Is this consent?

Before I got my chest piece done, I needed to get rid of two moles from my chest. Unlike moles, you can tattoo over scars as long as they’ve fully healed.

Close-up of a tattoo of a red and orange goose.
One scar is inside the wing while the other is next to the tip of the other wing.

It’s not uncommon to get moles removed for non-cosmetic reasons, so I did not need to justify my superficial reasoning. I can’t remember whether the doctor I ended up seeing was a specialist that required a referral from another doctor. It happened so long ago, but based on how the procedure went, the only thing this doctor specialized in was being presumptuous. Obviously, I don’t remember his name but for the sake of this story, let’s call him Dr. Clown.

After telling Dr. Clown what I needed, he gestured for me to take my shirt off and lie on the examination table. He cleaned the skin and then snipped the two moles off with surgical scissors. He finished the job by slapping a single adhesive bandage over the wounds, which meant the sticky parts were over the wounds instead of the square of gauze. This was a real head-scratcher, but I had gotten what I wanted.  I was in and out of his office in less than ten minutes. Twenty years I’ve had these moles on my chest, and they were now in the medical waste bin in Dr. Clown’s office. Or perhaps he tacked them to his corkboard? He didn’t seem to be much of a stickler when it came to following medical protocol.

I am not giving the condensed version of this story: at no point did Dr. Clown explain the procedure and what to expect. He gave no aftercare instructions. It was uncomfortably abrupt.

Hearing people limiting their interaction with me is nothing out of the ordinary. When it comes to medical procedures, though, skimping on the details is flat out negligence.

Continue reading “Is this consent?”

What it’s like to be really, really, really ridiculously deaf.

September is Deaf Awareness Month. Last year, I wrote about the awkward questions hearing people frequently ask deaf people.

This year, I wondered whether I’d have anything to add to what’s already been put out there. It’s not yet October, but already, fun-sized treats are on the grocery store shelves. What can I share about deafness before everybody can go back to being unaware of the existence of deaf people?

Over the past three weeks, the message that has been put out by other members of the deaf community has pretty much been: “Totally deaf people are so rare, so we might as well pretend they don’t exist.”

Continue reading “What it’s like to be really, really, really ridiculously deaf.”

Experiencing street harassment as a deaf woman.

Since entering my 30s, I’ve learned how to receive compliments. I have also learned that compliments are often used by men as bait to get women talking to them. For some, paying a compliment entitles them to a woman’s attention.

A plus of being deaf (as deaf as I am, anyway) is being blissfully ignorant of any catcalls that are sounded my way. For these volunteering their opinions about me out loud, not getting any reaction out of me must be maddening. It’s glorious.

On occasion, some bozo tries to override my inability to hear by following me.

I’ve been in Victoria for five months, and it’s already happened three times. Most recently, I was sitting on a bench scrolling through social media, getting annoyed with people on the internet, when I noticed a shadow cast over me.

Continue reading “Experiencing street harassment as a deaf woman.”

Shh, the adults are talking.

Imagine the year is 2019: You’re at a real estate office with a friend to inquire about purchasing farmland with the intention of growing pre-pickled vegetables. (This would be done by irrigating crop with vinegar instead of water.)

You ask the realtor some questions. Rather than answer you, the realtor pulls your friend aside and whispers in their ear. The realtor works in a polite smile but gives you nothing more than that.

Once the meeting has ended, your friend relays all the realtor’s answers to you (“No, you can’t pay the mortgage in pickled vegetables.”) Your friend also tells you about the mortgage plan they’ve agreed upon without your input. Although you trust your friend to make the right decision, you can’t help but be wary of the realtor and remark to your friend that you found it unsettling how the realtor ignored you.

THEN! Your friend defends the realtor’s behaviour. Your friend asserts to you that the realtor was professional and rationalizes you being left out of a conversation about something that affects you. In other words, “Shh, the adults are talking.”

Continue reading “Shh, the adults are talking.”

A Scorpio below the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tomorrow I start my 24-hour 3-flight journey to Trelew, Argentina. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. It’s a great relief that this time my travelling pal, Mélissa, will be on the same flights as me. I am counting on her to be entertaining enough to compensate for the absence of captioned movies on these flights. I’ve had to endure many entertainment-deprived flights including the 15 and a half-hour haul from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia. Don’t be surprised if, by the time we land in Trelew, Mélissa will have a head full of micro-braids because I’ll need something to do while she watches Super Troopers 2 back to back to back to back…. to back.

White girls on vacay!

Continue reading “A Scorpio below the Tropic of Capricorn.”