"Brave" Hearted People

Ok, I have to admit I’m not really a big “BraveHeart” fan. But my husband and son are crazy about the movie as they are both history/war buffs. The Scottish uprisings certainly do not have a great number of movies based on them, but this movie has had rave reviews… among men at least.

What does a “brave” heart mean? I certainly know what “brave” does not mean… especially in light of hearing loss.

Some Deaf (those culturally Deaf), and late-deafened people have very pronounced bravado. This is quite different than “being brave”. Bravado … according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary… is “to challenge, show off; a blustering swaggering conduct or pretense of bravery; the quality or state of being foolhardy”. These type of people demand respect, even though they respect no one. They challenge people “out of the blue”, assuming a whispered conversation is about them… or should at least be accessible to them. They shove their “needs” to the forefront, discounting the need for basic civility and respect for others. They assume the worse about every situation, and demand retribution. Then they swagger away as if they have done the hard of hearing community a favor.

I have seen deafened adults treat wait staff in restaurants and employees of retail establishments with extreme discourtesy. They “LOUDLY” make a big deal about their disability, and try to demean the person who very likely did not even notice their deafness when the faux pas occurred. After all, hearing loss is an invisible disability.

But it is only “bravado” that insists on negative public recognition of one’s disability. “Bravery”… a “brave heart”, belongs to the deafened person who educates with courtesy and respect. It takes one deafened person full of “bravado” to ruin a hearing person’s opinion of the late-deafened and people with hearing loss. It takes numerous encounters of a “brave-hearted” person with hearing loss to undo the damage.

This should make us all think. Anytime we “lose it” whether in public or private, numerous “brave hearted” encounters are needed to undo the damage. Being “brave hearted” means that you apologize when you have handled something poorly.

I hope that I exhibit more “brave hearted” qualities than ill-disguised bravado.

Denise Portis
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary

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