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Hearing Loss

The Born Identity.

February 11, 2012

I sleep a lot.

When I was in Philly, I stayed with my friends in Chestnut Hill. Their 5 year old Jack thought something was wrong with me because he had to pry me out of bed in the morning. “Is it because California has a different time zone?” he asked me.

He’s pretty smart.

It’s kind of always made me feel ashamed how much I like to sleep. How much I need sleep. Busy people, successful people, (at least the ones I know), do not take marathon naps like I do.

It dawned on me lately why I require so much. Why I get so tired.

I work hard.

Yea, yea, we all work hard.

I work hard in a different way. I realized in the last few days, as my hearing has gotten much worse for whatever reason, that I have been wanting to hibernate more than usual. I have been avoiding the phone.

The reason?

It’s too much damn work.

I have to struggle to hear and keep up and make sense of what’s going on.

No, I am not fully deaf.

My hearing is distorted and I have tinnitus. I hear sound but I cannot make out what that sound is, for the life of me.

Imagine talking underwater. Imagine someone talking with a sock over their mouth.

I cannot watch tv without subtitles. I cannot hear what you say unless I look at your mouth.

It gets old. It gets boring. I get very tired of having to tell people. I get really over myself at making bad jokes about it.

I get scared that it will get worse and worse.

I try not to get scared that it will get worse and worse.

(The truth is, any worse and I will be 100% deaf.)

So I go to sleep.

It is exhausting putting forth so much energy simply to hear someone tell you their name.

So I sit here and watch The Bourne Identity with the sound turned down because I actually find it soothing, and, like good company, it doesn’t have to say a lot, just knowing it’s here is enough. Plus I have seen it 17 times.

More than anything it frustrates me. I want to hear, I work hard to hear, but frankly, whether I work hard or not, it doesn’t make a difference. It just makes me exhausted.

I am going to work less.

I accept that I cannot hear perfectly and if I miss a thing or two, well, then I miss a thing or two.

The energy I exert to be part of the world is taking it’s toll on me and whether my ears can hear it or not, I am in fact very much part of the world.

It’s taken me quite some time to understand my fatigue.

Why my friends can go and go and teach 4 yoga classes and keep going and why I need to crawl in bed and pass out? What stuff am I made of? Yikes, how am I going to be a mother if I have to rest so often?

Well, the fact of the matter is: I will have to work less in the irony of all ironies.

I must lessen the struggle. Practice radical acceptance that the things I am meant to hear will be revealed to me even if someone has to pass me a note like we are in 8th grade or text me. I have to stop pretending that I can hear and then spend 5 minutes replaying the sounds in my brain so I can make sense of them.

And if I need to sleep a little more to be the best teacher I can be, then so be it.

Now Indiana Jones is on. Still on mute. I have seen this one many times, as well.

I guess the reality is, that my life, much like these films I can watch and enjoy on silent mode, can be enjoyed without so much noise. I can probably sit back and relax a little more because whether I admit or not, I probably know what is going on. I have to trust a little more and maybe just get a really good translator.

My own born identity is that of a healer.

The older I get and the longer I have had to deal with this hearing loss the closer I get to fulfilling my destiny. I am an empath. I am a healer.

I do believe this is largely due to my struggles with hearing. It has allowed me to fine tune my other senses and become highly aware of what it means to be human.

Does it suck sometimes? Yes.

Do I feel really tired a lot because I spend 90% of the time trying to figure out what the f*ck you just said? Yes.

Do I miss jokes? Yes.

Do I miss what the yoga teacher says? Yes.

Am I happy? Yes.

Am I grateful yes?

Am I love? Yes.

That’s what it is. I trade a bit of fatigue and some struggle and some deafness for a pretty awesome life and a heightened sense of compassion.

I’ll deal with it.

Just please don’t whisper, talk to me while upside down or while in another room.

In turn, I will give up the fight and realize that when I really really need to hear you, I will.

I will find a way to hear and the things I don’t, well, my guess is that they weren’t meant for me anyway.

Just a hunch.

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  • Reply barbarapotter February 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Wish I could fix your hearing. I know how hard you try and how difficult it is for you. I know you are brave and you go on despite it all.

  • Reply ManifestYogaJen February 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    thank you. xo

  • Reply Caroline February 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I heart you.

