That Deaf Dancer…

Dancing has saved my life. Period. I had been dancing for nearly 23 years. From that tiny basement to professional level. Yah, professional! That’s when it all finally paid off. Go me!

Why, you say? Well duh. Growing up was not always easy. Countless days of bullying and taunting allowed me to be free in a dance classroom. Also allowed freedom of expression and interactions with fellow dancers. The thing is, I didn’t really have a voice at such a young age and had a hard time defending myself. When young kids see your hearing aids, take it from me, they’re cruel as hell.

I had a voice in the dance world. Countless hours dancing and going to dance workshops, classes by top name dance professionals before they became big today, trips to NYC to attend dance classes at Broadway Dance Center, huge dance conventions such as JUMP, Shake The Floor, etc. I attended a performing arts high school, even started out as a dance major in college and participated in a pom squad. With a minor change in my career choice when the economy dropped, I decided to try out for the Baltimore Ravens at the time. Which also led MTV to follow me and do a story. If you ever feel so inclined to, google it, I’m sure it’s on YouTube as well. And no, I don’t watch it. Seriously.

While finishing up my degree, I was also fortunate to join the Baltimore Blast Cheerleading Squad which encouraged me to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders upon graduation. What a freaking fun ride. I went into the audition with no clue what I was getting myself into. I’ve met some amazing ladies who I still talk to this day. I got the experience of my life that I would’ve never imagined. I still look back and remember the chills I get when the fighter jets fly over the stadium during the national anthem or performing to the Eagles Fight Song. Goosebumps man.

But dude! Let’s rewind. That was a tough audition. The most nerve racking part of it was the live stage interview. Also! It was live on the internet too. Could you believe that? Me? That deaf girl has to ask for help? My god. There’s a panel of 10 judges in front of you and when your turn was up, they randomly pick a question and you have to answer it as best as you can. Hell no. Have you heard my alien voice? And it’s dark as hell. So dark you can’t even read their lips! What if it was a former NFL player mumbling something and you’re forced to ask him to repeat it multiple times? What was I supposed to do? Seriously, just save me the agony and just let me do what I do best. Dance and strut across the floor in my bikini ok? Please please?

Fortunately, I got my shit together and talked to the director about my situation. Now, if you know me, I flipping HATE asking for help. Like why does this have to be so damn HARD and yet it was something I needed to do. She was kind enough to let me in on a few questions. Yup the secrets out. If they couldn’t help me out especially after making it this far along, then BYE Felicia! Not worth the embarrassments and sacrifices I had to make which included missing exams, skipping classes and traveling 4 hr round trips from school to attend all this hard earned work that could possibly never happen. Hey, I was not going to let this opportunity go. (Cue Eminem rap) One thing I learned from my mother is perseverance is key.

perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. 

http://www.dictionary.com

To get what you strive, eat, sleep and breath for, you’re going to do EVERYTHING you can to make this happen. Looking back, this accommodation was so MINOR, man. It can be so embarrassing especially when you’re about to be part of a major NFL organization.

It’s finals night. (Not the exams stoopid). I do my thing, telling myself, no one gives a shit if you don’t make it or not. (Truth is, I had a ton of people behind me on this. So thank you. You all know who you are. Especially you MOM!) Finally, the next day my number was called and it hit me that all these years of sweat, tears, hard work finally paid off. F yes! My mother knew I could do this and because of her, none of this would’ve happened. I followed my dreams. Basically. I’ve experienced so many rejections and this was now my moment to shine….

Time to wrap this up. We’re heading up to the mountain to enjoy a conjoined bachelor/bachelorette weekend! 🙂

Oh yeah and Go Eagles!

Be Awesome

So where do I begin?

This was something I’ve thought of for a long time and never really expressed to anyone about it until a few days ago. Fortunately, I’ve received a ton of support to move forward with this. Because I’m awesome. No really. I’m damn awesome. Support systems are what keeps you going and maintain your awesomeness.

If you’re a deaf person like me, you’re faced with discrimination. Every. Single. Day. Even subconsciously. You’re aware of it but have a hard time because NO ONE wants help. Why? Because they don’t know how to. It’s harder for you to try to explain because they’re NOT YOU. They don’t know you. They don’t care enough to. They have no respect. They’re having a bad day. Let’s see what I hear on a daily basis. They’re pretty wonderful comments. Ready?

“You have an accent, where are you from?”

“How long is this going to take?”

“Do you have something in your mouth?”

“How long have you been doing this?”

“How are you here?”

“Why don’t you have cochlear implants?”

“If you have hearing aids, why do you talk funny?”

“How come you don’t sign?”

The list goes on and on and on. We all have bad days. I get it. I really do. But guess what? NOBODY CARES. I plow through day by day and still keep a freaking smile on my face. (Some days with tears in my eyes.) People have no idea what really goes on inside our heads. The constant daily struggle of how low people make you feel even the tiniest bit, you freeze and crumble. There are worse things in this world than to make people feel like shit. Be awesome in life. Lend a helping hand to an elderly in a wheelchair trying to put two cases of water in their cart. Be kind to the person in front of you in line trying to write out a check for groceries. Help a mother with a crying baby at the store reach for a formula to feed her child. Let the driver in rush pass you. Be kind to the person who didn’t hear you and repeat calmly. Help a neighbor find her missing dog. Donate to society in need. Take a step back and try to understand.

Be kinder. And you will be awesome.

Now to finish my coffee and workout.

That Deaf Girl…

First off, Happy New Year everyone! I know what you must be thinking. Why is this post titled “That Deaf Girl….”? Well, let me let you in on an obvious secret. I’m stone deaf. More than most people believe. Soak it all in! Are you ready for this?

Most of you may have known me from MTV’s episode of “True Life: I’m Deaf” or during my short time as a Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader. All this feel like ages ago and now I’m a movie star starring alongside Bradley Cooper. Just kidding. I wish.

I’ve been in hiding focusing on my personal life and I’m back to tell more of my story. Now, sit back and buckle up. You’re in for a crazy ride.

Stay tuned…

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