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Living Between The Deaf and Hearing Communities

“As the Deaf Queen Boss, my goal is to teach others how to be inclusive and change how we approach mental health among people with disabilities and within the deaf community.” – Kellina Powell

Kellina Powell is an entrepreneur and advocate who specializes in working with  young professionals with disabilities in managing depression, anxiety, and improving self-esteem. In her book, Everyday I Am Just Deaf, (available now) she helps shed light on the experiences of a deaf person living in a hearing world. 

In this episode, Kellina shares her experiences, tips for people living with disabilities, and at the end of the podcast gives an uplifting pep talk that is not to be missed to people listening who feel isolated due to their disabilities. 

In this episode, Kellina talks about:

  • Her experiences living in two different worlds; the deaf and hearing communities
  • How she found confidence and self-worth as a deaf student navigating hearing schools
  • Why mental health is overlooked in the disabled community and why it’s important to normalize therapy for that community.

Guest Spotlight: Kellina Powell

Podcast Guest Kellina Powell wearing a white dress

Kellina Powell is passionate about guiding and supporting people with disabilities to try different tools and strategies to reach their fullest potential, especially within the deaf community. She has a huge passion for seeing people succeed!

Her unique experiences living in two different worlds, the hearing and deaf communities, makes her a passionate advocate for people with disabilities to be heard and improve their mental health.

With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a post-graduate certificate in Mental Health and Addiction, Kellina has sound knowledge of the brain’s functions. This provides further insight and understanding in assessing individuals with their mental health.

She’s also aware of the many different counseling strategies and techniques used to administer mental health support. 

Her experiences and training have led me to be very open and see outside of the box to develop excellent communication and listening skills, making her a competent and suitable coach. 