  • Reply Tina February 12, 2012 at 4:04 am

    DITTO!! Love you!! 🙂

  • Reply Sarah Alden Jeror February 12, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I can only imagine how exhausting it must be. My ears got blocked after a flight once and I couldn’t hear right for a day. Just one day, and I was an uber bitch all day, it was so frustrating. And being between hearing and silence has to be difficult. With the tinnitus you don’t really get the relaxation of silence either. I love how honest you are about the good AND the bad in life. You aren’t fake happy. You acknowledge the sucky parts which in turn make the good parts better. Thank you.

  • Reply Stacey Brown-Downham February 12, 2012 at 4:12 am

    In The Happiness Project, the one factor that actually led to increased happiness is more sleep…so perhaps the reason you can be happy amidst the frustration is the extra sleep you allow yourself to seek and attain. And I think that some people just need more sleep, so on top of the exhaustion of straining to hear, we all have our own clocks. I wish that I needed less sleep and I feel like I’m being cheated out of waking hours that others get to have since I need at least a full 8-9 hours. Where I have been trying to expend less energy is in worrying or seeking to change EVERYTHING in which I find injustice. 🙂

    But yes, if you look at what you do, at the emotional intensity with which you do it, at the future that you have envisioned for yourself and everyone you love, you might wonder at how you don’t need even more sleep than you do :).

  • Reply carol February 12, 2012 at 7:20 am

    someone once asked Hellen Keller what is was like not to be able to see she replied she did not know – go ask someone who had no vision. what I find amazing about you is how much joyful noise you bring to this world. you rock!

  • Reply jamesvincentknowles February 12, 2012 at 8:20 am

    yes you are indeed a healer, Jennifer. yes you are indeed. a happy healer. an authentic for-real empath. how does one convey appreciation for such a courageous & kind person who very obviously works so hard to help others? all i can think to do for now is let you know your energy flows from your sweet heart through the incredible honesty you share with the universe. and it does indeed help heal. i’ve never met you yet your generosity, gentleness, & big-heartedness convey through the ether. your words resonate with love & understanding. so okay … me thinks you deserve a nap any dam time you want. thank you, you happy healer you.

  • Reply Jenniferlyn Chiemingo February 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I think you are amazing. Thanks for sharing Jen.

  • Reply jamesvincentknowles February 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I’m guessing you are an excellent listener, Jennifer. Perhaps not being able to hear all the noise allows you to hear more of what really matters? The integrity of your empathy comes through your written words as does your healing powers. Namaste.

  • Reply Susan stover February 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Jen.. I know exactly what ur going thru as I have a lifelong hearing loss too. It’s utterly exhausting! I am amazed at how much interaction you have with the hearing world and hearing people with all your yoga classes and retreats.. When I read your postings I cannot for the life of me know how u do it. Speaking from experience can u go have your hearing checked and maybe u need a different hearing aid. They have made incredible advances and might have one for tinnitus. You and I need to meet up to talk about out love of yoga and living with a hearing loss . Talking about it and sharing storied really helps…

  • Reply Janey March 22, 2013 at 5:28 am

    I hope your hearing doesn’t get worse. This made me feel so much better, Thank You. It is comforting to find out at last that I am not alone. My hearing loss is caused by scar tissue from having tubes put in (poorly) as a child. My grown children have a lot (A Lot) of fun with talking behind me:) They are wonderful & make light of the situation, because sometimes what I think I heard them say is so far off that we have to giggle about it. I like keeping it light for them & never really let on just how much of an issue this is for me. Just recently my dog scared me by barking non-stop all night…something was clearly wrong outside & although I got up a million times & looked out the windows & soothed him, I truly was scared. Honestly, since my children have grown & moved out, that is the most frightened I have been, because I have to be honest with myself that I can’t hear, I can see but hearing is a different luxury…So I kept my gun by bed & didn’t sleep that night. Just writing this comment to you makes me really how serious this really is. Thank You for sharing. xoxo Janey

  • Reply Sara C. November 15, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I, myself have been hard of hearing since I was a small child. Was it caused by the car accident I was in at age 4, or the multiple subsequent ear surgeries w/hearing tubes, or is it hereditary? Either way, the result is partial deafness in both ears and aa verbal lisp to match. Just the other day a good looking young man told me that lisps were sexy and in style. I looked at him like he was crazy, but inside I secretly wished to be desired not laughed at for my lisp. It would be nice to hear the t.v. at normal audio levels and understand what someone is trying to say to me in a low tone of voice. To not keep my head cocked at an angle so that my good ear is facing the noise I am trying to hear. To not have to explain repeatedly (even to my own family) that if there is noise in the background, I will not be able to hear a word that someone who is standing in front is trying to say. Some days it is okay and sometimes it’s not. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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