Monday, January 29, 2007

The things we "trade"

So people in my situation seem to be willing to do a hell of a lot to reach our goals. Be it deafness, blindness, paralysis or amputation of one or more limbs: walking, music, reading a classic print book.

Why do we do it? It'll sound cliché to say "because we need to" but when all the crap is boiled away that's precisely what it is. Let's look at this from another point of view:

John, an 18 year old High School student and his 18 year old girlfriend-from-Middle School have just graduated from Springfield High School. John has a sports scholarship to a big baseball school on the West Coast of America whereas his girlfriend wants to go to Brown in Rhode Island, thousands of miles away. All his life John has wanted nothing more to marry his girl and play baseball. The scholarship is his ticket since his family isn't well-to-do. John makes the hard decision to marry his girl. He needs her love more than baseball. In a sense he's traded his dream to play baseball for love.
A weak analogy but still. Everyone is willing to give things up for something more important. It just so happens that for those of us who feel desires to be deaf, or blind, or paralysed or what-have-you we're willing to trade a hell of a lot more than John.

Personally I find Beethoven's 9th Symphony in D minor, opus 125 to be the world's finest example of music. I'd give it up to achieve my goal. Why? Because I value deafness more than the greatest piece of music anyone on this planet has ever created. Granted with hearing aids I'd still be able to get some enjoyment from his masterpiece - remember: profound deafness is not my goal at the moment.

Let's look at the male-to-female transsexual as a case to compare against:

She gives up reproductive abilities, male privelege, risks losing her job, family, and friends. And for what? Because for her it's worth losing everything to be herself.

One more thing I give up with hearing loss: advanced notice that Casey is approaching behind me. Oops!! As I was composing this entry with great big letters at the top of the screen reading [MAKEMEDEAF], being the title of my blog, sie came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder shattering the few hours I thought I had to compose this entry. You see, I'm almost always listening to music to block out external noise. Sie didn't anything but I wonder how long sie was behind me and reading...

...and it'd still be worth it.


Sean said...

The thing is, for me, it's a choice between giving *myself* up, or something else. It's not "school" or a "relationship". It's much more deeply ingrained than that. It is so much a part of me, it can't be something I leave behind. I'm willing to do a lot of compromising, and have repeatedly done so in the past, but this one is not one I'm *able* to compromise on.

Marie said...

I was trying to illustrate to those that don't "get it" and to those that say "but you should want to hear!" that I know those things are good for some people. But to me I'm willing to sacrifice all fo the things OTHER PEOPLE value about hearing because to me *not* hearing is much more important for me.

Jennifer said...

I stumbled across you here, because I discovered I know both April and Robin (via LJ previously). I think I've seen you around on LJ, too, although obviously as you're not linking the two, I'm not 100% sure.

I'm finding this interesting reading, though. I am GID, and I don't see it as a trade. I gave up reproduction, but it just doesn't compare. Not really that big a deal compared to being who I need to be. I admit I have trouble understanding the need to give up sight (in April's case) or for MS (Robin's case), but I understand the need to be someone different than your body. The more I read about this in the past few days, the more I think GID really is a subset of BIID - I've seen arguments on both sides of it.

What I find most interesting though is that what you describe is similar to my situation. As far as I know, my range of hearing is fine, but little noises are distracting, and I have a lot of trouble understanding my coworkers. I much prefer to interact via email, often not following conversations at all if there is any noise because I can't make out what is being said.

I don't consider myself as having BIID or being interested in becoming deaf, but it feels to me like I'm losing the ability to understand what's being said around me.

And except for losing music, I mostly don't care. If I was diagnosed as HoH, it'd make some things easier - I could more easily explain why I prefer people to email me or chat online rather than in person. And personally, bionic hearing (hearing aides) just sounds neat. Want quiet? Turn them off. ;-)

Anyways, catching up on your posts here as I am finding this interesting.

Marie said...

Interesting, Jennifer! I can't think how I know you...or where on LJ you've seen me. It'll drive me mad!