A Life-Altering Experience: Discovering Rosie’s Brilliance Reshaped My Views on Deafness, funny Rosie

Picture this: it’s the early 2000s, and I’m sitting in a university lecture hall, waiting for class to begin. The usual routine, right? Well, not quite.

Just as I’m settling in, I feel a tap on my shoulder. I look up to find a friendly face smiling back at me—a young woman clutching a notebook. Ah, Rosie. We had connected via email the week before, and I had mentioned I’d be up front. You see, being deaf meant I relied on lipreading, so snagging a spot at the front was essential.

“Hi, I’m Rosie,” she says, and I scoot over to make room. I notice her hearing aids right away. As we start chatting, I can’t help feeling a bit shy. Rosie’s the first person my age I’ve met with hearing aids. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with them—my mom and aunts are also deaf—but it’s still a novelty. 

You know that feeling when you just click with someone? That’s how it was with Rosie. She didn’t shy away from making eye contact, which was a relief for me. No more worrying about missing out on bits of conversation because someone looked away at the wrong moment.

After the lecture, Rosie and I keep talking. It’s different from chatting with others. There’s this unspoken understanding between us about making communication clear and visible.

“I love university,” Rosie says, “but lipreading all those lectures? Exhausting.”

I grin. Finally, someone who gets it. Lipreading isn’t some superpower—it’s tiring as heck. And for once, I don’t have to pretend otherwise.

From then on, it’s like a whole new world opens up. We swap stories about navigating noisy social gatherings and feeling like outsiders in group chats. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in these experiences.

But it’s not all deep chats and serious stuff. We dive headfirst into student life, hitting up parties, cooking dinners, and even joining the local canoeing club (hearing aids safely stashed away, of course).

As university wraps up, our paths diverge a bit. Careers, travels, you know the drill. But we make it a point to stay connected—yoga classes, theater shows, you name it. And I finally start learning British Sign Language, with Rosie cheering me on every step of the way.

Navigating the professional world as a deaf person isn’t easy. Growing up, I absorbed all these messages about overcoming disability, but Rosie’s a game-changer. She’s fierce, she’s strong, and she’s not afraid to advocate for herself and others. She challenges me to see things differently, to embrace my identity instead of trying to overcome it.

Fast forward twenty years, and our friendship is still going strong. Rosie may be miles away, but she’s always there, reminding me that being deaf isn’t something to overcome—it’s part of who we are, woven into the fabric of our lives.

So here’s to Rosie—the friend who showed me that being deaf isn’t a flaw, but a strength. And here’s to us, navigating life’s twists and turns together, one lipread conversation at a time.


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