For the first 12 years of my life, I slept peacefully through the majority of thunderstorms. If I ever awoke, it was during a strike so violent everybody in the house was awake, and huddled in my mother’s bed.
With half an eardrum in one ear and no eardrum in the other, the idea of a thunderstorm being frightening seemed silly. Why would pretty flashing lights with next to no sound be scary? As long as there was no thunder, storms seemed like a ridiculous thing to fear.
Summer 2005, however, would change this idea for the rest of my life.
Almost one year after my left eardrum was repaired and half my hearing was restored, the horror of strange sounds hit me.
Continue reading “How I Made My Dog Afraid of Thunderstorms”
“Christina, how do you feel about Math and Science?”
My good friend, Ben, had asked me this question while I was freaking out about my then-boyfriend, Noah—a gorgeous, brilliant mechanical engineer who enjoyed springing questions about math and science on me without warning.
These questions, regardless of how good I felt, always made my heart race and waves of nausea hit me. Every time Noah would try to get me to guess answers to questions about the pressure that lifted planes, or a concept relates to calculus, I could not escape the feeling that I was being tested to see if I was “smart enough” to be his girlfriend.
Initially, I imagined I panicked at Noah’s questions because I believed, as a hearing-impaired artist with no money or college degree, that I was not good enough for someone like him. Ben, a therapist in-training, listened to my panic long enough to see that it had nothing to do with Noah. I knew Ben hit something much deeper when I could feel my whole body groan at the words “math and science.” Continue reading “Friends, Lovers, and Reclaiming STEM”
For the past ten years, I believed I knew everything there was to know about making difficult decisions. In my mind’s eye, the hardest decision I had ever made was to stop wearing bilateral hearing aids and opt for years of hearing restoration surgery.
After the traumatic experience of being intubated awake, returning to the operating room by choice felt nothing short of insane. Yet, I knew enough to understand that I would not be able to have the life I desired without repairing my eardrums. I was already ambitious as a pre-teen, with a list of lofty dreams including attending a top college, reaching the world with music and writing, learning at least five languages, and seeing as many countries as I possibly could.
All of these goals felt heavily dependent on hearing for their execution. Though I feared surgery more than anything else on the planet, I made the decision to go for it in hopes of having the hearing necessary to make my dreams come true. Continue reading “Breaking the Surgery Mindset”
When I was thirteen years old, I loved horror movies. The scarier, the better. Bring on the bloodbath, and the ghosts and the ghouls. The louder you could scream, the harder I would laugh. Nothing in a horror movie could scare me, and I wanted to see the most shocking, frightening things possible. Sadly, my brother was terrified of horror movies, so I could not get the R-Rated ones into the house. No matter how hard I tried, he’d tell Mom and Dad, and I’d be forced to put them back. With a little bit of quick thinking and the line, “it’s only PG-13”, however, I managed to see The Grudge in the summer of 2005.
That summer was a series of firsts. Along with my first time succeeding in getting a horror movie back home, it was also my first summer with a functional eardrum and working two different jobs.
Continue reading “Hearing Things and Horror Movies”