When I found out I had got the funding to go to Mary Hare Sixth Form it was Christmas Day.
I jumped around the room with excitement, smiling from ear to ear as if there was a hanger in my mouth – I just couldn’t believe I had finally achieved my dream! So that was it, after school I’m going to start Mary Hare…
In March I got some of my GCSE results, I did quite well! But that got me thinking, if I can achieve the grades that I yearn for here in a mainstream environment, do I really need to go to a deaf school?
I started to assess myself in everyday situations such as lessons, conversations, and group situations, and often I’d end up thinking “I can cope here, I can hear.” Now I’ve started to question my identity, and the decision I have made, I feel more unsure and confused than ever.
In the day I can hear everyday sounds, I can hear the world around me – granted I may not hear as a “normal” person might, but I feel myself be immersed into the hearing world, embracing the world around me. I can hold a conversation with my family and friends; I can hear everyday sounds and talk on the phone… Things that some people take for granted but to me, I consider it a gift.
However night time is a completely different story, I am immersed in silence and feel more deaf than ever, having to rely on my parents if ever a fire was to occur, as they would need to alarm me. It’s the same when I go swimming, I find myself plunged into silence, having to depend on lip reading and sign language to communicate with my friends.
I can still remember when I went swimming with a friend of mine a few years ago; when I intended to do a dive I accidentally flipped and the lifeguard wasn’t happy and he started shouting at me – of course I was blissfully unaware of this. My friend had to tell him I was deaf, leaving him apologising. I felt a bit embarrassed!
Recently, I found myself in a predicament, I was on holiday and went to visit some friends. We were happily chatting away until my Cochlear Implant batteries died. The world around me suddenly became silent and once again I had to depend on lip-reading and sign language to communicate – not the easiest of tasks when you’ve got to follow the conversation of about 8 people!
These are the times when I feel as deaf as ever, and my profound deafness really hits home.
So I guess I feel like I’m in limbo, because I am neither in the deaf nor the hearing world. I don’t have a sense of belonging. I am simply on the fence, on the edge of both worlds, not quite clear which one I should enter – the hearing world or the deaf world.
Or can you really get the “best of both worlds?”
The Limping Chicken is supported by a range of charities and organisations linked to deafness, all of whom offer services that enhance deaf lives. Click on the images on the right-hand side of this site or go to our Supporter’s page to find out all about them!
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about 6 awesome accessibility apps!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people