A major part of my CI experience right now is keeping it all in perspective. Within the spaces of my own mind, this is easy enough. I still haven't gotten over my sense of wonder at, well, hearing. When I am alone, and when I use myself as my only marker, I never fail to be pleased - and astonished. The CI is rewarding every moment of every day, and even moments of frustration are tinged with a gentle ironic humor. Isn't this all wonderful?
When my gaze wanders outward, however - when I, like all other human beings tend to do sometimes, start comparing my private progress with the abilities of others - then I do start feeling the true sting of disappointment. I start thinking about what hearing people can do, what they've been able to do all their lives, what they take for granted. What other people (not prelingually deaf) have been able to achieve with CIs. What I've striven to accomplish, but what my brain is not yet able to process. I start feeling restless, agitated, even a little bit self-accusatory. Why haven't I grasped all this yet? Why does sound still sometimes feel garbled, overwhelming, or otherwise make no sense? Why am I back here, still taking these baby steps, while my peers still sprint off toward the horizon?
Stop. I have no right to do this. It's my journey, not theirs - and, if I can't take pride in this, knowing full well where I'm starting from, what is there that I can feel accomplished about? Do not compare. In hearing as in life. It can be hard, watching my hearing friends do things so effortlessly, and then feeling like those things should be closer within my grasp. But should be, according to whose standards? Maybe not mine. And so I try to reserve judgment on myself. That won't do anyone any good. I try, instead, to think of things like this.
I discovered the other day the sound that even finely grained salt makes when it rolls out of its bag to refill the shaker. Simply beautiful.
I went to a meeting at work this past week, in which I sat across from someone's desk and was able to understand him despite terrible lighting, and was simultaneously able to catch the "okays" or "that sounds goods" of another person sitting to my left.
I braved a public event last weekend without an interpreter (gulp) and found that, although I was exhausted by the end, I was able to listen to and watch an incredibly fast-talking speaker and walk away having understood 80-85% of what he said. Score.
In calling my parents on the phone, even despite saying "what?" or "say that again" dozens of times, the instances in which a word sequence rolled out and I understood, perfectly, felt like reaching across a thousand miles to hold a familiar hand.
Earlier this week, I rode a horse and was able to catch some coaching from the ground, listening and processing at the same time as I directed a living, breathing thousand-pound animal. Talk about multitasking.
These are the things I try to focus on. The things that give me pure, honest, undivided pleasure. Looking at my life through my eyes, judging it by my standards. It's not any harder than that, is it, really?