Hi!! Are you ready to get deep into the more behind the scenes of SZP? I am ready to open up and really share my journey as a parent of deaf children. I was in and out of readiness to share this, mostly because I didn’t know if it was really something you’d want to read about. However, I have come t realize that this is a HUGE part of who I am and I want to be able to tell my kids that they should feel proud of who they are.
I reached out to a few business owners and awesome people who I know that are deaf, and asked if they minded answering a few questions for me. To my surprise-they were 100% on board and excited. Michaela is our first interview-ee and I am so excited to share her story with you. I want to thank her right now for being so open to sharing her amazingness!! Here we go!
So what I did was send over a questionnaire interview style, Michaela gave some amazing answers, and then we had a quick headshot session that really highlighted her journey!
S: What business do you run/ what do you do for a living?
M: Michael Kessler Photography
S:Tell me about your hearing loss (don't get too emotional here-see that a few down!)
M: My hearing loss was from birth. From my first minute in the world to now, I have been deaf. It’s crazy because NO ONE in my family is deaf except my brother and I. Because of that though, we have been fortunate to have one another to talk about the struggles no one else would understand.
S: Do you use any hearing technology? (Hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc)
M: I had hearing aids when I was younger but a cochlear implant at the age of 5 to now.
S: Do you use ASL, English or both?
M: English, lipreading , very little ASL
S: How has your hearing loss impacted the way you run/do business?
M: Because of my hearing loss I have been able to connect with clients on a whole new level. I understand certain situations that others may not because I have experienced them sooner. Running a business isn’t easy for anyone, but the way you look upon the struggles that come your way is what is going to reflect your business. Because I am deaf I work towards my photography in a way to prove something to myself. To prove that if I can look outside my disability and make something of myself with the same ability as anyone else so can everyone else.
S: What is something you wish you could go back and tell yourself knowing what you know now?
M: That you will have to work 10 times harder than everyone else, but embrace it. Allow yourself to go that extra mile not because you have to, but because that will be what turns you into the person you will become. Also look at the positive of the disability, what you get to enjoy that others acutaly think is cool?!
S: Do you think there is a negative stigma associated with hearing loss? How do youdeal with naysayers?
M: There is negativity when people don’t understand the struggle. When you’re having a conversation with someone and you ask them to repeat themselves more than once, they get annoyed. I think it’s not that they do it on purpose, but because patience isn’t demanded anymore, so it makes it harder to find. I admit it bothers me when they make me feel stupid and yell in my face when I don’t hear them the first three times. I honestly wish I heard you the first time, but I can’t help it. By understanding that most of the people you come across are unaware or uneducated on how to communicate with me. Once you just talk to someone about your hearing, they are interested but in a positive way!
S: What would you say to a young child with a hearing loss who is having a hard time dealing?
M: Don’t worry about the kids pointing and staring, it’s because they are curious. They don’t know what your situation is, but once you tell them your story they think it’s pretty cool.
S: Is there anything else you want to add?? Feel free to go wild :)
M: It’s honestly awesome being deaf I get an alarm clock that vibrates my bed in the morning to wake me up, hello morning massages… not really but I can’t go back to sleep after it goes off! I always get deep sleep because I don’t hear a thing at night, no thunderstorms are keeping me up!! Its a new platform I get to connect with people on, I am exposed to a whole new community of people I get to relate to! ( hey if you want me to write more on anything let me know!!)
Thank you so much for taking the time and answering some pretty raw questions. I knowthat this is a hit or miss, and it means so much to me that you are willing to share your story and success with me!
So there we go!! Michaela is such a spirited young lady, and oh so sweet. I am so proud too her for sharing with me (and you) and I just know that she is only going to continue doing great things!! Are you ready to share your story? I would love to have anyone share with me so if you are-comment below or send me an email and let’s chat!
Sending you SO. MUCH. LOVE from me, my family, and my two deaf boys Hayden and
October 2, 2017