If you’re a sport fan, then you probably have a favorite team whom you cheer on every single game. Or alternatively, maybe you are part of a team and you play the game, cheer on your teammates, take heart from the eagerness of the crowd. You know that every member of a team is critical, from the coach to the reserve player. A team is bigger than what is on the field - there are players that are never on the field. They are no less important and include the team manager, physical therapist, locker room janitor, field coordinator, etc.
A team can also be a support network. A team can be a net. Life is a game and you are the main player, the hero of your own story. Your team includes all the people who help and support you - family, friends, teachers, neighbors, community, doctors. Being deaf or hard of hearing means that you have some people with specific roles on your team – interpreter, audiologist, speech therapist, deaf school coordinator, etc. Everyone on your team wants to help you through the good and bad in life.
I call my team Team Chloe. It includes my parents, my teachers, every speech therapist that I had since 18 months old, my neighbors, and many more. It is a big team and they have helped me so many times. For example, in my article Difficult Teacher, all the teachers who helped me get through to that stubborn teacher were a part of Team Chloe.
Sometimes though, life gets tough and you feel alone. That is a very sad feeling, because you need help but you don’t feel you can ask anyone for it. The solution is this – you have to reach out, find someone, and ask for help. Maybe you are having difficulty with a tough class – so you need to ask a teacher, a tutor, or a friend who’s doing well in that class for help. Maybe you need to open up about something, which can be the hardest thing in the world, in which case you need to find someone you might trust, such as a friend, a counselor or a family member.
I say that opening up about something is the hardest thing, because I’m not an open person. Freshmen year of college, I was homesick and felt so alone. There was no one that I trusted and it seemed like I was drowning in the mountain of homework and social pressure. I had three separate meltdowns in the space of three days. Needless to say, I was not in a good place. This was also a time, when I was geographically separated from everyone I knew. Everyone who was on Team Chloe was in New Mexico – I was in California. Then I asked an RA (Resident Assistant who live in the dorm) for help. It is embarrassing to cry your heart out, but that’s what I did, and the RA listened and helped me work through all my issues. Mostly I just needed to learn to expand my team with people from my new college. My RA was a helpful starting point – Welcome to Team Chloe!
Your team is only be built by trial and practice. In life, your team will grow every year. There will be tough times, and you might fall down more than once, but a team is there to make sure you get up again. You might even be part of someone else’s team. Just remember in any case, you have at least one person on your team – me! I want to help you succeed in life, to be happy, and to achieve your goals.