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How the internet improved my hard of hearing life

I grew up in an era that watched as digital emerged, in real time and progress to where it is now.

I’ve always embraced technology from a young age.

Growing up in Colorado, I spent a lot of time playing outside when the weather was good.

 I only came home for lunch and had to be home by dark.

My step-dad would always say “kids should be seen but not heard” if we were noisy.

He worked at AC/DC, a small appliance repair company, and then later at JC Penny’s, repairing appliances.

We had an Apple computer when they first came out.

He taught me how to play games on it.

They were learning and spelling games, some that taught me how to code.

I had AOL, it was slow and “dial up” so it tied up the phone line. I’d only got online to send email.

We always used all kinds of electronics in my house.

My dad even had a full-size pinball machine in our basement and modified it so it was either free or pennies to play. Space Invaders.

In high school, I took computer classes on an Apple computer, it looked like a dog kennel. I learned design programs and learned to type on a keyboard correctly.

I was born in 1977, part of GenX. Many studies say I’m a millennial. There is also other names like Genmill.

I was born partially deaf. I can’t hear sounds like other normal hearing people can.

For me, the volume of sound is turned down – about half way compared to normal hearing.

My grandmother, mother, my daughter, and I, all inherited the same genetic bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. My older brother hears fine.

Many others in my family could hear perfect too.

Genetics are weird.

Two out of three of my kids hear perfect.

Growing up, I started talking and walking later than other kids my age.

Even though I was quiet, I wasn’t stupid.

I was taking a lot in. I was a visual, hands-on learner.

I got my first hearing aids when I was 4, after failing the first hearing test I ever had.

Now, newborns are tested at birth so they can be fitted right away for hearing aids to avoid any delay in speech or development.

I could do everything everyone else could but hear all the way. I learned to read lips and body language.

When you lose one of your senses, the others over-compensate.

My memory, attention to detail, intuition and manifestation abilities were heightened.

I didn’t let my hearing loss slow me down.

I was active, trying out many things my whole life.

I took dance classes as a kid.

Played t-ball and softball.

I collected aluminum cans for money to go to the pool during the summer.

I ran lemonade stands and garage sales.

Made a circus and charged money for an obstacle course in my front yard.

I danced in the middle school talent show with my friends.

I received the academic all-star award for good grades during high school.

I was a cheerleader. We won second in the state in a nationwide cheer and dance competition we were in.

I was a diver for the swim team.

I was on the gymnastics team.

I played flute in the school band, and once got first chair and a solo part during a concert.

I marched with my school band, playing the flute.

I carried the banner in front of our marching band with another cheerleader.

We marched in parades including our home-coming, harvest festivals, state competitions and CSU’s homecoming.

I was a track all-star. I did it all, hurdles, ran short and long distances, high jump, long jump, shot-put, relays.

I held a high-grade point average for most of my classes.

I lettered in all the sports I did.

My junior year, things fell apart a little bit for me. My parents moved from Windsor to Loveland, and I had to go to a new school.

I decided to hate it. I got in trouble.

Dropped out of sports.

I got bad grades for not following instructions.

I ran into the principles truck while backing out of the parking lot to ditch class.

He was kind enough to forget about me playing hooky for not being a hit and run.

I paid for his deductible so he could fix the dent on his truck.

I returned a crappy book to my teacher after failing her class for not bringing it back in time.

I did the right thing, too late.

As soon as I turned 18, I moved out of my parents’ house, back “home” to Windsor.

I wanted to finish my senior year with the class I grew up with. Graduate with my friends.

I lived with an older friend at first, she invited me to share a place with her after I turned 18.

She couldn’t stand living with me, and moved out after a few months and left me on my own.

Then one night my place apartment broken into and trashed.

My hot water heater was broken and never fixed.

I had no hot water for many weeks.

I decided to move into a new place that had opened up down the street.

My new house was broken into as well.

I lived alone the rest of my senior year of high school. And although I loved it, it did get lonely at times.

I’d accidentally oversleep, and be late to class.

There are only so many times they will allow you to sign your own excuses for yourself when you’re late for school.

I was kicked out of high school my senior year for missing too much school.

I didn’t give up on graduating high school with a diploma.

I re-enrolled into high school the next year in a new city and state.

My new school district required a hearing test, that I failed.

They helped me get services that replaced my hearing aids.

The moment I got hearing back, was amazing!

I remember wearing my hearing aids while driving home after picking them up from the audiologist.

I could hear birds chirping, and the words being sung on the songs playing on my radio.

I was afraid the engine of my Honda might explode. I had never heard an engine running before. My friends finally filled me in, it always had sounded like that.  It was pretty normal sounding for a car engine.

Being ditsy  had lost its appeal.  It was still a hard habit to break.