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Kellina Powell

[00:00:00] Andrea: When I asked this week's guest what inspired her to write her book, she asked me if I had ever read a book by a deaf author. And you know what? I don't know if I have, they never incorporated that into the story or talked about being deaf from a personal perspective, and that's what inspired this week's guest to write her book because not a lot of people have read books written by deaf authors.
in her book. It's written like poetry. It's incredibly powerful and it transports the reader to see the world through her eyes. As a deaf person living in a hearing world, I promise you are gonna fall in love with Kalina Powell. She's very open and honest about her challenges and how she overcame them and other challenges that she still wants to learn from.
Before the interview, she told me that she is an open book, so I asked a ton of questions. We talked about confidence and being outside of our comfort zone, and how different that is when you're living with a disability, like being deaf and how asking for help is more like a trust fall exercise than just simply asking for a favor.
And how people are always surprising us in good ways and in bad ways. This is a great conversation and I feel lucky to be able to bring it to you because it's truly a perspective that I haven't been exposed to that much and stay tuned to the end where I give Kalina the floor and she gives an amazing pep talk to anyone that is feeling isolated and anxious because of their disability.
Please enjoy this week's episode and visit Andrea Hanson for more on Kalina Powell. Resources we talk about in the show and transcripts from today's episode, you can find that link in the episode description. Welcome to the Live Your Life, not Your Diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hansen, author, motivational speaker and master certified coach.
When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told I would never reach my goals, but I did, and I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable. Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view, and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds to inspire you to achieve what you thought was impossible.
These stories are raw, uncensored and judgment free listener discretion is advised. Hello, welcome. I'm here with Kalina Powell. Kalina is a young entrepreneur who loves to help people with their professional growth and educate others about the deaf community. Little do people know Kalina is actually a hard of hearing person.
She became deaf at the age of four and she recently graduated with a psychology degree and is now starting her own online coaching. While launching her book, which I wanna interject. Your book is out, is that right?
[00:02:52] Kellina: It is out, yes. It's .
[00:02:54] Andrea: All right. Can't wait to talk about that. Welcome, Kalina. How are you?
[00:02:58] Kellina: I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me today.
[00:03:01] Andrea: I have to say, I was really excited when I saw your application come through and to have you on as a guest. Because I have never had someone from the hard of hearing community on my podcast, so I am honored and I can't wait to talk to you. There's so much to talk about, you are on right now, kind of a podcast. Tour, is that right?
[00:03:22] Kellina: Yeah, I am. I am. I'm honestly everywhere and just putting myself out there, I would say being on social media and just creating amazing content.
[00:03:31] Andrea: Yeah, it is really amazing content. I mean, it's, I always think it's a really good sign when I am researching somebody and time just flies. Like all of a sudden I'm like, okay, I've spent way too long.
I get it . I understand, I've got my questions, I've got everything I need. And I'm still like down the rabbit hole of reading things and looking at everything they've done. I always think that's a really good sign when I'm really interested. Cause I know people are gonna be super interested in hearing what you have to say.
So as you've been on podcasts, What have you found is surprising?
[00:04:06] Kellina: For me, I would say it was really fun. Mm-hmm. , I had a lot of fun meeting new people. I met over like so many people across the globe and cuz I'm that type of person who love meeting people.
And the only thing I found challenging when I go on podcast is the audio. Sometimes the audio, it doesn't go the way should be because for myself and some other people, we have a closed caption on our computer. So sometimes the closed caption do not always pick up what the other person is saying. And so for me personally, um, for example, zoom.
Zoom, oh my God, I hate the closed caption so much. And it's so hard to like pick it up, like the words. And sometimes it freezes, sometimes sometime compared to google meet google meet can pick up super faster than zoom, fortunately. But I would think other than that, it's just a really amazing experience for me to really come on to talk about my story and just really continue educating the hearing community and just really, um, being a wow in each experience for to a lot of people.
And I know a lot of people being inspired by my story and they're like, if Kellina can do it, I can do it. And I'm like, that's right. You got that right. .
[00:05:18] Andrea: So you went deaf at a very early age. You were not born deaf, but you were four and it was an accident. Is that right?
[00:05:27] Kellina: Yeah, it was actually an accident. So I actually was prescribing ear drop cause I had an ear infection at the time.
And so unfortunately I, my mom, there was a specific instruction for the daycare. for the eardrop, and so the daycare did not follow the instruction. That same day, that's when I became deaf. So it's not like, it was like days my hear would drop, it was just that instantly that one day I just became deaf. So that was just crazy.
[00:05:54] Andrea: Wow.
And I'm sure, I mean, you were four, so I'm sure you don't have any, you know, insights into what it was like that day, , or do you?
[00:06:02] Kellina: Yeah, I kind of do. I remember like literally I was just watching TV and then I keep turning off the volume and my mom said it's so loud, but I didn't even hear my mom, so she tapped me on my shoulder and she like, Kellina I've been calling you.
I looked at my mom down in the face and she said, hello, and I looked at my mom and I said, I can't hear you. My mom said, excuse me. . She went crazy. And so yeah, she was just like, what do you mean you can't hear me? Like we would try to have conversation and I looked at my mom again. I can't hear you mom,
And then I know I shouldn't be laughing, but actually funny if I four years old, especially my personality, like I'm not talking. Like, mom, I can't hear you. . I'm so funny. But yeah, luckily my grandma was a nurse at the time and she was able to come home quickly from the hospital and just really do assessments with me with my hearing.
And after my, my mom and my grandma realized that I can't hear, and that next day I just went to my family doctor and that's when my family doctor said. It was too late. And right there, that's when I realized something was not wrong. I was crying, I was confused. I'm like, why can I hear my mom? Why can I hear my grandma?
And it was just crazy because my grandma came up to me, big smile on her face, and I was like, why is my grandma smiling so hard? And like, I mean, my head like, why are you smiling? I can't hear you. And now with that type of little girl, and so I was just devastated because I didn't know what was happening.
