I was born Deaf and lost my vision as an adult — but reading is my constant companion

The first time books changed my life, I didn’t even know what a book was.

My mother reeled when I was diagnosed as totally Deaf at four months old. She called it “the destruction of dreams.”

“I wanted to be a mother, a good mother,” she once told me before…

As someone with limited sight, Braille allows me to feel the landscape of language

About six years ago, my world turned upside down as my sight receded into blurs and whorls of color and light. One thing that changed most was how I read.

As someone who loved books, I didn’t want to completely abandon the written word. Against the advice of a low-vision…

What it’s really like to hear for the first time after growing up totally deaf

I didn’t hear a damn thing until I was six.

When my parents discovered my deafness at four months, the audiologist told them that I was the deafest baby she had ever met. I didn’t react to even the loudest sounds, which were noted as no-reaction on my audiogram. The…

If you had met me six years ago, you would’ve found me to be an ordinary young woman where my vanities were concerned.

Whenever I passed by the mirror, my gaze assessed my reflection. I zeroed in on my physical flaws. The bump on my nose. My belly’s stubborn convexity…

The strange dynamics of growing up deaf in a hearing family

When I was 11, my 13-year-old sister locked herself into her room in a fit of teenage angst. Before she quarantined herself, she covered my parents’s bathroom mirror with post-its detailing their every transgression. As you might’ve guessed, there were many. …

The ethical dilemma of consuming good art by bad people

Every time a famed artist is felled by some shocking revelation, we start wringing our hands. “What should we do?” we cry. “Should we keep on enjoying their art? Or should we boycott beautiful things create by filthy people?” …

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has a message that rings as true today as it did in 1962.

When a book comes along at just the right time, it changes you forever. A Wrinkle in Time was that book for me.

A Wrinkle in Time begins with the disappearance of Dr. Murry, a scientist working on a top-secret government project. He leaves behind a wife and four children…

It’s not a tragedy to be deaf and it’s not a miracle when technology brings you sound

When I was nine, my class went on a field trip to a sensory research lab. A local TV crew came along as part of a human interest story on what schoolchildren thought about animal testing. It must’ve been a really slow news week. All of my classmates mugged for…

Cristina Hartmann

Stringing words together and hoping for the best. Find me at http://cristinahartmann.com

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