Hi, my name is Julz (name sign). I am 29 years old. I live in Wellington. I have lived longer in Australia in the bush. I moved back to New Zealand 5 or so years ago.
I want to talk about my Deaf identity. Before I had one hearing aid from when I was 4 till I was about 12. It was just me, I was being home schooled so I didn’t get to meet with other Deaf people. I learnt to be oral. I didn’t learn to sign till 5 years ago. It was just me. I was frustrated all the time, I would miss out particularly in group meetings and things I would be by myself. I come from a big family of 7, I was the oldest of 7 kids. It was easy to miss out.
The only thing that made it possible to relate with other people was through sport. That was the only thing. Other things, I didn’t connect really.
I got a cochlear implant when I was 12. It helped a lot. I could get a job, now I work in a Café. I manage the café so the cochlear helps a lot but still, before, I didn’t want to tell people that I was Deaf. I couldn’t be bothered explaining that I was Deaf and so on. See my hair covers the fact I am Deaf.
But now, I am trying to remember when it started but, I started being confident about being Deaf. I think it was when I met more Deaf people. I started getting more confident then I realised – actually, I’m happy with myself.
Now I have a Deaf boyfriend, so I’m even more confident and connected with both worlds, hearing and Deaf. I think it is very important to connect them both together.
So for me it was about connecting and meeting with Deaf people that gave me confidence in myself. Yeah.