By Kelsie Darcy

I was born deaf, went to North Carolina School for the Deaf and well-liked by students and teachers. When I was eight, I got the cochlear implant and experienced the first sounds: the toilet flushed, the singing birds, and my beloved Grandfather's wonderful voices. Everything is amazing.... or so I believes.

When I first wore CI at NCSD, Rankin Hall. My friends avoided me because they thinks Cochlear Implants are "gross". Which it hurts. My hope went straight down to the ground with a "splash".

I was really a young child, I never understand why there is a different between a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. To me, not much difference between them. Hearing is Hearing. Sound is Sound. Seeing is Seeing. That's all to me.

With a shattered feeling, I barely used my CI during Middle School and High School. I remembered my mom's guilty look when she asked me how I feel when I was "forced" wearing the cochlear implant for the rest of my life, according to the speech teacher and she asked me, "did you mad at me and your father for cochlear implant?"

I did feel offended to that question as I gave her a odd look. No, I did not mad nor blame them for having me wear cochlear implant without my permission since I was eight. I was truly happy with whatever I have cochlear implant or no cochlear implant.

The first sound I will never forgot for the rest of my life - With my first cochlear implant, it was amazing to hear the voice of my grandfather calling my name and saw his face with tears of joy when I response to him... and then few years later he passed away. It's a precious feeling. If it weren't for my parents, I would never able to hear my grandfather's voice.

So I believe the speech teacher shouldn't pin a blame on my parents for "forcing" me wearing the cochlear implant. She should ask me for my opinion about cochlear implant. So I took a courage to ignore those taunting gestures about my CI. It didn't matter to me any more.

And when I graduated the High School and went to the college, where there are no deaf people in my town. It took me seven years to get through with a lot of difficult with hearing people. So I somehow ended up developing a habit of "nodding and smiles" , but only a little more than just that. I am very good at observing every gestures of the hearing students and teachers's faces and bodies, responding back to them without troubles. I had never learned how to speak nor read their lips since I dropped out of the speech class in High School.

Like everyone used to say, "Action is louder than words" is true. The Hearings don't need to worry about trying to find a right sign language with struggles to talk when I really understood their body language.

Since ever then, I am unfortunately stuck with a fake smile and automatically being polite without a thought. I accidentally made it difficult for the deaf and hearing people to read my emotions and to find which I am truly honesty or sarcastic. Which, I admitted most of times I was sarcastic and rarely times when I was also honesty. I may be a little afraid, but determination helped me to get a lot of good hearing friends at college and now later at my job.

It's a difficult to get rid of a glued mask. But with a determination I have, I may have come out of the fake smiling, sarcastic nodder habit someday.