartheid? No contest.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Update: Here is another version of last week’s chain of events by Paul titled “Who really cares?”

Embracing Identity, Celebrating Difference by Michelle Hedley

Today, from two different sources on Facebook, I was made to feel inferior and not able to call myself “deaf”.  Worse still, those comments were made by other deaf people in the so called deaf “community” and as a result are quite hurtful.  I might expect ignorant comments to be made by members of the hearing community, but from other deaf people?

I was (probably) born deaf, having finally been diagnosed at 3 years of age, and for the first seven years of my education until I was 10, I attended a mainstream infant and junior school in a nearby town that had a “unit” with deaf children attached. Thus I was integrated with both hearing and deaf children whilst getting speech therapy. At that point in time, sign language was frowned upon by those in the education authority (early 70s) and thus I was taught to talk and lip-read. For me, I was unaware of any other way to communicate in my early years of childhood.

When I was 10 years old, due to a family move to another part of the country, I was plunged into the unknown as the education authority’s policy there was to place the child into mainstream schooling with no support. Thus I became the first deaf child in the village and the schools I consequentially went through to the age of 18. This meant that I had no contact with other deaf children (or adults) and continued to develop my lip-reading and speech skills.  I was lucky in a sense, as I loved learning and I loved going to school! I also loved the English language and had a reading age far advanced of my actual years.

My parents then became members of the NDCS and this meant that I started to engage with other deaf children again. However this was short lived as most of them signed and I was unable to communicate with them.  I went to various deaf clubs in an attempt to socialise with others, but soon discovered that because I didn’t sign, that I was not considered “deaf” and was shunned by them.  Despite trying to learn some sign, I was ignored and after this happened so many times, I made a decision at the age of 18 to no longer be a part of the deaf community. It did not mean that I did not identify with being deaf, just the fact that at that time the community felt unable to integrate with deaf people who were not able to sign for whatever reason.

Years and years passed and I remained firmly in the hearing world with no contact with other deaf people. Despite having speech I still had the usual difficulties that are associated with being deaf by not being able to make telephone calls, follow group discussions, follow TV without subtitles and so on. Despite being “excluded” from the deaf community I still fought battles with organisations for equal access with some successes.

It was not until I became more familiar with social networking a few years ago that I started to socialise online with other deaf people on both Facebook and Twitter. I became more involved with activities and campaigns and slowly started to integrate back into the deaf community. I was still painfully aware though that there was still a division between BSL and Non BSL users. Last summer, as a Big Brother fan, I became a daily blogger for Limping Chicken following Sam Evans for 13 weeks reporting as he eventually came to be the winner of the series! This resulted in my being invited onto See Hear to be interviewed for TV! This was such an exciting time to travel down to London (from Northumberland) in order to share my experience of following Sam throughout and the deaf awareness that it helped to create. That excitement was dulled somewhat when after it was televised I received comments that as Sam and I both didn’t sign, that we didn’t represent the deaf community and were not really deaf!! Coming from adults in this day and age I was frustrated to find that perhaps the deaf community had not changed at all since my teenage years. Nevertheless I managed to recover from those comments and continued to embrace my deafness and took part in several campaigns to benefit others such as the recent Lovefilm/Amazon and Sky.

Those feelings came to the fore again today when on both the Love Subtitles Facebook page and Treehouse Facebook page, comments were made referring to BSL users and Oral deaf and again implying that deaf people are bsl users. One poster on the Love Subtitles page said “I do remember feeling ‘teed off’ when Eastenders showed Ben last year to be a normal speaking boy. How did he lipread when looking away? That does not represent a hard of hearing person does it, let alone a deaf person.”  David Buxton, Chief Executive of the BDA said on the same subject “I Vividly remembered a sense of joy when we heard Phil Mitchell’s new born son being diagnosed as deaf. I envisioned future episodes of Eastenders featuring deaf children growing up in a gangster family and using BSL.  Sadly I was totally mistaken!  His son wore a hearing aid, spoke fine and went to prison!” I was shocked to read that sort of comment from someone in that position and that he appears to not accept that deaf people can talk and lip-read and yet still have the same issues that arise from being deaf just like BSL users do.

Time and time again I see comments about little d and big D and implying that deaf means BSL. When a deaf character appears on TV and doesn’t sign, the snipes are always there about BSL and that “real deaf people do not talk”!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against BSL at all. Far from it.  Just like speech is right for me personally, I also know that BSL is the RIGHT way of communication for many of you. All I ask is a bit of consideration and remember that we are all in the same boat. Remember that some of us from older generations had no choice about how they learnt to communicate at school.  We all have different hearing losses, mild to severe/total (I have a severe hearing loss in the high frequencies), with our own ways of communicating. Some of us may be able to communicate in more than one way.  There is no right and wrong way, we must all do what is best for ourselves as individuals. But PLEASE be considerate of each other and remember we are all human and have feelings. Do not make the same mistake that hearing people make of trying to put labels on us all and make us fit into the same boxes with our very different needs. Whether we talk, lip-read, sign BSL/SSE or a combination, we all face the same issues our deafness creates in this society and together we can share our experiences and advice.

