Video Transcript: Self-belief matters more than other people's doubts

REBECCA-ANNE: Hello. My name is Rebecca-Anne Withey. This is my sign name. I am a performing artist, writer and tutor. I am also profoundly deaf. Growing up, I was diagnosed as deaf at four years old, then as I’ve gotten older, my hearing has gone. Which is fine, I’ve accepted it. But I’ve noticed along the way there’s a lot of memories of things that have really changed me.

One memory I have, I was around 15, at school and with a careers adviser. The woman asked me, “So, your future? What do you want to do? "What do you want to become?” I answered, “Well really, it’s my dream to become a pop star.” She said, “You, a pop star? "Forget it. You’re deaf.” I was stumped. Music was my passion, my escape. I felt it didn’t matter if I was deaf or hearing, I loved music and that was it. But I said, “Well okay, what about... "Becoming an actress?” I loved performing. She answered, “Your voice isn’t strong enough. "You don’t sound hearing. Think of something else.”

I started to think maybe she was right, as at school I was never chosen for the plays. All through mainstream secondary school, I wasn’t picked for anything. So I had a good think and said, “Well I would like to be a dancer.” She said, “A dancer?! "All the jobs you’ve chosen, all three of them "are not suitable for deaf people.” I’ve remembered those words ever since. And now.

For 12 years, I’ve been working as a professional performing artist. I teach sign song with music. I dance. I act. I do all three. Yet she told me I couldn’t. If I could see that careers adviser now, I would like to say a big thank you. Because people who doubt my ability, because they’re so focused and obsessed with my disability - well, they’ve given me the fire and the encouragement to go ahead and achieve my dreams. So thank you for not believing in me, because it helped me to believe in myself. Thank you.

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