I could not speak and understand the world how it is, and so that was something I was struggling with when I was growing up.
[00:07:40] Andrea: It sounds like you had that instant support for adapting and bringing in things like sign language and that kind of,
[00:07:48] Kellina: luckily my mom found a deaf school down the street, but it was kind of far from my house.
It. Maybe 30 minutes from my house, so it was a little far for her. However, so my family had a great idea. But yeah, she put me in a deaf school in the morning and then the afternoon I'll be in the hearing school helped me to understand and navigate the hearing world, and the, and the deaf community, really learn about my communication skills and that was something.
learned so quickly, and however, in the deaf school, I actually learned a lot of ASL. But when I went to the hearing school, I didn't learn anything. Mm-hmm. . And so it was very hard to really balance and know who I am because the hearing school, the hearing school would not let me carry on my. Person. And so unfortunately I have to be gone.
I had to like literally drop the deaf school because they were too far from my mom. My mom was in college. She was a young girl when she had me, and so it was very tough for her. She's like, I cannot drop Kellina off every morning and then go to school. It's too much. And my mom had to put me in a hearing school full time.
Mm-hmm. . And so I remember my mom told me that like, you're gonna be putting the hearing school full time. And I just cried cause I'm like, no. Like I'm not who I am in the hearing school. I'm not the same person. So yeah,
[00:09:14] Andrea: that's really powerful knowing that because your, I guess you being able to communicate to the other kids in the hearing school, that lack of communication, just because they didn't know how to communicate with you, really, you knew how to communicate, they just didn't know how to communicate with you.
it led to you feeling like you weren't like yourself?
[00:09:36] Kellina: Yeah, it wasn't, it was hard for me to make friends that was the problem in the hearing community. Yeah. It was just that making friends and having teachers to be accessable for me, a lot of teachers never met a deaf person and they don't know how to accommodate me.
So it was a lot frustrated for me in the classroom where the teachers not are not accessable, and that's, . It was hard for me to find myself because I was like, how am I supposed to fit in here if you can't help me?
[00:10:05] Andrea: Yeah. So, so what happened? How did you, because you were, that had to have been grade school.
[00:10:11] Kellina: Yeah, so, so I, I mean there was a lot of intense situations happened in the hearing school when I actually went there full-time talk to my mom, my aunt, and my grandma they were very consistent with the school in terms of accommodating me. So the deaf school actually had a teacher who would be my backup teacher when I go to high school.
So let's say if I need any accommodation, if the teacher's not aware, they can follow up with my deaf teacher who would come in to see me maybe twice a week, just to make me feel comfortable. Honestly, really, it's really about their support system I had. make sure that I was able to be comfortable in the hearing school both time without having to feel like I am getting so much on my shoulder.
as a little girl who needs so much
[00:11:04] Andrea: So how was that with meeting other people that you, you go into middle school, which is just a zoo on its own , and you go into high school. How was your experience with. both with, you know, making friends and doing what a lot of us do in middle school and high school, which is kind of start to figure out who we are.
[00:11:27] Kellina: I would say everybody always ask me, Kellina you have so much confidence in yourself while you're talking to a hearing person. And I said, when I tell you, it takes a while to build the confidence. And honestly, when I went to middle school, it wasn't that hard to make friends because that's when I learned a lot about where my strength was and where my weakness was at.
So I learned a lot by my deaf teacher. So she did do a lot of exercise. She did a lot of role play. with me in terms of understanding what I'm capable of when I'm interacting with a hearing person. Especially as a kid who don't know what hearing aids are, if they're playing . So she was able to help me in turn of that way, and that's how I build up the confidence and am.
So I always take a step back and just really say, okay, I have to accept that I am different from all the other kids in the classroom, but it doesn't mean I can't be like them However, I maybe need different needs than them. And that was something that took a really long time until actually got into high school to understand that what my deaf teacher was telling me, because thanks to my family, they always encouraged me to do activities like sports or any weird things, honestly.
But my family never stopped putting me out there. They never stopped. I've been playing soccer since I was four years old. That never stopped me from participating in sports, and so that's the one thing I give credit to my family with. They consistently put me out there in sports, even though as a deaf person.
How can you see hear? How can you hear the whole court? So that was something I had to learn that as she helped me because I was able to have a support system where they put me out there. And also to my family and my teachers, they always put me in uncomfortable situation. Always, always. And I actually helped me to break my confidence.
and get me out there and really teach me that you were capable of it. So a lot of time you have to put yourself in uncomfortable situation to know who you are and how you can handle things different.
[00:13:43] Andrea: I love that. I think it's so true. I think you don't know who you are until, and it, it sounds bad, but it's like you don't know who you are until you're tested in certain ways.
And it doesn't have to be, you know, really big or not. It just has to be enough to make you uncomfortable and make, get you out of your comfort zone. So you are relying more on your instinct instead of thinking, oh, what would so and so do? What would this other person do? What should I do? What aren't they thinking I should do?
Right? If you get into an uncomfortable situation, it's like boom, you gotta think on your feet and that's when your true, your true decisions, your true personality, your true choices come out.
[00:14:24] Kellina: I agree a hundred percent. It's really. learning who you are. Never stop learning who you are. And that's the one key thing I learned when I was growing up, especially myself, who's only 25 years old.
That is something I learned down the road, was never stop learning about who you are. Hmm.
[00:14:44] Andrea: I love that. I love that. So when you went into college, . How is that different? You're on your own.
You're, you're right. I mean, college is a whole new thing. So what was that like?
[00:15:01] Kellina: Okay, college, and university was a whole different hemisphere and no, it's not bad. However, there was a lot of difficulty. I have a lot of funny stories to share with you guys. So I being my first year university was definitely a challenge because a lot of the professors were not comfortable wearing a microphone for me.
Because they thought I was gonna, what do you call it? Note. Okay, so you know when, yeah. So note taker, right? Yeah. So note taker. The professor thought because recording the lecture, make a note and sell it. So they thought I would, yeah, it was ridiculous. And I'm like, are you crazy? And then, yeah, if I felt uncomfortable and Cause a lot of students paid the notes to other students, it was just ridiculous.
