Categories
AVA Daily Prompt deaf girl Heart to heart Jeanna' Soul kindred spirits Uncategorized

A Blessing and A Curse

Friday afternoon a friend of mine stopped by my massage studio and we sat outside on the patio,drinking beer and catching up. He had been doing yard work all day and I had just finished several massage sessions. It was a rare chance just to sit down together for a little while.

We started talking about our days and I mentioned that I had done a Thai massage on the patio early Wednesday morning and that it had been so peaceful. He grinned and said,”It’s a little loud out here right now.”

I looked at him with enough surprise in my eyes that he pointed out that he could hear someone hammering 100 yards away, cars driving by and car doors shutting and people talking in the parking lot across the street.

100 yards! I couldn’t even imagine because,since I’m hard of hearing, I think-although I KNOW better- that only what I am seeing and feeling is making noise.

For me, sound is visual and tactical. I can feel the wind blowing so I realise that it’s making a rustling sound, and I can see the wind chimes moving,so I know they are making a sound…but I’m not sure how loud it is or if it’s as soothing as i assume it is.

I had no idea that my clients would be hearing a lawn mower yards away or the chatter of people walking up the sidewalks during the Thai massage sessions that I do outside on the covered patio deck at Rockwall Body and Soul Massage.

This space is surrounded by trees and a high privacy fence so I’ve always considered it a peaceful, sacred oasis..far removed from the sounds of everything but when Jim told me what he heard, I was, quite frankly, a little shocked and then, I was filled with gratitude..

You see, hardly anyone ever tells me what I’m missing and I’m so used to missing out that it’s an incredible act of kindness when I’m made aware of something that I didn’t know.
I told Jim that I didn’t realize how loud it was outside.

As we sat facing each other, only inches apart, I explained that, as far as I was concerned, he was the only person in the world at this time. My eyes were watching his lips so I could read his words. I paid close attention to his eyes and his body language and I listened with every ounce of my being, concentrating so hard to avoid missing anything important and to have to ask for it to be repeated.

He nodded his head in understanding and said, “It’s a blessing and a curse.”

A blessing and a curse.

That’s exactly what it feels like. A blessing that I’m unaware of noises that I don’t see. A curse because it could affect the way others feel about the sessions they receive.

A curse because I’m so used to being left out that I just accept it. When people are talking right in front of me but don’t bother to slow down just a little so I can understand, I just pretend it doesn’t sting and walk away.

A curse because I feel invisible- unnoticed,unnecessary, uninvited.

I’ve sat at tables,sharing meals and not sharing conversations. People glance up, catch my eye and pause, as if they just now realized I was there, and then give me the “Readers Digest” version which usually begins like this, “Oh,we were just talking about……”

But it’s a blessing,too, because I’ve learned to be alone. I’ve learned to find the beauty in solitude, to fill the voids in my heart with other things. it’s made me a very compassionate woman. I appreciate kindness so much, the extraordinary gifts of patience and understanding. I marvel at the wonders of technology like AVA -Audio Visual Accessibility- an app I use every day and captions for lyrics through Sound Hound and MusicMatch which gives me the gift of understanding the songs I’m listening to.

It’s a blessing because I don’t take anything for granted. When someone takes the time to include me or tells me something that makes me feel connected, then I am overwhelmed with gratitude, especially when I haven’t asked.

My Mema used to listen intentionally and purposefully wherever we were at and then, when we were alone, she would pat the seat beside her, beckon me over and give me a play-by-play of everything she had heard.

I would look so forward to these times because I knew she would tell the stories in such a way that we would both be roaring with laughter.or bought to tears, or shaking with indignation. She made me feel as if it was the greatest adventure to be able to share the stories with me. She had a knack of making everything come alive.

It was a blessing and a curse to hear the stories second-hand, filtered through her Southern sass and sensibilities.

It’s a blessing and a curse because I can’t choose what I hear but I can choose how I listen to others. I choose to sit closely, and to seek out places that make lip reading as easy as possible. I choose small.intimate gatherings over large,rambunctious events. I choose to be mindful and grateful, instead of bitter and spiteful. I choose to walk away and find my own peace rather than stay and feel alienated.

That’s why it was such a rare thing when my friend came by, sat outside and talked with me. He knows full well that it is a blessing and a curse to be friends with a deaf woman. It takes longer to visit and sometimes people get the wrong idea because I sit closely and lean forward to understand. I touch often, which is my way of feeling the vibrations. of making connection, of being centered with whoever I’m listening to.

It’s a blessing because he knows that I’m giving him my utmost attention,but it’s also a curse because I look so much deeper into the heart of a person and that can make some people feel a little vulnerable or uncomfortable.

It’s just the way things are with me and all I can hope is that I’m more of a blessing than a curse.

Jeanna’ Mead

9 18 p.m. 6-6-18

http://www.jeannasoul.com

#deaftherapist #writingmyheartout #myownwords #jeannasoil

Categories
AVA C.A.R.E Cast Your Stone Choose to be love Create A Ripple Effect Daily Prompt Deaf Massage Therapist Heart to heart Jeanna' Soul kindred spirits Make Love writers with soul Writing

October Dances

As September collapses into October each and every year, I find myself at that familiar ragged edge once again.

