This week, we're giving away five signed copies of Mean Little deaf Queer, Terry Galloway's memoir that Kirkus called "frank" and "bitingly humorous." To enter, leave a comment on today's post, or share this post on Facebook or Twitter. We'll choose winners at random at the end of the week from entries across our social media empire.
To give you an idea of Terry's warmth and humor, we made some videos with her prior to her cochlear implant surgery a few months ago. In yesterday's installment, she spoke at length about her deafness and why she decided to get the surgery. In today's video, she discusses how she thought the surgery will make her different and how she'll stay the same.
So they turn it on, and then they start to teach your brain how to hear again. And in my case, because I had sound, and I lost my hearing gradually, my brain’s going to remember.
So once upon a time I might have heard birds signing. Once upon a time I heard the insects doing whatever the insects do, I don’t know what they do, I’m hoping it’s a symphony! Once upon a time… and so my brain remembers.
But that part of it hasn’t been stimulated… in years. And all of a sudden it’s going to be going hmmmmmmmm.
Just like with the little digitals. When I first got these, it was like, “Oh my god what is that ungodly sound?” And it was a train. And I hadn’t even realized that there was a bridge with a train--the years that I’d been living in the neighborhood--- that there was a bridge with a train, that the train went over every single day. I didn’t even realize it until that moment.
But then at night, you take it off. Or when you get sick of it and you can’t take it any more, you take it off. And you’re deaf again. And there is a kind of bliss in the silence. It’s so profound. And you genuinely can be lost in… it’s not just self-contemplation, but it’s the contemplation of silence.
And so I don’t have to miss that. I’m going to keep that.
What do you think will remain unchanged about you after the surgery?
I don’t know. One would assume, and I assume, that I have a core of behavior that has been untouched by both the loss and will be untouched by the restoration of hearing. I would assume that, but, God, I don’t know. What if all of a sudden, I get my hearing back and I turn into a complete and utter shit? And I have been in my life a complete and utter shit, so it’s very easy to contemplate. I remember, as a kid, a real strain of selfishness. And a real strain of… something mean. And I kind of hope I’ve had that wrung out of me. I kind of hope that-- and I’m not talking about self-pity that does it—but I kind of hope that because of all of this, and because of the way I’ve had to go at my own ambitions aslant, that I became, or have become, kind. I hope I’ve become kinder.