And I was like, okay, no, this is not working. That one of my struggles, I faced a lot. Second thing was I have a lot of professors thought I would take advantage of my accommodation. They thought that, yeah. , I will go back to the story. So there's another professor, it's a music class. The classroom is a movie theater.
We all know that. And there's the echo sometimes. And so the test was listen to music. So I give him my accommodation. I said, hello, I am deaf. You know, X, Y, and z. I can't be doing the type of test, however, is there a written test that I can do. Professors disrespectful. It's like, no, you can do it. You can do that.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But then imagine though, I actually went up to him the very first day when I got the outline to look at what are required for this course, and I asked, is it possible? He literally said to me, yes, it is possible. I can give you a written test. from the beginning and now it's test time
it's a whole different story. And so luckily, thankfully I had, um, a disability counselor who walked me through university and really makes sure that professors are accommodating me anyway. And I complained to her about it and she said, you know what? They is ridiculous. So she reached out to the professor.
The professor didn't even bother responding to her email to the point where I fail.
[00:17:18] Andrea: Oh my, my jaw just dropped. I don't, I mean, I think somehow I thought that by the time you got to college, the professors should know better, but maybe not.
[00:17:27] Kellina: That's what I thought too.
[00:17:28] Andrea: So what happened?
[00:17:29] Kellina: Yeah, I just, I failed in the course, unfortunately.
[00:17:33] Andrea: Was there any repercussion? Did you. Call him out.
[00:17:36] Kellina: My disability counselor was furious like, she was mad when I tell you guys mad because she was like, you know what, I'm gonna make this professor get fired. I'm like, wait, what? And then she was really upset, like, and so what happened to the head of the music department?
So that's like, Up, up. And I said, oh, this is gonna be bad . And what they did was they tried to accommodate me in a way where I could do like a big exam of the test and my disability counselor said, no, no. Why should she do the test all over again when he's not accommodating? So therefore, I drew guide me to drop her grade and my grade completely got dropped completely.
Stay on my transcript. Nothing. Yeah, she was like, no, Drop it.
[00:18:24] Andrea: Good for her. Yeah. That must have been really cool to have somebody like that on your side that you can look up to that knows. It sounds like in Canada it's, it's similar to here, where it's like, no, you need to do accommodations, you need to listen.
If you're not, then you need to be held accountable and it must be really nice to have, I mean, she was kind of a bulldog, which is awesome
[00:18:47] Kellina: yeah, it was honestly, if it wasn't for her guiding me into university, I would've dropped out because university and college, just different atmosphere. than it is In high school you always had someone on your back, your teacher always say, Hey, your homework is due, your homework is due, the minute you go to university.
You're all on your own. Like, yeah, no one there to help you. I'm lucky to have a parent that can have your back. But yeah, realistically, you're on your own.
[00:19:14] Andrea: So that must have also re, I mean we were talking earlier about being in uncomfortable positions. That must have really, in some sense helped you to be in a lot of those uncomfortable positions and grow that confidence.
[00:19:27] Kellina: I'm grateful for my guidance counselor always. I'm always grateful for her cuz. , I wouldn't have passed university if it wasn't for her
[00:19:34] Andrea: I love your guidance counselor.
I don't even know where. And I love her . I think that's, so it's something that kind of skipping ahead to what you do right now. I think it's really relevant because you help people with disabilities find that confidence, find that self-love, just to have their own back. And I know. For me, especially once I developed multiple sclerosis, finding that confidence and that self-worth was tough.
Like it took me a second before me to really learn it, before I could start talking to other people about it. So where was that? We talked about kind of finding your confidence, but where was it that you developed this strength and this compassion for yourself and kindness for yourself? Is it something that.
Have always had, or is that something that you developed later on as well?
[00:20:32] Kellina: I, no , honestly. I have two stories that actually come from two stories. The first story was I was working at a big park. A little boy approached me and I thought he was lost. I swear, to god. He's like, no, I'm deaf too. Look at my hearing aid.
And I was like, oh my God. I never show. Like it just warm my heart and his mom. Full of joy. And she said, oh my God, you're deaf too. And I, I looked at her confuse like, yeah, why? What? And I'm so confused. And she's like, no, it's because it's so hard to see a deaf person interacting in the hearing community that my son sees.
You in this community is you just boosted confidence. I have been telling him nothing is wrong with him, but now you give him that confidence that there someone like him in the hearing community, you just give hope I was like, oh my God. And that was the first story. The second story was actually my, one of my math teacher, this is was my fourth year at university.
He was also deaf and it was crazy. And I'm like, oh my God. And he did something super fascinating that I never thought anybody could do. He basically, paused the lecture change his hearing aid battery in front of the whole lecture. And I said, wait, you have that confidence to pause the lecture to change your hearing aid battery?
And I was like, oh my God. And for him to do that and feel that confident, that power in front of the whole audience, I was like, wow. If he can do, I can do it. and we had a really good conversation towards the end of class and I said, yeah, I'm deaf to you. We had a good conversation and I asked him the same thing, like, how do you build your confidence?
How do you do it? And he said, simple, just like you. You came out to me and you're deaf. I'm making a difference to you. You never know who's watching you. Just like that little boy that came to me, I never knew he was watching me and you can continue making impact on other people. And I feel like, and that's right there.
I have my strength, my confidence. I'm like, you know what? I never know who's gonna be watching me, but I'm gonna give that power to someone else.
[00:22:32] Andrea: Oh, tears, I mean, it's beautiful because it, he was right. It's, it's, you never know who's watching you. It's really interesting because I feel like we spend so much time in our lives worrying about what people think
and thinking that other people are attacking us kind of the same way. We attack ourselves often inside our heads, and we think the whole world is watching and not just watching, but judging and thinking these terrible things or making fun of us or whatever it is, but the reality. is number one. I always say like, people aren't watching you like you think they are.
