To kick off Craniofacial Acceptance Week I thought why not start at the base. To accept something one must first know what it is they are accepting. So what is a cleft?
You know everyone regardless of their age or gender all has a distinct voice. Some voices are raspy, some voices are high pitched or low like Josh Turner 😉
My voice has its own distinct feature that stems from my cleft-lip and palate. You see, until I was 24 I had a hole in the roof of my mouth. There is a proper term for this “hole” but I don’t want to bore you with all of the specifics.
When I was a little girl I used to sit in front of the tv and watch CMT, when they ONLY played music lol. I would sing along to every song, especially Reba! My dream was to be a singer, however I soon realized that I could barely carry a musical tune. 😦 Who knew! Now my musical talents are left for a small audience of me, myself, and I when I sing at the top of the lungs in the shower. 😉
My voice has “matured” over the years though, at least in my opinion. I used to be shy so I was quiet, and then I became a girl with a loud mouth that wouldn’t shut up, perhaps that’s why I made a great high school cheerleader! Haha.
However, I’ve never really known how my voice sounded to other people, I mean after all I can’t necessarily hear what they hear. That being said, I’ve had a few instances where I have gotten some idea of how some people think I sound.
I work as an HR Specialist and therefore I’m on the phone I would say at least half of my workday. To get an idea of how I “sound” let me give you an example of a conversation. “____ Office this is Rebecca.” “Oh you poor thing you must have a cold, you sound awful” or “Oh no, your allergies are getting to you too huh? Sounds like it.”
Now the first time or two you shrug it off, but after the one hundred and fifty-fifth time (number exaggerated obviously), it’s like “REALLY?” Lol I mean some days I feel A-mazing and then I get that and it’s like “Crap, do I sound like I’m sick?” Most of the time I truly do shrug it off and just say “Yea it’s my allergies” and quite honestly I do have those lovely seasonal allergies. However, more often times than not I just don’t have the heart to tell the person “No, I’m not sick at all!” Lol, there have been a couple of instances where I just laugh and say “No, I’m not sick, I just have a raspy voice.”
My main point with this rant is that we are all unique in our own way maybe by shape, size, facial appearance, or even voice. It’s better to not assume you know what’s going on with a person than to say something that if corrected you might regret, at least that’s my opinion. However, if you do happen to get those instances like mine or similar just shake it off, smile, and remember the person doesn’t know and more than likely they don’t mean to be hurtful.
If you read my previous blog, you know that I went to go visit five year old Ella and her family this past weekend; I had a great time. My mom got to meet Ella and her siblings, it was a great trip for all of us. The picture above is us with shirts, iron-ons made by ClefTees Designs. You can check the designs out on their Facebook page. The dolls pictured below were made by Tiny Wide Smiles – Doll Clinic, who is also on Facebook.
Ella LOVED her doll, her reaction was more than I could ask for and Melody (her doll’s name) is being loved by such a sweet little girl. I wanted to post some pictures from the trip for you all to see. Enjoy! 🙂 P.S. If you click (or double click) on on of the pictures below it will get bigger and then you can click the next arrow to see each picture after that.
As a kid who was born with a cleft lip and palate, there are many things I have been through. I’ve had spacers, braces, head-gear, upon other things. There are certain moments in particular that I will never forget and looking back make me laugh.
After many/most surgeries I had to use a syringe for food purposes. I remember after one surgery when I was younger, my mom and I had the idea of trying to put jello in the syringe as I couldn’t open my mouth very much. If you are reading this and you are thinking “hey, I’ve never tried that”, there’s probably a reason why. It’s NOT a good idea. The jello shot out of the syringe and onto the ceiling, needless to say we never tried that again. LOL
In fourth or fifth grade I had to get braces, along with that I ended up getting a spacer put up in the roof of my mouth. I was not pleased about the spacer and although I had just gotten it put in, I decided that I wanted a Burger King hamburger. The hamburger was not a good choice as it hurt to eat it, so I decided that if I can’t have the whole hamburger, I would have the pickles on the hamburger. One pickle eaten, two pickles eaten, three pickles….not eaten. The last pickle got stuck in my spacer!! This might not have been a big deal except I couldn’t get the pickle out and we were 45 minutes away from home. I was so upset, I began to cry. My parents tried to calm me down and after a bit I did calm down. I even made up a song, “I gotta pickle, I gotta pickle, I gotta pickle hey hey hey”, you know from the Little Rascals movie where the little boy sings “I gotta dollar, I gotta dollar, I gotta dollar hey hey hey”? What can I say I’m a silly girl.
For those that read this blog and have a cleft or a kid with a cleft, do you have any funny stories to share?