Today I had to do something I have not done in a very long time. I had to dust off my CV and update it. As my sickness benefit has run out and as neither hospital in Tampere will see me at my own doctor’s referral after the official complaint I made against the Audiologist at one of Tampere’s public hospitals, BOTH hospitals responded to my own doctor with “We refuse to see that particular patient.” These two hospitals are taxpayer-funded public hospitals. I am a taxpayer. But I am also a taxpayer who officially reported a surdophobic Audiologist for her dishonest and discriminatory actions.
What struck me, when I opened my CV, is how much has changed since I last updated it. I was single, living in another country and I was hearing. I am soon coming up to my sixth wedding anniversary, am living in the most visually beautiful country in the world and I am profoundly Deaf and legally blind. I am also an author, editor, proof-reader and professional blogger who is represented by a Publisher in London.
When I looked at who I was compared to who I am now, I expected some sadness. Instead, I felt strength. I was able to look on a piece of paper and see exactly how much I had accomplished over the past seven years. I have learned two new languages since then (Finnish, to a basic level, and American Sign Language – my language of communication). I have made some new friends and live in not one, but TWO new worlds.
Finland’s climate is a stark contrast to that of Australia. One does not trip over spiders and snakes inside their homes in Finland, and the snow… the winters here in Finland are absolutely breath-taking!
Then comes the Deaf community. The Deaf in Tampere greet you with a hug and smile, say goodbye with a hug and smile, sign slowly if you ask them to, don’t care about the colour of your skin, the fact that your hair is extremely short or that you are not a mirror-image of Angelina Jolie. There are many things that the hearing representatives of the Deaf community don’t know… and will never know. My husband is one of the lucky few hearing who happily submerged himself in Deaf life and culture. I love him now more than I ever did and am grateful that he stuck by my side, whereas many friends and family jumped ship and stopped visiting. Deaf is scary for hearing people… but that is only because they choose to let it be scary.
I have updated my name, address, spoken languages, work experience, have removed my telephone number completely (due to hearing people not accepting that Deaf cannot hear phones), have two sign languages as well, and underneath my name at the top, I now specify the most important things to any employer (and to me).
Profoundly Deaf / legally blind
Communication: Read/Write: ENGLISH / Sign: ASL
If an employer cannot or refuses to communicate in a way that I understand, I am unable to work for them as it places me in an unsafe work environment. The safety of their employees and my own safety is paramount to those two lines of text.
Almost one year ago, I was newly Deaf, scared out of my mind that my husband would leave me, unsure of where my life would take me. But I now have new experiences, new friendships and a marriage stronger than the toughest steel.
Hearing people of the world, regardless of your occupation or social status, please learn that there is nothing whatsoever to fear from Deaf people. Deafness is not contagious, nor does it limit one’s intelligence. I am no more stupid now than I was in my hearing days, and I am just as determined to fight corruption against my people. The only difference now is that “my people” is not just Australia’s Blackfellas… it also encompasses Deafies. Suppress my rights or the rights of my people and I will fight back, regardless of how many human rights you take away.
Deafness has given me a strength in life that I never thought I had. I embrace that strength and refuse to feel shame or weakness, since being Deaf is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
– Rosie xx