Wayne Barrow is a TV Presenter and also a Radio Presenter. Starting his career in radio, he's developed a passion for also working in television. Working his way up the career ladder, he also also shared his love of British Sign Language by using music videos to interpret the music.
PRE WARNING: There is a lot of explicit language in this post.
So life is shit at the moment. There, I said it. It’s shit. There’s no other way of putting it. I kind of feel a bit silly admitting that, but I’ve learnt to talk about things more lately. The worst of it all is that my problems are literally nothing in comparison to other people I have met. I should just shut the fuck up and be a little more grateful for what I have. The problem is, I don’t know how to at the moment.
Before you continue reading, I want to mention that I don’t want this to be all ‘woe is me’ and all that bullshit, I’m just keeping it pretty real and honest right now, and hopefully this will allow me to have somewhere to allow my true feelings to come out.
The biggest thing in my life at the moment is the split with my ex partner. Wow, that felt really weird calling him my ex. What’s worse is he hasn’t actually done anything wrong, which is annoying because I can’t hate him. I can’t get angry at him and I can’t just shout at him and make myself feel better. He’s just been the honest human being he always has been, and I fucking hate that.
On top of this, I have just moved out of Birmingham where all my friends and family are to a place called Worcester, which is really beautiful and I love it here. Part of the reason I chose here was because I wanted my ‘ex’ to fall in love with it too. But I’m here, thankfully it’s only a few miles up the motorway to see my family, so it’s not all that bad. But the way I am at the moment, it feels about 1million times worse.
To top it all off, I’m really unhappy with my own image at the moment, with my weight and my lack of exercise. I hate what I see in the mirror, and I just don’t want to wear any nice clothes because of it. That’s the perfect attitude to have as a single man!
Now I’ve got all that off my chest, I want to get to the real reason I’m writing this post. I know I’m not the only one with struggles, I know we all have our own shit to deal with. But right now I feel like I’m alone in this. Which sounds stupid because I have the most amazing support network around me, who have literally been perfect, so why am I feeling this way? Surely I’m just being stupid?! I know what is going to make me feel better, eating healthy and becoming more active again will boost me so much, but I just don’t have the motivation to do this.
Plus, I don’t have the motivation to work or run any of my businesses, which makes me an awful business man and a horrible boss (I’m sorry team!). Will someone just slap some fucking sense into me so I can get myself back on track to my privileged life that I’m being so whiney about?
I think it might be time to refer back to my own PMA blog post and read it to myself, maybe I’ll have a bit of a reality check then. Let me know if you’ve been in a similar situation, I’d like to know how you dealt with your feelings, selfishly I think it would make me feel a little better.
So I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the term “PMA” before, however it’s something I’ve really trained myself to live by. It’s an abbreviation for Positive Mental Attitude. It’s so important that we all have PMA in our lives, and here’s why.
I truly believe that having the right frame of mind can relieve so much stress and pressure in your life. It is the key to happiness and to be able to focus well in your day to day life. I might be sounding like some spiritualist guru right now, but I’m all for it!
Put it this way. If you are struck down will illness and you really focus on the negatives, what will happen? All of your energy will be that focused on the pain that it will only heighten, because you can’t focus on the good. You’re thinking about how awful it is, when in reality it’s probably not as bad as you imagine. Start focusing on what’s good. Think about how someone else might be in a much worse position, and that your illness is only temporary. Focus on it going, and you’ll generally feel better.
I could probably go on all day with examples of how PMA can have a good impact on your life, but I have to say, it’s had an amazing impact on my life. I try and see the good in things and I feel like I’m a lot happier in myself. Yes, I had a dark period, and can appreciate how hard it is to snap out of that, but little by little I did, and I feel a million times better!
I wanted to share with you a few tips on how you can improve your PMA that really helped me
Have lots of gratitude.
Being grateful of what you have can really help you see things in a more positive light. It might be of material things, it may be for the people you have around you or your own health. The more things you are grateful for, the better your surroundings will become instantly.
