Recently, I got an email from an editor at www.Hearinglike.com (Phonak) wanting to interview me for an article about my business. I have been working so hard on this business while maintaining my day job and single motherhood life.I felt honored to be interviewed by them. I started following their website when I started my business. Hearing Like Me has great resources and stories for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals and families. I was shocked to see how many visitors came to my website over the weekend! Again, I felt blessed with orders coming in! I’ll be having more new designs and colors coming to the shop over the next two months!
As my life continues to evolve, I am excited what the future holds for my daughter and I. Nine years ago, I became a single mother. When my daughter was born, I published a book about my life with deafness. Due to single parenting, I was not able to continue my college education. I became a Cosmetologist. I learned so much about customer service while working at a high end salon in Scottsdale. I also did hair and makeup at photoshoots for Windsor fashion company headquartered in Los Angeles. What a ride! Long hours at the salon prevented me from spending needed time with my daughter. A new door opened, I became a Teacher’s Aide to work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. It gave me the flexibility that allowed me to be a full time mother and a passion for working with our students and accomplishing their goals. Now, I am running a business on Deaf Awareness and love getting to know more Deaf and Hard of Hearing families from Social Media that have been following me and ordering shirts.
My point is: life is always keeps evolving and I enjoy being open to new doors. Do it scared! Don’t doubt yourself. My father once said to me “ Get out of the hallway and go to new door”. He meant move forward from the past and try new things. I am blessed. So I hope you will try something new or gain more confidence in that you can do whatever you're mind is set on to do. I hope you don’t feel discouraged. I am not here for a competition, I am here for the community. I tell my daughter before I leave for work “ Shine bright, my dear” as a reminder to stay strong, to be fearless and to give it a try- whether she’ll have struggles with math, friendships drama, or new things.
On a Saturday, I received a message asking if my shirt “I can and I WILL” is available in Kelly Green shirt. After emails back and forth, I looked at the calendar and thought to myself there is no way I can get this Kelly Green shirt to her in less than two weeks! I felt discouraged. I wanted it to happen for this wonderful mother and her hearing impaired daughter. They were committed to attend West Virginia State Capitol and represent their Listening and Spoken Language program, the Luke Lee program. Her daughter went through listening and oral approach language from Luke Lee, and now is being mainstreamed.
I felt bad that I had to say no and explained the process of getting the shirt, shop printing process and shipping process, she went ahead and ordered the gray heart hearing aid shirt for her daughter to wear at the ceremony. We continued to email each other sharing stories of a hearing loss journey and deaf education. It was inspiring. After two nights wrestling with thought, I was encouraged to try to ask the shop if they can throw in the Kelly Green shirt with the order that was already in production. I emailed and they responded “yes” right away. I contacted the mother and I switched the shirts out as soon as I picked the shirts up. It was shipped and arrived few days before the ceremony! I did it! I can and I WILL!
When I went to Christy Wright’s Business Boutique convention last November, in Nashville with my mother, she once said “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it” - Simon Sinek. My mother and I elbowed each other, this quote instantly connected to us! Seriously, this is 100% of why I do it! I do it for the hearing impaired community, their deaf education, the deaf students and their families! I always wanted the hearing impaired children to feel loved and awesome wearing something that shows part of their journey. A portion of sales goes to Deaf Education because there are programs nationwide that are not funded completely by the Government, we are constantly trying to get funds from grants, fundraisers, charities and more to keep the schools running and to help the students who do not get funded from their school districts.
After the Kelly Green shirt experience, it reminded me WHY I do it and they inspired me to launch the Kelly Green shirts for March! It will be named after their daughter, “Cailyn: I can and I WILL” Here are the pictures below.
Dont give up.
Do it for cause.
Shop for Deaf Education.
My mother handed me a newspaper article about CVS to ban fake makeup photographs. It explained how thousands of make up companies have images of beautiful women but have been photo-shopped dramatically. Pictures before and after- you can see differences with arms, cheek bones and other areas. The main effect from social media and photography is eating disorders and insecurities.
I grew up with big hearing aids, glasses with eye patch, braces, night headgear, and struggled with my weight images throughout adolescence. Mainly, my insecurities were my weight and hearing loss. I covered my hearing aids by wearing my hair down during junior high and high school years. I used to wear a lot of makeup now I just wear natural makeup look and welcome my beginning wrinkles as well as wear mommy buns often and am grateful for my cochlear implant!
Now, I’m raising my daughter who will be ten years old in a few months. I tell her stories about how I felt growing up with my hearing loss and looks. We have deep talks about the beauty of people in this world- the flaws, the inside and outside, and their strengths. She is sensitive and aware that we all are different. She loves everyone and sees the best in everyone. She knows what I go through on daily basis facing challenges. She loves me for who I am and she’s my protector. I feel, because of me, she accept others greatly!
