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A diary page from the atypical life of a former typical person

3rd Prize in the essay competition

Raluca Bradea, third year student in special education, is the winner of the 3rd Prize in the essay competition organised by Sense International Romania, a competition organised based on the partnership with Babeș Bolyai University, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Special Education Department. The contest, called ”What would a day in my life look like if I were a person with deafblindness?” took place in December 2021 - Feburary 2022.

Raluca will receive a collection of specialist books in the field of deafblindness.

Please find out below more about Raluca and read her essay.

About me

I am an active and sociable nature, and besides the fact that I enjoy laughing and smiling, I am happy when I manage to put smile on the faces of others. I enjoy places that provide a particular beauty (generally I find this in nature), to be around people, but also in solitude (mainly among books).

I allow myself to be guided by the idea that it is worth making a difference, no matter how small, in the places you are and in the things you do, and this is an aim of mine: To make a difference, smaller or bigger.

A diary page from the atypical life of a former typical person

I stepped into a new life. A life where the light is dimmer and a child’s cry seems like a whisper. Where time is shorter than I believed, shorter because time takes time. The time to move forward, to do one thing or another, it takes time. Everything lived almost like in slow motion, this world of deafblindness.

I was saddened by how I was welcomed; not by those to whom I now belong, the “guild” I entered, but by those I used o belong to. I was perceived as “a deaf one”, “a blind one” and more so, “a dumb one”, as people would say. I was seen as if all my senses had been annihilated. I found it hard to explain that my eyesight was not fully lost, that my hearing still has some leftovers so I can still discern, to hear loud voices but avoid tiny voices, that my speech is still here! A sense that is lost or impaired, it does not cover or hide the others; more so, this does not destroy me as a human being, nor does it make my rational and innate abilities impaired. It was hard for me to explain, but it was a lot harder to feel that they wouldn’t understand – for them, I was now nothing but a sum of deficits.

Their state swept away the little self-confidence I had in myself thinking that I would succeed in this new world… and was left there thinking about myself, what I was and what I could be. It was enough for me to understand the hard way that even the most simple, common daily things are so much more difficult to do when my dear, beloved eyes that delighted me with everything every day, are now in fog, offering less or when the tiring and often annoying noises are now useful and good. Instants that used to be just blinks of an eye are now transformed into long moments. I discover new means to learn based on my sense of touch that I wasn’t even aware of in my former life. It is so much more pleasant for me now to caress things, to shake people’s hands, it is the mirror into people hearts, something that my eyes used to offer in the past.

I find that the will for independence is specific to any human, more so now, when I feel the gaze of people trying to help me in doing even the most banal things, at times when they should respect my identity and my will to be independent. This doesn’t mean I don’t need people, or their help, it means that I need heir support for the big things, that any human being can dream of, and not be applauded for the little things that I can do, that probably take me longer to achieve, but time is now on my side to do them.

Always tired of routine, always willing to change things, the place to seem new, and I feel it differently. But now, this always has changed. The not so cherished routine is useful, the stable things left in familiar places are now my daily support. I live through repeated knowledge that favors my learning, and those beside me also learn by getting to know me and my new world. I may be different, but I am still a being capable and gifted with so much, only time is changed and it’s passing in my life.