This is the month I began saying “goodbye” to the woman that raised me, loved me,claimed me and shaped me.  It’s a month full of “last” and of too many “first” and I dance along the edges between the need for solitude,the desire for company. It’s a time when I long to be asked to dance and when I want to dance all by myself. 

My Mema, Lord, have mercy, was the most charming, creative, headstrong, fearless, loving woman that ever danced this earth. 

And I say “dance” instead of “walked” because that’s exactly hl what she did.

Our garage door was left wide open and Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Dolly Parton would keep us company while we worked in the garden, planting onions, beans,tomatoes and peppers or just sitting out in the driveway talking.

At any moment, she might catch my eye, wipe the dirt off her hands and grab my hand while saying , “Come on, let’s dance.”  We would do a little two stepping in the grass and she would be singing the words so I could read her lips.

Her blue eyes would twinkle and she would say, ” Oh, I just love this man’s voice….he could put his boots under my bed anyday”

That was just a figure of speech for her. Truth be told, the only man who ever left his boots under her bed was the man she loved till the day she died. 

Daddy and Mema could cut a rug better than Fred and Ginger. I remember being star struck watching them on the dance floor when I was 5 years old. Mema in a long, flowing chiffon gown and Daddy in his trademark black suit were the only couple on the floor and they swirled and turned and moved as if they were one and the ballroom was a stage. 

As the song ended, people burst into applause and Daddy took Mema back to her seat, and smiled at me.  I felt as if I was the luckiest little girl in the world- I was the daughter of people that could dance like that! 

Mema used to tell me stories about how her momma- a stricter God-fearing woman- didn’t approve of dancing so Mema and her sister would sneak off into town and watch the couples dancing then come home and practice in front of the mirror with each other until they got the moves down pat. 

That disapproval didn’t make much difference to her and maybe that’s what fueled her passion so much. There was this strong streak inside her that just didn’t “give a hoot” what anyone else thought.

Even me. 

There were times when I was a teenager trying to fit in and be “normal” when Mema grabbing my hand and dancing in the aisle of Minyards just embarrassed me to pieces.  I would pull back and whisper, “Mema, people are WATCHING!” and, those eyes would twinkle again and she would laugh and say, “Well, then come on, Jeanna’, let’s give them something to watch!”

“Something to watch” was exactly what she was. She could shake and shimmy, turn and twirl, keeping perfect rhythm to the beat all the while carrying on the exact emotional gestures that best suited the song.

This was true no matter what she was wearing or where she was,  and our home was her favorite dance hall.

There were 3 switches on the light plate by the front door of the house we lived in. The first switch was the porch light,the second turned on the foyer light but the third switch was magic.

When that third switch was lifted up. down would come one of the many LP’s stacked high on the stereo and, by the time, you’ve taken a few steps. the rich voice of Freddy Fender,Nat King Cole, Kenny Rogers, Ray Price or Barbara Mandrell would fill the house, loud and clear.

  Sometime it would be gospel, or Big Band or holiday music but most of the time, it was country-western.

And there she would be, barefoot and in a gown, standing in the kitchen, putting a pot of stew on for dinner while frying bacon for breakfast as the biscuits baked and she’ll be singing along -because she knew all the words by heart-tapping her spatula and dancing as she went as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Maybe that’s why it’s only natural for me to find myself dancing up to meet a client, or twirling around during a session unbeknownst to the person laying facedown on my table. 

.Maybe that’s one reason that I don’t feel like I truly know someone until I’ve danced with them. 

Maybe that’s why I dance in the aisles with my little Riven and watch her shake and shimmy as her eyes twinkle with that same mischievous delight. 

Maybe that’s why October is the most bittersweet months of all and why I find myself hiding away, seeking some peace and quiet so that I can hear my Mema’s words again.

“Don’t give a hoot.”

“Let them watch.”

“I just love this.”

“Come on and dance.”

Maybe that’s what life is all about….not giving a hoot about what anyone else thinks, letting others watch as you do whatever you love to do and. saying ‘I love this’ every chance you get.
After all, someday you will be way up yonder in glory and Mema just might grab you by the hand,with a twinkle in her eyes and say, “I just love this song..come on….let’s dance!”

For you, my beloved Mema..

i love you with both hands and I’ll dance…..every single chance I get.