Unless it's somebody that's looking at somebody that is emulating something for them, that is being an example for something. Then the world is watching and not just watching, but you're changing lives because something that sounds so small, which was. , how long was that? Like a, an hour of your life in that class?
A 20 minute conversation. Something as little as that can literally change a trajectory of somebody's life. And it's just, I think it's pretty amazing.
[00:23:48] Kellina: It is. It's honestly breaks A lot of people's hearts because you don't understand, there are more than 2.5 billion people in the world that you don't even know.
And believe me, the world is bigger than you think it is. . Mm-hmm.
[00:24:03] Andrea: for sure. So is that what brought you to start working with other people with disabilities? Because you studied psychology and then you also have a postgraduate certificate in mental health and addiction. What brought you into the mental health and addiction part of it?
And I guess two parts. , I love asking a two part question, and what led you into doing what you're doing now, which is helping a lot of people with disabil.
[00:24:31] Kellina: I would just say that it showed me the lack of representation in the disability community, and that was something that I learned when I got older was that how come every time I turn to someone there's no one like me and mental health is not a big topic for a disability community because, there's always something that we have to take care of rather than our own mental health.
for example, for me, I didn't realize, I was so overwhelmed, so I wasn't thinking, but really I was depressed because I couldn't afford my hearing aid battery at the time, and it was super draining and stressful. And it's, that's because everything for us, for disability community is so expensive. Sometime not a lot of people can get the support from the government knowing.
We never asked for this and it's hard. And that's when I realized when I was growing up, mental health was never a big topic for us. And disability community have a higher risk to be exposed to mental health. And that's the problem because there's not enough professional that looked like us in our psychology field.
And that's why I wanted to get my stuff out there, really embrace it through the disability community saying it's okay. to be stressed. It's okay to be depressed because the government is not helping us. The government don't have the right tools or funding for us, and that's where the mental health comes in because we're so busy thinking about other things, and this is where mental health get in the way because we don't realize, and I do wanna help other people and because for me, I suffer a lot in terms of anxiety interacting with someone who was hearing, which always makes me nervous because I was bullied a lot of time when I was younger for my speech
and a lot of people used to be like, oh, you're talking funny, or not good enough. But again, that's where it came in the picture for me. And so that's why I choose to get into this field is really teach other people that if I can do it, you can do it. But also to break the ice really for the disability community, to let them know that you can find someone like yourself in the professional field.
[00:26:35] Andrea: I would think, just for one, for people who want to follow in your footsteps and are also interested in psychology and therapy and, and doing that. But I would also think that it's because when you are looking for something like therapy or counseling and help with a mental health issue, no matter what it is, it's you want to talk to somebody who truly understands where you're coming from
which means if you have a disability, you wanna talk to somebody that has a disability or deeply understands what it's like to have a disability. Like I always talk about therapy. I love therapy. I think everybody should get therapy , but my therapist understands about multiple sclerosis very deeply, and that was important for me because there it's a whole level.
of help that it's almost like it cuts through the noise of like how people can help you when you cast aside all of the, let's just take your situation and put it in the same boat as everybody else who is able-bodied and hearing and everything like that, and it's just not gonna resonate and it's not gonna help you.
So I think it's on both of those levels, I think it's so important. That someone who understands hard of hearing would get into the counseling world.
[00:28:01] Kellina: Yeah, I completely agree. Honestly, I feel like for me, when I was growing up, I didn't actually got a therapist until. Maybe when I started university I was super nervous, honestly, because people always think, oh, if you go to your therapist, you're crazy, but you're this with that.
And I'm like, what don't, I was honestly, I have that breaking part where I'm just like, university was becoming too much, it was getting harder. It like I felt alone, kind of, and that's when I'm like, okay, I need to go look for help now. And eventually you'll know that. Okay. This is, it's time I need to go. Don't force yourself.
And that's why I would tell people, don't force yourself one of these days, you're gonna be like, screw this, I need help, and you're gonna come out of your comfort zone don't think I need help. You're gonna accept it for me. When I started it, I remember I felt relieved, however, not fully relieved because I felt like the therapist can't really relate too much to where I'm going because I'm a deaf person.
My experience is totally different from her. Yes, she have the therapy tool. . For me personally, I'd rather just hire a coach who is like me, that can understand and can help me through exactly what she been through. So yeah. So that's something that a lot of people need to be open mind about. Definitely.
Yeah. . Mm-hmm. .
[00:29:19] Andrea: I mean, that's why I talk about anytime someone brings up, either I'm interviewing someone who does therapy or someone talks about their therapist. I'm always chiming in like, yes, . Yes. Therapy is totally normal. It is so helpful. It covers so many things. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you at all.
You get a cast for a broken bone. You take medication. If you get sick and you go to a therapist, if you're feeling depressed, you're feeling anxious, or maybe you're just feeling really, really overwhelmed, a therapist is gonna help you. I love talking about it and normalizing it, cuz I think it's really important.
[00:29:57] Kellina: Oh yeah, it's very important. I feel like a lot of people looked up to my Instagram stories and they're like, they're so, like you're constant. You're always saying like positive things and you're just like, you're so comfortable talking about your bad days. And that's another thing too. A lot of people are not comfortable seeing nowadays.
People being comfortable seeing the good days but it's like, for me personally, I'd rather show you guys a lot of my bad days than the good days so that you know and understand. Not everybody's perfect. And that's another thing people need to take out and think, no, I'm not perfect. No one's perfect in this world, but you are unique.
Perfect way for your own self.
[00:30:35] Andrea: I think that's great. And you talk a lot in your Instagram and about having like that one foot in the deaf community and one foot in the hearing community, which I think is really interesting. What have you learned now that you're out of school, you're business owner forging on.
What have you learned? What are the challenges and what are your strengths in being? I mean, I would say bilingual in some sense.
