The Beauty of Being Deaf
As an artist and human being, I have always desired complete control over my body and the ways I present it. This created conflict after receiving my first hearing aids at four years old.
Years passed, along with my hearing. And at twelve years old, my hearing aids were exchanged for cochlear implants following the surgery. Having grown up with solely hearing individuals surrounding me, I was grateful for this option.
Yet the appearance of hearing aids and cochlear implants have always created a disconnect. The pieces never felt like me, and I had no control over their designs. I always found myself brainstorming ways to reclaim the machinery that had become my part of me.
In recent years, I have had the pleasure of working within the fashion industry, in front of and behind the camera. There is an enormous lack of disabled representation, and with 15% of the world’s population belonging to this community - it’s way past due for change.
So, in collaboration with Private Policy, we designed flexible ear jewelry to work easily with anyone wearing a hearing aid or cochlear implant!
Upon positioning it on my ear for the first time, I felt the disconnect vanish. It amplified my implants and my Deaf identity without overshadowing it.
Redefining the machinery with my art replaced the rigidity with fluidity.
Understanding the significance, it was only fitting to bring this project in tandem with the visuals I had only dreamt about which became my film, The Beauty of Being Deaf.
I have manifested this film since childhood, but its actualization could not exist in scarcity.
Luckily, it has grown along with me, perspective and resources expanding.
Sharing this poem and film with the world, now, is representative of the community I have since found and the extent from which I’ve healed from ableist trauma.
Shooting this piece required both the cast and production’s full hearts as we waded into our vulnerabilities.This energy constructed an intimate atmosphere which filled the set, even when we were off-camera. This ease was translated into the final film; we carried that rawness with us. And, when we stepped in front of the camera, it was just our hearts.
I am forever grateful and proud of the healing and connections that were created this day