The other night she wanted to show me YouTube videos of Disney stars and their transformations. I didn’t react initially, I was curious what she thought and her vote on then or now on each star. She was disappointed with their extreme transformations She felt they were already beautiful with natural looks and their bodies before. It was interesting and eased my heart because social media exposure has more influence on her generation then our previous generations.
What makes us beautiful? It is our confidence and accepting who we are. So be true to yourself, let the world know you, and smile. Have courage! Bravery is beautiful.
“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile”
“A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear!”
Last Friday evening, we saw The Greatest Showman film. It was an amazing film. It was one of those films that has important message- we all are different! It was very deep along with catchy tunes and dance moves. In fact, when we were walking to the theater; we saw all sorts of people that were different. For example, there were people that were over 6’6 feet tall, different shapes of bodies, and many people that were physically disabled. After seeing this film, I explained to my daughter that we all are different and unique in our own ways. Meanwhile, I was different at the movies. People who walked by me did not know that I am deaf since my hair was down and covered my cochlear implant. I loved the song, “This Is Me” by Keala Settle from the The Greatest Showman Soundtrack when the group of unique people were mistreated awfully by the public and felt unloved. But they did not give up and continued to face their fears by showing their unique selves.
I am different. My daughter is different even though she does not have physical disability. She is tall for her age. She has braces. People do not know she struggles on focusing in class due to high energy. Recently, we saw the movie, Wonder. Auggie has Treacher Callins Syndrome. His mother told him that she loves him for who he is. He shouted back at her angrily that she loves him because she is his mother. She corrected him and said that not only is she his mother, she knows his best qualities because he showed it and let her be part of his journey. She was encouraging him to make friends and face his fears by letting them get to know him. The Wonder film brought us memories of my childhood years of frustrations with my deafness and my peers. We all cried throughout the movie.
When my daughter was a few years old, I was working at the hair salon and my hours were long. There were times I got off at 8 PM that we were not able to spend much time together. One night, she was upset with me for me being tired and wanted my attention. It was time for her to take a bath. She looked at me and boldly told me she did not like my voice.( I have a nasal accent due to my profound hearing loss, and I was cochlear implanted at age fifteen). She did not know. She did not understand. At that moment, I cried. My mother cried. My father was upset for me. My daughter bawled. She felt horrible that she hurted her mama. But the reality was she was only three and half years old and learning that this is who I am. My mother was wearing a neatly starched white button up shirt, and it was getting soaked with Makayla’s tears and mine. My mother explained to her about my deafness (how it will not get better), I cannot change my voice and the stories of my struggles while I was growing up. Ever since, Makayla tells me I have a beautiful voice and she is protective of me and my deafness.
Overall, we all are beautifully different and have our own story to tell. We are the authors of our own stories. We do not give up by showing others what we are capable of and who we are! That is bravery. Do it scared! Be YOU!
Saturday morning will be remembered as the day our lives were changed forever. We went and picked out Makayla’s wish. On Christmas morning, when we visited the puppies, Makayla fell in love with the puppy with the black dog collar. She was still available. It was destiny. We brought her home. It was like bringing home a baby. We allowed her in only two rooms, the family room and our bedroom. Since it was Holly’s first night at home, we decided to follow the method that said to keep her in our bedroom for three nights at bedtime. I felt like it was having a baby all over again. Only because when I had my daughter, I did not have the hearing impaired baby monitor that signaled us when we cannot hear when we go to sleep without our hearing devices on. Frequently, I woke up checking on her. Again, I did this same method with Holly. Mother instincts soundlessly.
Monday was our New Year. After chasing the holidays, lack of sleep before and after Holly’s arrival, keeping up with myself and my daughter. Monday was a long day of frustrations picking up after my daughter and the puppy while being a zombie, so we watched “To Joey, With Love” after dinner. It’s recommended to watch! Available at Hobby Lobby! I decided to take a bath to destress and take care of myself. Honestly, my desire was relaxing time to myself. Makayla had to brush her teeth before bed. She pulled the curtain, and said to me “Mom, you are taking a bath! Why?” Meanwhile, Holly peed and pooped. Makayla stumbled over my clothes and it got onto Holly’s urine mess. I instructed her calmly to clean it up. She really wanted to take care of me.
Makayla decided to put the bath bomb in to help to make my bath extra special. Pale pink fizzled away. Then she decided to apply cucumber facial mask on me.Her cold hands gently touched my cheeks. I closed my eyes and I prayed. Meanwhile, it brought me to a memory of when she was a few months old. For her first year of her life, I was busy taking care of my grandmother with Alzheimer’s and my infant daughter at the same time. There were days when I had to take a long hot shower while she was in her bouncer, sleeping. Here we are, she is nine years old taking care of me during my special bath.
This is us. We are like Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls,
we are best friends,
we have each other,
we are mother and daughter,
we are hearing and silent -helping each other to survive this world together.
Beautiful mess. Beautiful silence. Beautiful love.
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".