[00:31:02] Kellina: That's a really good question. I would say I am good. My strength is, what I love about my strength is body language. Hmm. I can understand body language better than anything else.
Yeah. In both communities, like I don't know why, but that is my strength. I can tell when someone's interested. I can tell someone annoyed. I don't know. It just, that's something I develop a lot, especially learn how to communicate for me, who doesn't know. Sign language, body language was something that I learned how to communicate about growing up, but definitely my weakness.
is definitely stopped being afraid of asking for help. I would stay in the hearing community because I'm always thinking that if I ask for help, they're not going to help me because you know, while I was growing up. All these. I had in school. I'm always keep, not keep thinking, but there's some moments that like, okay, can this person be acceptable for me if I ask for help?
And so that was something that I need to continue working on is it's okay to ask for help even if the person does not wanna help you. But there were going to be another person that's gonna accommodate you with no problem. And that's something that I had to work on while I was growing up
[00:32:16] Andrea: mm. Yeah. Because I think when you ask for help, especially when it's with something that you need help with because of a disability, there's a certain amount of trust that you have to have in this other person who sometimes you don't even know
[00:32:33] Kellina: Yeah, exactly. And trust is not easy or gained from anybody. and that is, that's what makes it harder to ask for help. And that's why a lot of people don't realize that it's so much more than asking for help and people are like, oh, it's okay if I ask for help when I said yes for, for someone who have disability, it's 10 time harder for us to do that because can we trust you?
Are you worth it? , are you worth for me to tell you? Are you worth it? And that's something a lot of people don't realize. A lot of times what we have to go through. It's like, can you be okay that I'm asking you for help?
[00:33:08] Andrea: Yeah, I think you're spot on. It's being the person who is saying like, oh, just ask for help and people are happy to, it's like, yeah, you don't know.
And, and it came , right? I would love it if everybody was awesome, but they're not
[00:33:24] Kellina: right ,
[00:33:27] Andrea: let's just put that out there. But I think something else that you talk a lot about is inclusion. And so talking about asking for help I think makes it interesting to look at the flip side of for people who are, don't have disabilities or don't have the same.
how can they respond when they are asked for help with something that maybe they don't understand?
[00:33:50] Kellina: It really depend on the environment. I, that's what I noticed. It really depend on the environment of the person, what they're going through. For example, for me, covid. Hmm, okay. perfect example, COVID, I can't communicate well with them because the mask that covers the lips and a lot of the deaf community, we rely on lip reading
to have a conversation. So for those who are watching, I am reading Andrea's Lips while I'm having a conversation because that's how we communicate. So for me personally, I remember one time I went to the gas station. and I needed to pay for something. But I think the guy was asking me something, but I wasn't sure what he was asking
and so when I had to tell him like, listen, I am deaf, you need to take off your mask so I can hear you. And then he like, and he like, oh, I can't, because I said, okay, then I want to pay my gas, then go walk out.
I'm like, I wanna pay for my gas. That I was frustrated. Cause I'm like, I wanna pay for my gas and go home. . That was something I struggled with a lot because over Covid it was very hard. And just by simply asking someone to take off the mask, and it's like for me back then was like, why did I even bother telling you?
And that's something that people don't really understand. Mm-hmm. . And so I'd always tell people don't think too much on it. And I think that's our problem. A lot of times we think too much and we sometimes get offended, but we should not be offended. So don't take things for granted. Sometimes we just have to keep going even though that one person is not there to accommodate us, but does not mean that we can be bad mad at that one situation.
There's so much more situations to come.
[00:35:32] Andrea: Yeah. I remember during Covid being at the grocery store and ordering it like the deli counter. and the guy behind the deli counter said, I can't hear you. I'm hard of hearing. You need to remove your mask. And I mean, that was the first time I really thought, I was like, oh my gosh.
Yeah. I mean, of course. And I took my mask down and it was fine, but I just really felt for him because he's seeing however many people at that deli counter every single day and realizing, I mean, I didn't have a problem, but I just thought, my gosh, how many people would. and what that must have been like.
[00:36:07] Kellina: yeah. It's very hard. I feel like people, it's because a lot of people don't come across a lot of deaf person. Mm-hmm. . So I think a lot of people never came across, and that's a lot of time people with disability need to understand that. Believe me, a lot of deaf people never met another hearing community.
A lot of them didn't know, a lot of them never met them. You're the first, the person that met Kellina I don't know what to do I need help. You just don't know their situation. And sometime we have to take a step back and just really think about it and be like, okay, you know what? Maybe they never met someone like me, but maybe I can change that for that person to be more mindful how they interact with other people.
[00:36:48] Andrea: Yeah. It reminds me of something that I, I read in your book, which again is out. on Amazon. It's called Every Day. I Am Just Deaf. But in there there was one sentence that really jumped out. It said, not everything needs a reaction. And I thought that was really interesting. What made you write that? And I have a feeling maybe it's something with this conversation, but maybe not
[00:37:11] Kellina: I would just say that. Oh my God. So that's a good part actually, because for me, I'm a very outspoken person. Mm-hmm. . Sometimes I used to react a lot when someone does not help me. . I used to be that person and I used to be like, okay, why are you not helping me? Okay, what's the problem, sir? So I'm always that person that always gets upset and I always get frustrated.
It's like, why is this always happening? Why did this keep happening? What can we do? Like what's the problem it's 2022 yeah, it was 2022. And then I said, yeah, like it's 2022, you. Hello. What they call technology. So I used to be that type of person that's like, but then I realized that honestly not everybody deserved your reaction
because you don't want to show that bad reflection of yourself because you never know, when you're gonna come across the person again in your later lifestyle. And that was something I learned the hard way because, oh my God, I'm gonna tell you guys a funny story. So I actually went on a date with this guy a long time ago.
I was think I was in high, no. Yeah, I was in university. I rejected the guy and I said he was just be nice guy, very sweet , and I had to dismiss him because he wasn't accommodating for me, so he was just ask too much about my deafness. It was something that I did not like, and so I just said, you know, goodbye.
