Being Seen and Heard

shared courtesy of Brooke’s Butterfly Touch


Over the last five, if not ten years, I’ve constantly heard the same basic encouraging prompt from all my closest friends: “Brooke, when are you gonna finish your memoir? People need to hear your story!” While I’ve agreed with all of them (because you know, it doesn’t build people’s confidence in my ability to help them share their stories, if I haven’t gone through the whole process myself), I wanted to wait until I had a clear message and purpose for the book. It’s true that at all of my speaking engagements, workshops, and presentations, I always share pieces of my story to illustrate that God has a purpose for all our limitations and challenges, but the book would have to go deeper than that.

So now, finally, five years after my first attempt, I’m digging deep and getting done. It really took prayer and little perspective after surviving four years of medical crises to understand why I need to write my story. Rolling in Grace is about finding God’s Grace in the midsts of my pain and discovering His specific purpose for my disability. As I’m currently writing the heavier chapters of my story, I’ve been going to YouTube to get some inspiration and motivation from the influencers that give me hope. I’m enamored with Shane Burcaw and Hannah Alyward, an interabled couple AKA Squrimy and Grubs, Joni and Friends, and the inspirational documentary work of Justin Baldoni. But, watching their videos has made me ponder the power of being seen and heard compared to having your words read. Although I have a YouTube channel with 24 encouraging and informative videos (I hope, anyway), I only have 18 subscribers because I haven’t put a whole lot of energy into promoting it. However, I do think it would kind of cool to gain a big following and be able to encourage a lot more people, especially since I can’t really go out and do regular speaking engagements right now.

But here’s the thing, there’s one big difference between the YouTubers who inspire me and myself… I have pretty severe speech impairment. That means I have three options when posting vlogs: 1. Speak in my natural voice and caption every video 2. Have someone clarify what I’m saying, like my best friend Jonathan did in the interview below 3. Just use the augmentative communication (AAC) apps on my phone or iPad. I haven’t learned how to correctly caption videos yet, so option 1 is out. Since Jonathan moved to Tennessee just weeks after the interview took place, and I don’t have another friend who can help clarify my speech for videos on a regular basis, option 2 is pretty much out too. So, that just leaves my AAC apps.