As we braved the cold, I was telling Joe that yes, sometimes I strategically choose to reveal my hearing aid with the intent of making someone feel bad for having been rude or exasperated with me. Is it nice? No, but when someone treats me badly because I'm struggling with understanding them, they need the subtle or not-so-subtle reminder that there are people who need just a little extra help.
Once we settled into the bar, Joe asked me if I minded being called "deaf." And truthfully, the answer is no. I know that I am legally deaf in every sense of the word. But. And this is a big "but." I don't think of myself as deaf. I still think of myself as hearing impaired and often call my cochlear implant my "hearing aid." Why? I don't really know......perhaps because I grew up hearing impaired and I can still hear. I don't really know.
We talked about all the amazing things I am able to do because of this technology (another blog post), and then, I asked Joe a fairly loaded question. We have talked about this topic before, but it was years and another lifetime ago.
"Does it bother you that I'm hearing impaired?"
Without a beat, Joe just looked at me and smiled and said, "No. I don't think you would be the KtMac I know and love without it. And if you weren't hearing impaired, I'm not sure you'd be the same girl I fell in love with. It's a part of you and helped make you who you are and I love that."
And just like that, this girl fell just a little more in love without even realizing that falling so far in love was possible. Simply because he had the courage to say exactly what I have always believed. More than that, the courage to love and view my imperfections as part of my perfection.