Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Price You Pay for Not Accepting Yourself

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This is a short story of something that happened to me many years ago. The incident taught me a valuable lesson in self acceptance. It has never been told before.

The incident I'm about to share with you was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life but I can laugh about it now. Looking back, it was God's way of saying, "Hey, get over yourself! You are who you are for a reason, just accept it!"

It took me years to come to terms with my deafness. When I was a kid, I was acutely aware of the difference between myself and the others. Even though I appeared to be gregarious and happy-go-lucky, deep down I felt like an ugly bucktooth kid who wore a hearing aid box that was holstered in an albatross with wires that ran from the box up to the hearing aid in my ears. Not a day went by during those years when I didn't wish I was someone else with normal hearing. It would be a long time before I finally became aware of my inner power and understood that I was on a very special path to make a difference in the world.

For a short time, I went through a period of denial by refusing to use hearing aids. Without them, I looked completely "normal" as long as I didn't open my mouth - that way, no one would ever suspect I had a hearing disability.

One evening during the mid-eighties, I paid a price for adopting this defeatist attitude.

I was hanging out at a trendy nightspot in Soho (New York City), having a cocktail. There I was by myself at the bar, nursing a martini and minding my own business when a strikingly beautiful woman slid next to me. She looked like she just stepped out of a James Bond movie. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this sophisticated-looking lady demurely ordering herself a glass of red wine, the color of which matched her lips almost exactly. She was by herself.

On this particular night, I left my hearing aids in the top drawer of the dresser back at home. Since I was in no mood for idle chit-chat, I ignored her. Don't ask why I didn't sit home by myself if I didn't want to talk to anyone - who knows what I was thinking at the time?

Somehow I made the mistake of turning in her direction. The inevitable followed. She said hi. I said hi back. Suddenly we were talking about nothing important. As far as I could tell, my accent-sounding voice never betrayed me. Apparently, I was doing a pretty good job lip-reading because I was responding in all the right places. Every time she laughed, smiled or rolled up her eyes, I did the same.

Eventually, we reached a lull in the conversation. She lit up a cigarette, slid over a little closer and whispered something in my left ear. Instead of automatically jerking away as I tend to do when people forget that I read lips, I just sat there. As she spoke, I felt the pressure of the enunciation of her words blowing against my ear.

Then she pulled back and looked at me in a quizzical sort of way. Judging on the basis of her looks, it seemed she was waiting for an answer. It had to be either a yes or no.

"Yes, sounds like fun," I said brilliantly.

Extinguishing her cigarette in the ashtry, she swiftly put on her mink coat and said, "follow me."

Warning bells were blaring, but I paid no heed. I trotted after her like a clueless Golden Retriever to a waiting cab outside the bar.

We sped several blocks uptown and pulled up in front of a swanky hotel. As the cab was ricocheting on the way up, my mind was busy trying to figure out what she whispered in my ear earlier. Maybe she invited me to a party or something, I thought.

After paying the fare, we breezed through the lobby and took the elevator up to the 19th floor. I grew more worried as the numbers climbed higher on the overhead panel.

Trying to appear nonchalant, I asked, “Where are we going?"

“You'll see.”

“Oh.”

Arriving to the eighteenth floor, we stepped out, turned right and stopped at Room 1960. Pulling out the room key, she turned to me and said, "Are you ready?"

I nodded.

Pushing the card in and out of the slot, she swung the door wide open. My eyes were immediately drawn to the king-sized bed. What I saw scared the hell out of me.

It was strewn with leather chaps, two sets of whips and a pair of handcuffs!

My knees almost buckled.

"Hey, listen, I gotta run, this isn't my cup of tea man. I thought you invited me to a party or something."

“Well, what are you deaf or something!?”

If she only knew.

Bolting past her, I practically slid down the stairwell all the way to the lobby and hopped into a waiting cab, just like in the movies. When I got home, I think I fixed myself a very stiff drink or two. Or maybe it was three?

Food for thought: What was the most embarrassing incident that happened to you in the past and what did you learn from it? For me, once I became aware of my life's purpose and understood that being deaf was a part of the divine plan, I became very much "on purpose." Nowadays I wouldn't be caught without my hearing aids!

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4 Comments:

Blogger Rob :-) said...

Great stuff.... I can relate to this very well, NO not the whipping and stuff, just the deafness and whispers in the ear issue.

Being deaf myself and knowing where you are coming from here, I have to admit I have never felt bad about wearing my hearing aid and normally would be staright about it IF a beautiful lady whispered into my ear.

If half an hour goes by without them noticing my deafness I will admit to it with a smile... ;o)

Great blog, glad a a friend pointed it out to me.

I'll keep "listening", pardon the pun. ;o)

Take care.

Rob

6:49 AM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Rob:

Hi there, thanks for commenting on this story.

Thankfully there was no whipping that evening. LOL. But boy, what an experience it was. It taught me a strong lesson on self acceptance.

Isn't that why we are made the way we are? There are no accidents. We were made in this body for a specific reason, I believe but sometimes we aren't aware of it until something like that experience cames along to smakc us awake. It certainly left a red imprint on my cheek that day!

I'm so glad you stopped by Rob! Welcome to my world and thanks for letting me in yours.

Stephen

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Whoa, Stephen - your story is WAY better than mine! And well written, too - I was kept in suspense until the door was opened. LOL Thanks for visiting my site as well!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Barb:

Thanks for the wondeful compliment! I love to write, as you can see. And I'm very grateful when the words flow. When that happens, I'm very much in heaven and feel an overwhelming sense of excitement and gratitude.

Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by and for telling me how much you enjoyed the story. I appreciate it much.

Stephen

10:54 AM  

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