This weekend my daughter discovered something rather horrible. As I am a “recovering Arachnophobe” please know that I did indeed think her discovery was THAT… horrible! It seems her bedroom had a mommy spider and a daddy spider pro-create and produce numerous offspring. They were fruitful and multipied…

Now I have a reason for having arachnophobia. In southeastern Colorado where I grew up, we did have tarantulas. In some of the canyons in Baca County, there are certain times of the year where the tarantulas would “migrate” across roads, etc. to find mates. I’ve only seen a couple of the migrations, but I believe it is what “messed me up” as my kids would say. These migrations still go on today… as this link clearly shows. I am “recovering” in that I do not jump out of moving vehicles anymore upon the discovery of a spider on the inside of my car (like I did when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter… thank goodness for my husband’s quick hands!) Yes… I believe there has been real growth in this area!

Kyersten came to me with fear and trembling about the fact that she had killed a couple of large spiders similar to the picture above, and “lots of babies”. We discussed it in great horrid detail. I felt the hair on my arms stand straight up! Pesticides were out… we have too many pets, and Chloe (my hearing assistance dog). So she has determined to kill as many as she can each day in hopes of wiping out the colony. (Do spiders have colonies?) We hung up tacky fly paper in the corners in hopes of snaring some of them. We went to war she and I. She doesn’t really have arachnophobia like I do, but she does have a fear of tiny crawling things. (Ants are her main paranoia if you must know!) However, little spiders fit right into that category, so she spent some sleepless nights. It didn’t matter that the babies were so teeny-tiny, that they couldn’t bite her. It didn’t matter that spiders do not crawl into your bed with the primary purpose of biting you. None of this matters at all when you discover numerous uninvited guests. She and I have been a little jumpy lately.

Now I am “recovered” enough from my phobia of spiders, that I actually felt compelled to explain how unreasonable she was being as she attempted to stay awake at breakfast over her pop-tart. (Don’t get me started on how Kyersten never eats a nutritious breakfast!) Isn’t it funny how we can “preach” at somebody when we aren’t walking in their shoes? It was very easy for me to do… I didn’t have spiders in my bedroom. (And I refused to sit around thinking about how easy it would be for them to migrate upstairs). I should have been a little more compassionate.

I have thought very poorly of people in the past who try to tell me how I should work to communicate with a hearing loss when they have normal hearing. It never goes over well at HLAA chapter meetings for a person with normal hearing to speak on what those with hearing loss should do to communicate more effectively. They should not be speaking on something they don’t live… they don’t have spiders in THEIR bedroom. And yet, I have learned so much by listening to what the hearing people in my life have said to me. Things that they themselves struggle with in communicating with me. I may think that I shouldn’t have to tell someone to face me when they are talking to me. However, they can’t understand why one time I may hear them fine from the other room, and then another time I will not. THEY are suppose to know when I’m tired and not hearing as well? THEY are suppose to know there is enough background noise going on that I cannot hear them as well and need to see them? That is more than being a little unreasonable on my part!

Do you know something else I’m guilty of? Sometimes when I just went through a communication FLOP… a situation where everything that could go wrong in listening… DID… I ask for opinions and then don’t want to listen. But if I ask for an opinion of someone who does not have a hearing loss… I need to learn to listen. I can at times, whine about the problem and discuss it to death… not really ever choosing a way to handle it better the next time. Instead I choose to only look at the problem and feel sorry for myself. Everywhere I look, there are spiders.

Kyersten’s big brown eyes were wide with terror about the spiders all over her bedroom… and she asked for my opinion. We discussed it at great length… I came up with several options and she choose a course of action. She listened. She chose.

I have whined so many times about a “poor hearing” situation and asked for opinions and options. I need to be willing to listen, discuss and choose a plan of attack. I want to grow. How about you?

Denise Portis
©2007 Hearing Loss Diary

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