I decided then I could stop acting dumb since I could now hear and understand.

I graduated half semester with my high school diploma.

After graduation, I moved back to Fort Collins with the guy I had been dating since I was 17. We broke up when I was 23.

I met my husband shortly after.

Together we have three kids, ages 8, 4 and 2.

I’ve tried many jobs in life trying to figure out what I’m good at.

I’ve been a babysitter, fast food worker, waitress, barista, telemarketer, pizza delivery driver, call center rep, cell phone salesperson, retail store manager, marketing, and advertising sales consultant.

I’ve had to adapt to every job because of my hearing loss.

My hearing loss causes understanding in speach to be delayed.

It’s a little harder for me to understand verbal instructions.

Sometimes up to 5 minutes can pass by after someone says something to me that I heard before I could finally understand what was said.

It’s frustrating for someone that is deaf or has a hearing loss to have a normal conversation. Frustrating for people who are talking to them too.

I can’t hear over the phone without a special, super loud phone. It’s hard to stay focused on any phone conversation. I’d have to turn the volume up on every phone to barely hear someone talking to me.

Background noise is a major annoyance. If there was any, that is all I can hear.

Many people I meet can’t really tell I’m hard of hearing unless they see my hearing aids.

My long hair usually covers them up.

I don’t point out my disability.

Most people find out when I’m changing out my battery when it’s died when I tell them I can’t understand what is said.

Many times in life I’ve ignored condescending looks seemingly questioning me for not listening, or paying attention.

Disgusted looks after a “dumb question” I ask that had already been talked about or asking too many times for clarification to be 100% sure what I understand what’s being said to me.

I clarify because I get confused easily. Once I understand, I’m solid.

Being hard of hearing is like playing the game “telephone” with everyone you ever talk to – all the time.

I’m frequently wrong about what people actually say.

If I’m not looking at the person talking to me, and fully paying attention to them and reading their lips, I might not understand them fully.

I don’t define myself by my disability.

After graduating high school I took a few college courses before I realized since I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was wasting my money and time there at that point.

I stopped going after I earned a few credits at a 4.0 average, to focus on working to support myself instead.

I got my first cell phone when I was working in the cell phone industry. It was a huge Nokia from Verizon. I used it for calls and text.

My first camera phone took small pics but you could only send them via text. If you emailed it, the resolution on resizing was terrible. It had no internet access.

Then I got a used blackberry because I was ready to get better access to my email.

Anyone remember these? I couldn’t get it to work for me.

I got access to a desktop computer when I moved in with my husband, and at my cell phone sales job.

I joined Freecycle and used Craigslist.

I auctioned stuff on eBay and purchased a few things for me as well as my clients because I could get really cheap accessories for their cell phones that I didn’t have in stock, or replace a lost handset if they were under contract still.

Fast forward to my first real corporate job.

My client was impressed with my follow up when I sold her a cell phone with a free data plan for a month.

I called to remind her to take it off if she wasn’t using it. Then she invited me to work with her.

For many years I worked at the newspaper, learning all about advertising and marketing with a cell phone that didn’t get online at all.

She taught me so much about leadership, marketing, and advertising.

My sales talents had been well honed from reading books on sales and from years on the sales floor selling, recruiting and teaching others how to do it.

This was right when the i-phones started to come out.

I remember at the time I was using a Magenta Motorola V3 Razr.

Then the hinge broke and I was forced to upgrade. That was when I finally got my first “smart” phone.

MIND BLOWN!

I developed an addiction to reading and creating content online, and connecting to others using social media. Finally, I felt like I could connect to others, on an even playing field. Who cares if you can hear on social media.

Then my work got really into digital advertising.

Newspapers all over the country were getting shut down, consolidated, or moving to a once a week, twice a week publication with an online website to update daily on news and info.

I watched sadly as they sold our press. We outsourced our printing to our competitor.

I remember going on a tour when I was a kid, seeing it in action pressing newspapers from plates the design team had created.

I also got a tour of the same press when I started working in the advertising department, but it wasn’t running at the time.

Working at a media news publishing company for ten years helped me learn even more about advertising and digital marketing.

From the beginning of social media and the internet, I was there and trying out every possible thing.

It became so ingrained into my daily life,  that I became an online examiner in my free time, writing stories about my roller derby team.

This taught me more about journalism, writing content for targeted audiences, and promoting it on social media.

I paid out of my own pocket for a social media marketing management course to learn more about managing social media for others.

At work, I suggested that we add social media management to our client’s marketing options.

We all became experts in social media to grow our followers and reach, but I noticed many didn’t appear to have the same interest in social media that I did.

I was mocked for using it so much and even got in trouble a few times for being so social.