I wish you best. I didn't have any reaction. Three years later. Not kidding you guys. He interviewed me for a job. Yeah. I was like, that was a good lesson for me to thank God. I had no reaction. Thank God I wasn't angry at him. Thank God I would not give him that reaction, but that should I'm not being, because you just never know when you're gonna come across these people again.
Like my story, and that's when I was done. Thank God. I believe myself, .
[00:39:03] Andrea: Well, going back to what you said earlier, you never know how you're going to leave an impression with somebody else, and it's not about being mean, it's about just being yourself and you. You never know how much of an impression you made just by being there and having this guy date you for however long that was probably left an impression on him as, as.
So you just, you never know how other people are going to. Some people need to be yelled at, let's just say that . , it's not always a problem, right? Like you just never know how other people are gonna take what you say and either hold onto it, right? I've had people say, I remember when you said X, Y, Z long time ago.
I don't even remember. , but for them it left a huge impression. So sometimes just going about your day, living your life, going out on dates is enough to impress people and help them learn. I mean, I don't know if this guy learned, but , hopefully he did . As an author, I know how incredibly scary and also very cathartic and just very hard writing a book can be so.
what made you wanna write this book? How was it writing the book for you?
[00:40:19] Kellina: Honestly, based on question I'm gonna ask, I'm gonna ask a question. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna ask you guys. Okay. Anyway. Anyway, I'm gonna ask question. Okay. So the first question is, have you ever read a book by a deaf author?
[00:40:30] Andrea: I don't know.
[00:40:32] Kellina: Yeah.
See, you don't know. 90% of people that I've met that are hearing never read a book by a deaf author. 90%, and that's where I step in like that. I'm gonna write a book about my story and get my voice out there. Not just for the deaf community, but also for the hearing community to understand that there are so much more people who are different from you and for them to be more open minded and really understand how important it is to make people feel included
and that is something that a lot of us don't see when we reading a book. And that's where I choose to write my story about inclusion, really understanding my thought. Why am I the way I am and truly understand that and that's why I choose to write my book. It's because of that reason. There's not a lot of deaf
authors out there, and it's so sad. It's like why? There's so much more children book than persons who are deaf author. But like, okay, but that didn't match. Right? So that's why I just choose write a book. Second, I love writing my book. It was a little bit challenging because I didn't wanna expose too much to myself and say, okay, I'm gonna say this, I'm gonna say that.
And then I had to make sure it was narrow. I'm a Gemini, so I'm overthink a lot. ,
[00:41:50] Andrea: I'm too, oh my gosh. I'm a fellow Gemini Overthinker. Yay. Totally understand that. .
[00:41:59] Kellina: And I'm like all over the place. So you know, Andrea we're Gemini thinking all over the place. That is how I was. When I find my book, I'm like, ok, this thing cannot go with this cause it doesn't make sense or like,
I had a lot of thought, and I love poetry book, and poetry book is I just love it. It's my favorite thing to read and it's very short, you know, and you can understand the book even more. You can feel the person, you can understand them even more. They wanted to, they, not just the deaf community, but also the hearing community to understand like how we feel, truly understand and be like, wow, Kallina props to you for representing your deaf community.
Let us open more doors for you guys and that was definitely something I want a lot of the hearing communities to understanding when they're reading in the book.
[00:42:50] Andrea: It's very powerful the way it's written. It, I mean it Immediately, I felt like I was in your head and understanding things and seeing things a little bit through your eyes. which is Very powerful. Yay . And I said earlier, like, I don't know if I've read anything by a deaf person, because if an author that I have happened to read was deaf, they didn't say anything in the book.
It wasn't about them. It wasn't about deafness. It wasn't about inclusion. It wasn't about anything. And so, , you're right. I do think it's important because we're talking a lot about inclusion and for the people listening here, my audience, we have a chronic illness or two or three and we have disabilities, or there are people who are loved ones listening, and so we definitely understand inclusion.
but it's almost different every single time. Understanding inclusion for people who can't walk is different than understanding inclusion for people who are hard of hearing or who are blind, right? There's all these different ways, and sometimes it's easier when you have a little bit more of an understanding, but for some of us, like you said, there's not a lot of exposure to people who are hard of hearing, especially who have been hard of hearing their whole lives.
It's a whole new thing to learn about inclusion for people who are hard of hearing.
[00:44:12] Kellina: A hundred percent.
[00:44:13] Andrea: I think it's great. I think it's fantastic. . So here's one thing I wanna ask about. In looking at things like inclusion, and I know it's a conversation, it's a conversation I've had with other people who are disabled in different ways, but there is always.
Debate between when, especially if it's something that you're born with. Is a disability, like in your instance, being hard of hearing, is that something that can be helped, that can have therapies that have things like cochlear implants or is it something that you shouldn't do any of that and you should embrace
the disability, you should embrace the disabled community and you should not do anything. Especially when it comes to like when you're treating kids what do you think about that discussion when it comes to the deaf community and what are your thoughts?
[00:45:04] Kellina: Okay. I can't speak to everybody. I just wanted people to know this is, just my opinion. Okay. Don't get too judge.
[00:45:10] Andrea: We do not judge here at all. .
[00:45:12] Kellina: I would definitely say that just embrace your disability, but also understand what your needs are. That's super important. If you are someone who want to hear, go ahead and get cochlear implants
go ahead and get a hearing aid. Go ahead and learn ASL , but you cannot be living anybody else's opinion. And that's something I learned a lot down the road, especially with clients of mine who feel like they're not more included because they don't know asl and then it's like the other people do and they try to think, oh, they're trying to fit more into the disability community because they know ASL and they didn't, it's just a lot of confusion in the deaf community because a lot of people think that the competition, not competition, but it's like the different terms for different in the deaf community as like, mute, with ASL a hard of hearing, deaf.
But again, everybody opinion is super different. Everybody needs or different than others. I highly recommend a lot of people especially go ahead and get hearing aids cochlear Implant because it's definitely helpful. And I know a lot of people don't like the hearing aids sound in their ears, so I respect that. You prefer not to wear hearing aid, not to wear cochlear implant because you don't like the sound that's totally okay