I have really had to stand back and ask myself whether I wanted to be a part of the so called community that chooses to exclude certain individuals based on what communication method they choose to use. I realise that none of the comments today were directed at me personally, but I still am affected by them as an “oral deaf” member, and the insistence to put labels on ourselves doing exactly what we hate hearing people to do to us! I am hoping this is just a blip and nor the norm as it were. Lets embrace each other and celebrate the fact that we are all different but united in the one thing that bonds us all together – the need to communicate by whatever method we can to get by in this world.

– Michelle Hedley.

Michelle Hedley.

Michelle Hedley.

To whom it may concern

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To whom it may concern,

Due to a recent experience at a production, I have decided to try and give people an insight into one’s frustrations with being hearing impaired.

My family sat behind this particular row, of people who were familiar. Throughout the production, they decided to criticise and kept count of the other people talking or for making noises. Little did they know that I could understand everything they were saying about others. They were sat directly in front of me, talking with their heads bobbing which kept meeting, interrupting my view.

There I sat, thinking ‘Hold on, you’re talking about other people talking and you’re shaking your heads in dismay’….. Hmmmm.

By this point I had really managed to remain patient throughout most of the show.

I myself cannot hear to understand a word that is being said although I lip read very well, when I can see one’s mouth.

Enough was enough so I gently tapped one on their arm and kindly said ‘Can you stop talking please?’…..

Of course, she gave the dirtiest look one could and told the person seated next to her what I had said albeit with very negative body language…. This person then decided to sidle over and sit a certain way, blocking my view, totally.

I am not one to play games and my family knew I was extremely frustrated – I was advised to go home so I agreed to remove myself from the situation. This was, probably for the best.

This is only one example of the many, frustrations I experience during my life yet that one experience alone was the very last straw.

I tend not to demand an interpreter at every hospital appointment, GP’s appointment, exhibitions, productions or meetings. Another deaf adult who knows their rights would do all these things, and then some.

There are different levels and quality of education a deaf person receives throughout their school life which is not their fault but the Government’s and the education system. Just as it is their fault for not being deaf aware and/or instilling that awareness into the nation on an equal basis.

People are somewhat shocked when they learn I have deaf parents, my character is akin to that of a hearing person’s even though I can reside within both worlds. Usually, a deaf child from a deaf family is extremely hard work – being quite stubborn and very demanding. This is most probably due to the fact that they can communicate and express themselves freely, visually, within their own ‘deaf world’ whereas in the ‘hearing world’ some may not be as able to do so.

I find being in both the “hearing world” and “deaf world” it is restrictive and isolating. What with all the communication barriers I face on a daily basis. Hearing people will also feel the same level of isolation and restriction due to their own circumstances. For example a foreigner travelling and/or residing in a foreign land will be able to relate to me on quite a similar level yet they can overcome this barrier by learning the language. So perhaps our physical attributes has no relevance to the isolation but it certainly does contribute.

Some of the most common dismissive terms a deaf person will be told are “Never mind”. “I’ll tell you later”, “It doesn’t matter”, “It’s not important” and “Don’t worry”.

I encounter people giving me rude looks almost every day because they do not realise I have a hearing impairment. It is sometimes considered a hidden disability because we appear to be fine.

They stand behind me in the street, the bus, the supermarket, high street shops, asking or making comments to me yet they do not understand why I do not turn to acknowledge them. By the reaction of some people, they make judgements about me (as being rude or impolite) before knowing the truth only correcting themselves after seeing the hearing aids or being informed of my dilemma by present company.

My whole life as a hearing impaired person is one big frustration, but, I still have to live with it and get on with it the best I can.

I do not quite know how I can help the public more in raising deaf awareness. It is just, there are and will be adults who are uncomfortable around deaf people due to their fear of the unknown. Yet, there are also adults who will use it as an excuse, or an advantage, to ‘rub it in’. They understand enough to do so. I ‘see’ more than I want to sometimes. I see so much negativity, prejudice and ignorance that it disheartens me. But….. C’est la vie.

It is such a shame that one can assume another is ignorant, when it is actually their own ignorance that is impairing their judgement and character. Another word for this could be deemed as ‘discrimination’, depending on the environment. It only goes to show their true colours.

These days due to the shocking lack of deaf awareness and ignorance within society, I keep being reminded of a story told to me by a teacher of mine. As a young girl she saw something on the news… Guards at a border somewhere in a foreign land, was calling a man – from behind. But he kept on walking… The guards obviously made assumptions and made the quick decision to shoot him in the back. For fear that he was ignoring them in order to carry out terrorist acts. He died. The guards found out afterwards that he was actually deaf…. This affected her enough to become a teacher, for the deaf. And I am honoured to have been taught by her – Thank you. I sincerely hope this open letter of mine, will help you to remember one day, to consider that the person in front of you may have a hearing or sight impairment. No one is perfect.

Where might one ask these days, can you see respect and good manners? On that note, thank you very much, for your time and patience. May one’s frustrations be another person’s education.

Yours,

A member of the public.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)