I quit friending my bosses just so they wouldn’t know when I was active on social media.

I perfected using social media to get prospects for advertising sales.

I had more followers than many huge companies that I worked for including my own before they started adopting it.

Social media never sleeps.

I read somewhere that people that spend more time on social media are lonelier and more depressed.

Perhaps that is true.

For many other reasons for me though.

While being in advertising, I became a new mom three times over. My husband stayed home with them while I worked.

I took it hard being away from my kids and working all day.

Then my team at work was restructured.

Shortly after getting a new sales manager, I lost my job.

I was pregnant, the only supporter of a family of 4 going on 5.

It seemed bad at the time but it actually helped me out to get me closer to my goals of being home with them.

My next job, I commuted 40 minutes each way.  I spent my entire waking life in other cities for two years.

I fell further into a depression over not seeing my kids enough.

They tore my heart out when they begged me not to go to work as I said goodbye each morning.

My first year at the new job performance wise was phenomenal.

I blew my goals out of the water, made more money than I ever had.

My manager was awesome. Everyone I worked with was so nice and supportive.

Then they restructured the team.

I got a new manager. Goals became unachievable.

I ran out of sick and vacation time, and I couldn’t work from home anymore when my husband would get sick.

I decided working there was not something I wanted to do much longer. I saw the end coming.

When things went downhill there, I had started to look around and apply for other jobs.

I was feeling overwhelmed. I wanted a work at home job. There weren’t any that paid the same income I needed to survive.

I was ready to be home with my kids.

This is the moment I started the journey to being an entrepreneur. I knew I had to use the internet to make a living.

It changed my life.

Since I lost my second job for a media publisher, I’ve become a business owner, entrepreneur, boss-babe,  mompreneur.

You can say I’m living the good life.

I’m seeing my family every day.

I can be there for them so much more than ever before. It’s not an issue for anyone now to go to a doctors appointment.

I can go on my kids’ field trips, parent-teacher conferences, and class parties.

They are all into fun activities now.

I even have activities I do all by myself, for the first time in a long time.

The nagging guilt I felt over if I’m a good enough mom, has been dissipating.

My company, Boudica Marketing, provides social media management, customer service, and sales through social media, marketing, and advertising, for businesses and brands.

I make and update websites and develop marketing plans. I handle media buys, create ads.

I made this website www.boudicamarketing.com and write blogs on it.

It offers free marketing and advertising info, affiliate marketing links, and monetized ads.

If anyone clicks on an ad or link from my website or blogs, I’ll get a small amount of money paid to me for the referral.

I made an e-commerce store, The Old Farm Market. 

It provides solutions to reduce plastic waste during nourishment and rehydration.

Before I lost my last few jobs I was searching for the thing that would help me work from home.

I started learning from others who were doing the same.

I was struggling to pay our bills by myself.

My husband got sick all the time, making me miss a lot of work while he was in the E.R. hooked up to an I.V. to give him fluids and pain medicine.

A few times he said he was going to die, and acted like it. I believed him.

He was finally diagnosed with I.B.S.

He can’t eat onions or garlic, or he could die from cramping, vomiting, and dehydration.

I remember the day I was on the way home from work, feeling like a failure at my job and life.

I pulled over to the side of the road, and in desperation, I searched from my cellphone on how I can make more money and work from home.

I was targeted by an ad from Tai Lopez. How to increase your income. A youtube video pitching 67 steps.

He became one of my influencers.

My husband got jealous that I was on my phone, listening to him so much.

Many people including my husband liked to make fun of Tai Lopez.

I appreciate his new ideas and other perspectives.

He made me realize that multiple forms of income and passive income were the only way to really thrive.

I started to follow and learn from anyone he mentioned, like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffet.

I realize I needed to start living my life, time was limited. My kids were growing up too fast. I was missing it all.

I followed marketing industry experts Tai suggested, like Grant Cardone, and Gary Vaynerchuck.

I focused on being healthier so I wouldn’t loathe being myself.

I tricked my mind into loving myself, by pretending to, until I did.

I joined Kinobody (on Tai’s recommendation) and lost 80 pounds.

I started to meditate and do yoga.

I have a hip impingement from years of sitting at my desk job.

I went to the doctor to help me diagnose and fix my hip pain.

I’m now doing physical therapy and it’s helping. The pain is gone and I know how to manage it if it come back.

I started to read again.

I give back to the community by organizing free kids clothing swaps and support groups.

I made a huge effort to intentionally figure out a way to better my life using the internet to work from home so I could live my life more fully – and be a part of my kid’s life too in a meaningful way.

 

Want to connect with me?

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Like my Facebook page at Boudica Marketing

 Follow me on Twitter @Becky_Colvin

Find me on Snapchat @boudica60d

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