but we have to respect other people's choices. And that's another thing that a lot of us don't always do. You know, if someone like myself, I don't know ASL l, but you still have to respect me, even though I don't know ASL it doesn't mean that I'm not a deaf person even though I'm speaking with the hearing aid. So I feel like everybody, the decision making is super different from one another.
I would never say don't get hearing aids, don't get cochlear implant. No. Hearing aids and cochlear implant is amazing tool to have because it helps you hear. . And God forbid if you're, I don't know, sleeping and a fire alarm happened, we need to hear. Right? And it's really important that you get access to those tools I know a lot of people don't have access to those tools, but one thing I will say is look at your strength.
Look what you have, understand it. And that's another thing a lot of people don't do or take their time to understand their disability. Understand it. Why is your hearing, like what type of hearing level can I hear so I could help me move them forward? Build that relationship with your audiologist. Your audiologist is your best friend.
I've been telling a lot of people and my client, stick with your audiologist. They're your best friend. My audiologist, my best friend. If I need something, they're there. always, always, always. But I would say, that hearing aid and cochlear implant is an amazing tool to use. If you need it, go for it. And if someone say, oh, do not get cochlear implant cause of surgery, don't listen to them.
At the end of the day, it's your life. and you have to make what's best for you.
[00:47:58] Andrea: I think that's a beautiful message because you're right, it's ultimately the best message is that of not judging other people for their choices or judging other people for their abilities within the disabled community.
I know when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and kind of stepped. That world, that MS Community, what surprised me the most was getting that judgment and sometimes very harsh criticism by other people in the multiple sclerosis community. I couldn't believe it. I was like, wait a second. I thought we were all together.
I thought we were all supportive and it was when I first got in that community, so I didn't quite understand and now I get, it's exactly what you're talking about. It's like we all have different abilities we haul at different disabilities, and we all have different opinions and choices, and it's all about just respecting that with other people.
I think that's the underlying, yeah, the underlying lesson. .
[00:49:02] Kellina: Yeah. It's really true. I feel like it's just people need to respect people's decision no matter what they choose. And yes, we hear things. Yes, we do things different than them. Like at the same time, you have to let people live their life their own way and they will learn their own lesson.
Mm-hmm. . .
[00:49:20] Andrea: So I know there is somebody who is listening or reading the transcript of this episode and are loving what they're hearing and listening to and your words and your message, and they're thinking, you know what? I'm feeling maybe a little bit isolated because they're in a hearing world. I'm feeling a little bit lonely.
I don't know how I. See my confidence or grow my confidence to get to the dreams that I want for myself. I would love to just turn it over to you and let you talk to those people who are listening and give them a pep talk. Give them love , help them realize their dreams.
[00:50:06] Kellina: I'm definitely say that if you're listening, I just want you to take honesty.
Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath. It's okay, I want you to know that you are not meant for everybody in this world. You are not a people pleaser. You are not. But the one thing I do want to say is that I know you may not be comfortable of me saying this word. See if you can talk to a counselor, you know, a therapist or a coach or anything like that.
as long as it's in the professional field. . Find someone you can talk to. Let's say for example, you don't feel comfortable going to a professional, but do you have that one friend you can trust? You can talk to you about everything. If you do have that one friend, go to them, talk to them once a week. Do not kill yourself too much, and I'll tell people, always talk to someone once a week and then slowly down the road talk to two people and then another down the road, three people.
and that's how you build the confidence. And you don't even realize. You're like, I talked to four people in four weeks, and it's mind blowing, but it's always baby steps.. Don't just jump too fast. And I feel like a lot of us do that because we want the end result super fast instead of taking our time. And I also want to say is that, find a book to read.
Always find your hobbies. Hobby definitely helped a lot in terms. . Even if, let's say for example, you like painting, trying to see if there's a group painting activity in your neighborhood, your community, there's so many activities that you can do. I'm pretty sure you have a hobby that you love. Even if a Facebook group, Facebook group is a really good way to meet people now, and I have been at such a, so many Facebook group, then I have imagined and now have a huge community because I understand and meet different people.
Once you get yourself out there slowly, you're gonna see a difference in yourself. But do not rush. And I always tell people that once you rush the end result, it's gonna be ugly. I'm always gonna tell you guys this. I'm always gonna be honest. It's not something you may like, but hey, at least you, are improving at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, it's your life, your decision. But another thing too, I want to say is that you only have one life to live. You really truly do, because let's say if you're dream. . God come to your dreaming that tomorrow's your last day. What are you gonna do? Obviously you're gonna live your life like no.
Tomorrow I'll be like, ok, I'm gonna Mexico . You know, you just never know when tomorrow comes. You always have to live your life to the fullest. Day by day., no matter how much it is, and I truly, truly do believe in here. No matter what you do in life, I want you to know that I have so much love for you and you are loved.
That's my pep talk.
[00:52:59] Andrea: That's an amazing pep talk, . I'm like, keep going, please. . So good. So Kellina, in the show notes, I'm gonna have links to all the places that people can find you and find your book, and they can find a link to that in the description of this episode. But just really quickly, Where can people find you and connect with you?
[00:53:20] Kellina: Definitely. Um, if you can find me, connect with me on social media, which is Def Queen Boss, and you can find my book on Amazon, so you can simply type in Kellina Powell and if you are interested in coaching with me and love what I just said to you, definitely jump into my website,
[00:53:38] Andrea: Fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on and being so open and sharing and being such a good teacher.
[00:53:48] Kellina: Thank you anytime. Thank you.
[00:53:52] Andrea: If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five star rating and review. Follow us on Apple Podcast, Amazon music, or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode, visit Andrea Hansen Thank you for joining me, and until next time, take care.

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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