Holidays are full of magic while being surrounded with your loved ones, whether they be your family or friends. Who doesn’t love the smell of Thanksgiving dinner being cooked, the pine candles spread around your home, or grandma’s old potpourri that’s been sitting at the fireplace?
Spending the holidays with your family is something that just comes easy for most people, apart from the usual stress of cooking, providing food, travels, or dealing with the unpleasantries as we all do. On the other hand, there are those who deal with the stress of feeling left out, the uncertainty of speaking up to family members, or battling with the feeling of isolation.
As the usual family chatter takes place, there will be moments of curiosity met with “never mind,” “oh, it’s nothing,” or “I’ll tell you later.” My brain and eyes work on overdrive, trying to read everyone’s lips while depending on both my cochlear implants to catch and comprehend every sound I hear. Ever since I obtained my cochlear implants (C.I.), I can catch things without having to depend on lipreading which is somewhat of an improvement for me, but that skill can only take me so far.
Effective communication is what saves us from exclusion and avoiding gaps in the conversation. Communication Service for the Deaf has resources on how to encourage inclusion with your deaf loved ones - Holidays with Deaf Loved Ones (csd.org).
Unintentionally, I do become inclined to spend time with the ones I am comfortable with, knowing that I would not be left out. Again, I do not make these kinds of choices because I do not want to spend time with my family. I make these choices because the surroundings are less stressful and less isolating for me. Unfortunately, it just comes easy.
Even the smallest gesture means the whole world to someone like me. Include us in the whole joke, don’t procrastinate on filling us in with the conversation, turn on the closed captioning on the TVs, or tap our shoulder if someone is attempting to talk to us.
I am unsure if it’s just me, but I do wish that my family would think of me when it comes to those kinds of occasions, but I do not fault them for not keeping me in mind since I do not speak up for myself. As for the upcoming holidays or any other family events, do keep us in the forefront because we would love nothing more than just to be included wholly.