People with hearing loss often make up for the lack of sound it with visuals. Whether it’s reading lips, body language, sign language or our surroundings, we rely heavily on our eyes. When the sun sets, we lose even more of our senses, and this can be really scary.
As an outgoing, outdoorsy woman, I seem to spend a good amount of time in the dark. I love camping, moonlit snowboarding, bonfires, headlamp hiking or photography excursions to get starry images. I’ve done a lot of these nighttime activities but they don’t get easier! Each experience is different but most don’t make me feel “good.” I have overcome many obstacles, I’ve grown to love myself, accept what I need, what I can or can’t do and persevere through things. However, night activities are unique in the fact that I fail at a lot of moments but I keep putting myself in these tough situations because of my love of the outdoors, adventures and connecting with people.
Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world, sometimes it’s a bit easier. I hate it, I love it. It’s an inconvenience, it’s a nuisance, it holds me back, it sets me forward, it opens up new doors, it closes doors. I hear enough, I don’t hear enough. But in the end I wouldn’t change a damn thing cause I do what I want. Life is what you make of it, seriously.
Normally, I can communicate pretty fluidly with people, but once it gets dark it sometimes becomes impossible. It can be very isolating, frustrating, scary and degrading. Not being able to talk to people without shining a blinding headlamp in their face becomes aggravating.
“…once it gets dark it sometimes becomes impossible. It can be very isolating, frustrating, scary and degrading.”
Doing nighttime activities takes a bit of mental preparation. If it is an outing with close, long time friends sometimes they already know how it works and will make sure I can see them in some way. Or when it is just me and another person, conversation becomes a bit easier then if it was a group of people.
The double whammy comes when it is with a large group of people. I often camp with 10 or more people and at night, people will sit around the fire and chat for hours. This is a time where I’m not able to be my fullest self. A lot of times, I end up just sitting there and contemplating life. Or I will talk to someone sitting next to me with a lot of concentration, depending on how bright the fire is.
The most embarrassing, hopeless situation is meeting strangers in the dark. It is really hard to describe this because it becomes a very internal experience. Sometimes it works out somehow, whether a friend helps and explains that I lip read, other times the situation becomes awkward and I’m left feeling inadequate and insufficient. People will attempt to converse as I try to mediate the doomed preconception that I’m not normal.
Bonfires are pretty popular with my friends and people I choose to hang out with. Currently, I just relocated to Southeast Alaska for a summer job working for a guiding company. There have been a handful of bonfires already. The real Jaime, wants to go, mingle, make friends and connect with people. However, those thoughts also come with the warning that I might just be isolated in my own world at said bonfire.
As I get older, I sometimes find myself avoiding these situations which is really hard since I am mostly a social person who does not like to miss out on anymore then I already do.
Do you have any tips for enjoying nighttime activities? Please let me know in the comments or follow me on Instagram @jaimedelpizzo!