Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Susan Lacke, here’s what you should know about Susan…
“I was really nervous about [telling Matt],” she reveals. “So I talked with some friends and some family members and all of them basically said the same thing, which was, who gives a damn? And so I told Matt, and Matt immediately said you need to tell the readers because this is something that’s incredible. The fact that [he] didn’t know it, the readers didn’t know it – nobody knew it – it [was] pretty remarkable. So I wrote the post, [“On Refusing to Settle and the Incredible Power of Denial”] and I had no idea it was going to get the response that it did. It was overwhelmingly positive.”
Part of Susan’s surprise was due to the fact that she was raised as if she had no disability at all. Born with hearing, it wasn’t until she was 2 ½ years old that she became deaf after contracting an unknown virus. Undeterred, her parents brought her up just like any other kid: “normal” schooling, albeit with many years of auditory training and speech therapy. In fact, she never even bothered learning sign language, she says. She just worked really hard at achieving and being an individual, not as someone defined by her lack of hearing.
“[I was] told I could do anything I wanted and I took that way too literally,” she says. “Anything that I wanted to do I at least attempted, and it’s pretty cool to see that kind of support and it really shaped me into the attitude that I have today. So I really don’t say, ‘I can’t do anything.’ I’m going to say, ‘I’ll at least try it.’ Most of the time it works out. Sometimes we have to make adjustments but nothing’s impossible.”
Today that attitude and determination have positioned her in her late-20s as a college professor, writer, and serious athlete, among many other things. For her, her success is due to her ability to always know what’s right for her and to make decisions based on her own individuality. By not necessarily following the most-worn path for a deaf person growing up, Susan was able to overcome her disability by diminishing it as best she could. Being true to oneself is the best advice she could give, she says.
“When I have people ask me, you know, what would you do in the situation if you were put in a really difficult decision, or different circumstance, what would you do,” she says. “And I said it’s not for me to say. That’s your decision to make. . . . Every person has their individuality, they have their own needs, they have their own abilities. And what worked for me isn’t necessarily going to work for the next person.”
Below is the video of Johnny interviewing Susan.
Download audio MP3 file (Right-click and choose “Save Target As…” or “Save File As…”)