It’s All About the Little Things, Stupid!

The weeks leading up to the school summer holiday I was feeling a bit blah; nothing seemed to excite me, and I began to wonder what life is all about. In short, I was facing a smallish existential crisis – again. For I’ve had plenty of those in my life.

Flicking through the newspaper at breakfast I was met with more and more evidence that the world’s gone mad, and eventually, I left the morning paper untouched to spare me further depressing news. Continue reading

Not Quite So Perfect

imageA few weeks ago, I wrote about a visit to my tech-savvy audiologist Nick, who was going to fit me with new, state-of-the-art hearing aids.

Having chosen the ones that seemed perfect for me, I had to wait a couple of weeks while they were custom-made. Meanwhile, I was very excited, happily anticipating my new tech-gear that would finally revolutionise my life. Or so I thought.

Occasionally, I pushed away a niggling sense that this new pair of hearing aids might not be quite as perfect and life-changing as I anticipated. The feeling of expectancy, after all, was frightfully similar to that which I had experienced before each operation on my face when I was young.

Every time I went under the knife, I nursed a desperate hope that this would be the operation that finally made me whole. And every time I was overcome with a crushing sense of disappointment and failure when looking at my post-op face in the mirror. For although the surgeons and my parents swore there was a noticeable improvement, I didn’t see it. My nose was still wonky, and my lip was still fat. Nothing had changed as far as I was concerned.

handbags-843833_640By the time I reached my early twenties, I had given up on plastic surgery and made peace with my face. But then I began to obsess about other things – the perfect handbag, the perfect notebook, the perfect diary, the perfect pen, etc. – that would somehow make me complete. Rationally, I knew I was deluding myself, but emotionally I was still holding out for that perfect something.

It’s the same thing with my hearing aids. While they are by far the niftiest, most discrete pair I’ve ever owned, and make the world around me sound much brighter, they are not the perfect device I had hoped they’d be.

For starters, I still can’t stop pushing my fingers into my ears to adjust the fitting of my titanium-made devices. And the notion that I’d simply put them in and then forget they’re there turned out to be completely false. Of course, I feel their presence in my ear canals, and no matter how high-tech they are, they still itch and move around ever so slightly when my jaw moves.

They’re not perfect, but they are still pretty good; the best ones I’ve had, even.

Yet, as with make-up, high-heels, nylon stockings and party dresses, I always feel a profound and liberating sense of relief when I remove my hearing aids at the end of the day. That’s when I feel whole.


Painting with Words

“I’ve got dyslexia,” my husband said to me shortly after we met and fell in love some 13 years ago.

“But you read all those deep, complicated books,” I protested in disbelief. For back then I knew very little about dyslexia and simply thought it meant you couldn’t read properly. But my beloved clearly had no problems reading.

shutterstock_209833927I have to confess that I wasn’t as understanding and empathic back then as I would have liked, sometimes losing my temper when asked to correct his writing. I didn’t get that his spelling problems and difficulty with sentence structure were all attributes of his dyslexia. I just thought that once he’d had a basic grammar lesson, he’d be ok.

It was only when our eldest daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of eight that I finally began to understand how dyslexia works. Continue reading

Mothers and Daughters

Young children love being naked, and no wonder; running around unrestricted by shirts, trousers and skirts makes them feel free. My daughters are no exception. Although they are now 10 and seven years old, they are still comfortable walking around the house naked as long as there’s no one else in the house but my husband and me. I am loath to tell them to cover up, for why would I want to instil shame and prudishness in them when they are so at ease in their bodies? Continue reading