It’s Not Easy Being Green

I love Kermit. For the record, I loved Kermit before Miss Piggy loved Kermit. In the early 70’s, Kermit first poignantly croaked out that “it’s not easy being green”. Being green was something he could not help. It simply was.

This song has since been associated with people lamenting their own self-identity, yet coming to terms with “it being what it is”. By the end of the song, Kermit admits it’s OK to be green and that it is how he wants to be.

Am I OK Being This Way?

Something I have struggled with in acceptance of acquired disabilities is “the new me”. You see… I wasn’t born green. I can’t even say the transformation was similar to the beautiful miracle and mystery of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly.

And yet… it’s not like I asked to be late-deafened. It’s not like I asked to have a balance disorder like Meniere’s disease. But just like Kermit being green, it is what it is. There is no changing it.

So if this is me now, am I OK with it? Anyone with acquired disabilities ever struggle with that acquisition? If I asked for a show of hands, you’d first notice my own raised palm. I think you’d also notice a great number of hands. You aren’t alone.

Like many of you, I feel good about who I am much of the time. But I’d be lying if I said it’s always easy to be me. It’s not. So what to do?

Acceptance ≠ Resignation

I’ve never heard a person with acquired disability or chronic illness say, “This is easy”. It’s not. Yet do you know what I have discovered? I have this fuzzy, old memory of “life before disability” and IT STILL WASN’T EASY. My friends? Life is not easy. If you haven’t figured that out yet then you are still very young. Or, perhaps you are a frog.

I am discovering that acceptance of where I am (or even where I may end up), does not mean that I give up. Nor does it mean that I am resigned to an unhappy, unfulfilled life with no chance of ever giving back or having a purpose.

I get some “flack” with some of my readers about using the word “disability”. Rest assured, I welcome ALL opinions and discussion about the posts here at Hearing Elmo, as do the guest writers who participate. Some have suggested that using the term disability lowers one’s expectations and influences self-esteem. I understand the argument and point of view by those who believe this. I use the term because it is the terminology used by the ADA which ultimately protects my rights as a person with disability. It is about my freedom as a person who negotiates life a little differently. You may use disabled, differently-abled, special challenges, etc. In the end though it is green; though some may call it lime, olive, or chartreuse.

So today, August, 20, 2012, I am a person with disabilities. It’s not easy. But it isn’t impossible. Bottom line, because of who I am today, I compromise. I’m going to Hershey Park with a big group of couples from our church. I’m the self-designated pocket book holder. I won’t be riding any rides. I cannot. But I anticipate a day of fun and fellowship with other folks my age. I don’t choose not to go. For me, that would be giving up so it is not an option.

I don’t use the phone well, but I can use captioned phones, assistive technology, and my cochlear implant to make do. I use email a lot – and yes, FaceBook too. I walk like the world is in motion – especially on rainy days. Yes, yes, I know. The world IS in motion, but trust me! My earth’s rotation is faster than YOUR earth’s rotation. So I often walk with a cane. I have an assistance dog who counter-balances, and retrieves things I drop. I say, “Whoa!” a lot.

Don’t Pin a Super Hero Cape on Me!

Before you pin a super hero cape on me, please know that I don’t always have good days. I don’t always wake up and believe I can take on the world. I do not always look in the mirror and like what I see. There are times I worry about where I am in terms of what I can and cannot do. What is important, I believe, is what you do after having those very normal feelings. Worried? Totally normal. Depressed? This can be a very normal reaction. Pissed? Believe it not, being angry is a normal response to acquired disability. When you STAY worried, depressed, or pissed it becomes a problem. Don’t be afraid to talk to others. Perhaps you need to see a counselor. Maybe you need to do something just for YOU to work off some of that negative steam.

You will never hear me say it’s easy being green. It’s not. But acceptance of where we are allows us to then LIVE and even to give back – to be productive and have a life of purpose. Just like Kermit croaks, we may not be sparkly and flashy like others. Within each of us is the desire to discover and acknowledge that our being green – is OK. Perhaps even good.

I welcome your thoughts on this!

Denise Portis

© 2012 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

It’s Not Easy Being Green lyrics

It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer
being red or yellow or gold
or something much more colorful like that.

It’s not that easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over
’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
or stars in the sky.

But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big
like an ocean
or important like a mountain
or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine
it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.

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5 thoughts on “It’s Not Easy Being Green

  1. Beautiful, Denise. When I think about that song, Kermit singing “…I think that’s what I want to be” what comes to mind for me is not so much that he wants to be green. Rather, he wants to be Kermit! Kermit is green, and to deny the green is to deny the self. True, he’s sort of working his way through the pros and cons of being green as opposed to some other color, but he’s developing a sense of it’s OK to be me, warts (heh) and all. The other strong thought I had, somewhat related, is of a conversation I recently had with my sister. Our hearing loss and subsequent disability is genetically based. She mentioned that if her insurance will pay for some of it she might have the test done to find out which one it is. She said that she seemed to recall a professor at the hospital saying that if they identify which one it is they may be able to manipulate it in one’s children and possibly stop the passing along of the gene. I told her that I think this is something they’re working towards but I don’t think they can do such a thing right now. But I started to think about the ramifications. Imagine they could do something to prevent the deterioration of hearing! While I got excited at the prospect, I found myself VERY uncomfortable with it. After much reflection, I admitted that it is because I feel like they would be missing out on all the life lessons I’ve had as a result of my journey. Naturally I would want them to preserve hearing if possible, and know that they will have their own unique set of experiences. But my hearing loss, deafness, and subsequent “hearing again” with cochlear implants has shaped a big part of my perception of the world, of life. It actually made me sad to think that they wouldn’t experience that, if and when such a thing could be done (the manipulation of the gene).

  2. I’ve been talked out of using the term “disability” by my own doctor. He argues that because I’m young and a diver and stuff that claiming disability accommodation at the school won’t work out. I’ve begun to feel that “disability” is a word for people much worse off than me, though I do wish that chronic pain could be seen as a disability sometime. I think I might be green….but I’ve been told I’m not. It’s not easy not knowing weather you count as green or not! 😛

    1. Rachel, I think of all the invisible disabilities and “shades of greenness”, chronic pain from various diagnosis must be the most difficult to shoulder. Unless you can read someone’s body language and facial expression well, how would one ever know by looking anything at all is wrong. I’d love to have some writers for Hearing Elmo with fibro, Lyme’s, etc. Truly a unique perspective of invisible disabilities – that’s for sure!

      Denise Hearing Elmo

  3. Thank you for these articles,MIT helps with my being HOH. I tend to miss reunions because of not being able to understand. But I still try.

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