See Me as Me

Black and white picture of a woman with her hair up and sunglasses on top of her head, she is smiling.

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Who am I?

Hard to say, I wish it were a simple question. I wish I could say.

I am Kate.

That much I know.

I started off as a Kathryn; Katie followed before, at sixteen, I declared, “I will now be known as Kate”.

I am Kate. I have spent most of my life being Kate.

But, who am I?

I am a daughter.

I am a big sister. I am also a little sister. I have two brothers.

I am a wife. I am a mother.

That, too, I know.

What else?

Sometimes I don’t feel like I am ‘me’.

“Who are you?” I think, thinking of me.

Who is the girl, hell, who is this woman?

Are you really forty-three?

No way.

Are you really hearing impaired?

What’s that you say, visually impaired too?

No way.

I’m sorry. What did you say? You are going blind?

You have Usher Syndrome …

Boy. Glad it is you not me!

Oh no, hang on. You are ‘me’.

Oh boy.


Can I start over?

Who am I?

Well …

Something doesn’t work properly in my ears.

Something doesn’t work properly in my eyes.

That’s all.

That’s it.

Usher Syndrome is such a minor part of who I am.

But Usher Syndrome is not who I am.

I am ‘me’.

I am not special.

I am not brave.

I am not courageous.

Well, I am, but not because I have Usher Syndrome!

I am, because I am ‘me’.

I am funny, no?

Oh God, I can ‘do’ funny.

I trip, I stumble, and I fall.

All. The. Time.

Yes, I can be funny. And, I am funny.

I get up, and keep on going.

I am determined.

And I can laugh.

Laugh at myself.

Oh God, if I didn’t laugh, I just might cry, all the time!

Yes. I can laugh. I need to laugh.


I do not want to be treated as special.

I do not want to be treated differently.

I don’t feel special, though I am treated as special.

I don’t feel different, though I am treated differently.

Really, I am just like you.

It is just that something doesn’t quite work properly in my ears.

And something doesn’t quite work properly in my eyes.

That’s all.

That’s it.

But this I know.

I would just like to say one thing.

See me as me.

That is all.

See me as me.

Forget Usher Syndrome.

Forget the symptoms. The diagnosis. The prognosis. The treatments. Well, the lack of treatments.

The outlook. The future.

All that.

Forget my ears. Forget my eyes.

Forget everything.

Just for one moment. Please.

See me as me.

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