4 37 p.m. 10-9-17

Jeanna’ Mead

Categories
C.A.R.E Cast Your Stone Choose to be love Create A Ripple Effect Deaf Massage Therapist Heart to heart kindred spirits Make Love massage Massage with Soul writers with soul Writing

LISTEN

Please

Listen

Don’t just hear

Be in awe

Of the sounds

Laughter

A shout of glee 

The lyrics to a song 

Playing on the radio

A whisper

Thunderclaps

Rain coming down

The cry of an infant

A coyote’showl 

The ambulance

Police sirens

A cat’s meow

The dogs growl
Listen 

To the voices 

You recognize 

And the strangers

In the grocery line

To the friendly greeting 

From the sales clerk

And the deep sound

Of the preacher man

A choir singing

Gospel melodies

The teenage barista 

The weary nurse

Trying to her best

To sound hopeful

As the end draws near
Listen

To the birds chirping

Lawnmower running

Old man playing guitar

While his lady sings

The blues
Listen

To everything

That I can’t hear

And be filled

Overflowing

With gratitude 

For what you have
And I’ll listen 

My own way

With my eyes

And my heart

I’ll hear more

Than most of you

Ever will 

Because

I really do

Listen
Jeanna’ Mead

July 25 2016

Categories
Uncategorized

it’s Been Said

image

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

Categories
AVA C.A.R.E Cast Your Stone Choose to be love Create A Ripple Effect deaf girl Deaf Massage Therapist Heart to heart kindred spirits Make Love massage Massage with Soul writers with soul Writing

A Real Miracle

It’s no secret-not any more-that I’m hearing impaired.
People usually figure it out pretty quickly on their own but I’ve changed my approach to my deafness,and instead of hiding it and hoping no-one discovers,
I’ve finally begin to just tell people before they assume the worst; that I’m either ignoring them,being rude,or just plain dumb.

Over the years I’ve gotten
used to the questions, like “Where are you from? I’m trying to place your accent ” and “How can you love music and dancing so much?”  and “Can you hear ANYTHING??”
I’m used to it and I don’t mind explaining to others and enlightening them about my deafness now.
If someone asks me, I’m always willing to answer questions,but there’s a few things that just rub me wrong.

Please don’t look at me with pity and exclaim, “I’m so sorry ” when I tell you that I can’t hear and,please, for goodness sakes, don’t begin to define me by my hearing loss.

My hearing loss isn’t something to be pitied,it’s actually one of my greatest gifts.

You see,my hearing loss brings out the truth in people rather quickly.
There’s so much that one can learn about others and about yourself when you can’t hear as well as most people can.

I notice everything,even subtle mannerisms,and shifts in energy  because I rely on using total communication-using the limited hearing I do have,reading lips and body
language, while looking deeply into the eyes of whoever I’m engaged in conversation with. I get to sit close to people, I get to hold eye contact and I really focus on who I’m with.

I’m not just “hearing impaired”, I’m a woman that wants to understand and be understood; it’s that pure and simple,and that complicated and overwhelming.

I’m much more than what I’m not, and when people say “I’m so sorry” upon hearing that I’m deaf, I gently tell them “don’t be sorry for me,be sorry for those that hear but don’t listen.”

A few weeks ago,a new client came in for a massage and read my AVA article that was on the table. After talking a few minutes,he asked me if he could pray for my hearing to be restored.
I took his hands in both of mine and said,”You can pray for me,but please listen to this story first,then pray as you see fit.”

My Aunt Dorothy was a feisty woman who had been blind since she was a toddler.
One night she went to a tent revival and the preacher man,upon realizing there was a blind woman in the crowd,came down and begin to pray loudly over her,laying his hands on her eyes, and asking God to restore her vision.
She let him pray and then,she said something that has stayed in my mind all these years.
“You pray for my eyes to see,when what I need prayer for is my heart. I can be bitter and mean,hurtful and unforgiving, and that’s what really needs prayer. I don’t need to see things,I need to be a better woman,I need to be kind,to be patient,to be more loving.  When I die,the first thing I’ll see is the face of my Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I don’t need to see this world, I need to LOVE these people in this world.”
Then with a loud laugh,she added “But if you can make these glass eyes see,that would REALLY be a miracle!”

“Really be a miracle.”

Please, pause and ponder this for a moment. What would really be a miracle?

Sometimes we see a disability and that’s all we see, we don’t look deep enough to realize what else is there. We see a wheelchair,
instead of a person; we notice the crutches,and don’t look at the beautiful blue eyes; we see the elderly man take cautious steps, without realizing that long ago,he fought for our freedom.  We see the child with Downs Syndrome, and overlook the child’s pure joy of life. We see deaf people signing,and only think about what they don’t hear instead of marveling at the beautiful language and culture they share. We see the white cane, and act as if the person is invisible.

Like the preacher man,the strangers at Taco Cabana-who approached me and best friend years ago to ask if they could pray for my hearing- and my client, so many people pray for what they perceive needs a miracle. It’s human nature to want to “fix things” and to change things to what we think is “normal” or “better”.

We look,but we don’t see and we hear,but we don’t listen. We assume too much,and know far too little. 

The real miracle, I believe, would be for us to really look beyond the surface,behind the disabilities,the disfigurement,
the differences and see the abilities,the beauty,the uniqueness of each person.

We need to pray that our hearts will overflow with compassion, that we can see the goodness in the world,and hear the sound of love.

We need a real miracle and it’s within each of us to make it happen.

My client,after hearing the story of Aunt Dorothy, prayed for a “real miracle” for us both to have the heart to forgive and to love. He understood right away that my deafness wasn’t what a problem to be fixed,but a unique part of who I am.

So, I give this story over to you and urge you to listen with your eyes,to hear with your heart,to touch with kindness,to see with clarity and to create a ripple effect of miracles right now.

It would really,after all,be a REAL miracle.

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’