“Tell me…. one year later…. how are your implants doing?”
It was a question that inspired the following…Thanks Dianne 🙂
My Activation Day
To Whom It May Concern,
Silence, it wasn’t something I understood until I woke up from surgery and my ability to hear was gone in my right ear. Yes, I thought my hearing was bad before, but I had something! Then, A-Day (Activation Day) came, and I was armed to the teeth with every fancy thing I would need to make my ear bring my ear back Frankenstein-style. I was about the to become the $96,000 woman!
There wasn’t a big “YouTube” moment in the Audiologists office aside of a feeling of immense relief. It was something to the effect of “Thank God this thing is working again!” No, I’ve had to two to date:
1) When I heard my two younger Nephews say my name. I heard my oldest nephews first cries, but I could hear them talk.
2) Standing on a dock in Stuart, Florida listening to the waves of the St. Lucie River crash.
I didn’t realize exactly what I had lost until those moments came. In the movie “The Family that Preys”, Kathy Bates’ character asks “Are we living, or are we existing?”. It felt like a piece of me was existing, and now a piece of me was alive. One year later, my ears are still building back up, but it is a journey that I love so much. It’s been so beautiful, I can honestly say…I loved it all. It was worth it.
Today is a new journey,
I’m so excited for this first post! I was a little nervous to start this blog, but from what I understand it’s kind of like bungee jumping “the hardest part is letting go”. This whole “Blog Thing” started when I received some very sage advice from some very important people in my life. “If you find your passion you’ll never work a day in your life”.
Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Sloan and I’m from Richmond Virginia. Between October 2015 and December of 2016 three of the most important events of my life occurred: I graduated from beauty school, passed my state board, and got to Cochlear Implants or as my nephew calls it, “I got ‘Robot Ears”. Although, I refer to myself as just plain “Bionic” (and yes, it’s going on my business cards).
Needless to say the journey through Empire Beauty School B.E. (Before Ear) and onward has been an “interesting” (particularly having to go without my hearing). In spite of all the obstacles, up to and including a broken neck (but that is another story for another time) I made it. However, after graduation reality set in. I didn’t have instructors to fill in the gaps when I spoke to salon managers over the phone or strained to hear over my peers at school sponsored job fairs! As time wore on and my hearing as well as my skills began to fade, so did my hope. Cosmetology and Beauty School: The one choice that I had truly made for myself was blowing up in my face…brutally. I thought: “Have I just made the biggest mistake of my life?”
Fast forward (more than) a few months later, to a small room in VCU Audiology I was taking frustrating tests and talking options that (at the time) seemed less than appealing. Human nature, especially pride and vanity are funny things, and no one wants to be told they are different. No one wants to be told they are going to go deaf. However, one thing constantly remained inside my mind: hair! When I was going through the glossy brochure pictures of other bionic people before my operation, the hair was all I could seem to stare at. I was thinking such absurd things as “My hair is so curly and super thick, am I really going to have to chop it all off?”.
The situation gave me an idea about using the skills and creativity that I had put on the backburner due to my hearing (or lack thereof) to work! As the day of my first operation grew closer, I plotted how I was going to keep my hair. Using my knowledge to achieve the look I wanted, made me more comfortable in my own skin (and now partially magnetic scalp). It was a journey that re-ignited my love for cosmetology and reminded me why I chose it in the first place. Looking back now after my “activation day”, I wouldn’t give my “Robot Ear” back if you paid me.
Once upon a time, I thought the day I signed up for school was the day my life started, but it was really the day my ear was switched on. After that, a whole new world was opened up to me and I was able to let my career begin (kind of)! There has been a lot of learning, a lot of struggling, a lot of rust, and a TON of insecurities! However, with that came a TON of information and a few good ladies and gentleman to teach me about hair and about life. These next few tidbits that come include perspective on the industry, lessons learned, a beginner’s guide for navigating magnets, and other bits and pieces as I sort through two big pieces of my life: My craft and my health.
Today begins a new journey, and I hope you’ll hang in there with me.