Sometimes you have to realise that things aren’t always going to go your way, and you just have to accept that. It might make you feel disappointed for upset for a short period of time, but you’ll eventually move on, pick yourself up and focus on things that are going to bring you joy.
It seems pretty obvious to say this, but being optimistic can bring you a lot more happiness in your life. I know someone who always looks at everything in a negative light, and that person doesn’t seem happy to me at all. I’ve tried to shift my focus on all the positive points. If something bad happens, look at the positives. For example, I’ve recently had a lot of criticism over my work lately, what were the positives? I’ve been able to take on feedback and improve what I do for the better.
Now, I know that sometimes things like this are easier said than done, so one of my main tips is to try baby steps. Find one or two small things everyday to be positive about, and eventually do more and more, until you generally have a PMA. It’s worked for me, and I’m sure it will work for you!
First of all, I’d like to say Happy Sign Language Week! For those who don’t know why we celebrate this week, it is because on 18th March 2003, British Sign Language was finally recognised as a language in its own right. I’m so proud to have such a wonderful and colourful language as part of my heritage.
I wanted to do a little something to celebrate Sign Language week, and one of them is to give away some free classes at Wayne Barrow Academy. I decided to do this as a little treat to you, and a thank you for taking the time to learning some Sign Language with us. “How do you win these free classes?” I hear you ask! Well, look no further.
All you need to do is film a video of yourself with a brand new sign you have learnt this week. It doesn’t matter what the word is, as long as it is something brand new. Explain how you’ve learnt this sign, and upload it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the following two hashtags #SignWithSignature and #WayneBarrowAcademy
Make sure you set your video to public, or we won’t be able to see it! And don’t forget to tag Wayne Barrow Academy in your post too! We will end this competition at the end of this week (Sunday 24th March 2019)
I just want to start this blog off by stating that I know I’ve only recently started to lose my hearing, and this is all really new to me. I’m not coming from the perspective of someone who has been hard of hearing (HoH) for their whole life. This is a journey I am on, and I’m just sharing my experiences with you along the way.
Over the last few months I’ve really noticed my hearing starting to deteriorate, and I’m having to ask people to speak up, face me or repeat what they’ve said. However, yesterday I experienced something that really got me frustrated, and I was already in an annoyed mood before this happened.
To give you a very brief back story, I’d been trying to upgrade my phone with EE, and they had not sent my phone, so they sent me to a store, made me call them up, sent me to another store (you get the hang of how frustrated I was by this point). By the time I got to my final store, I went in and explained the problem. One of the members of staff decided to take me over to sit down and help me with the problem.
Now, this is where I really got my back up. He was mumbling under his breath and not facing me, so I actually said to him “I can’t hear what you’re saying, I have a slight hearing loss, could you speak up please?” and do you think he changed the way he spoke? Of course not!
I was in that store being helped by him for the best part of an hour, and I had to ask him countless times to speak up, and not ONCE did he listen to me. I ended up walking away feeling so annoyed and angry towards EE for so many reasons, but that was the worst one.
However, this has lit a fire under me. As if I didn’t want more deaf awareness and Sign Language taught enough, I want it even more now! It’s unacceptable that people can act like this, even after they’ve been told. I’ve always knows about the barriers my parents have faced over the years, but now I’m beginning to feel the frustrations too. So I’m going to use that negative feeling and turn it into something positive and continue to fight for what I believe in!
It all started when I was a young boy and suffered with Glue Ear. I ended up having grommets in both ears. Then later down the line, as a teenager, I ended up with a perforated eardrum, which then had to be repaired by taking some skin from behind my ear, which was then stitched onto my eardrum. Because of all of this, plus my parents being deaf, I am meant to have hearing tests every year. Fast forward to 2019, it had been 14 years since I last had a hearing test.
In the last few months, a few of my loved ones have been noticing that I have been asking them to repeat what they said a lot more. My other half put it down to ignorance (which wouldn’t surprise me!) However, I started to feel really self conscious about the matter, and tried to hide it as much as I could. I felt like I was being a burden by asking people to repeat. I didn’t want to accept the fact my hearing wasn’t good.
Finally, I arranged to have my first hearing test in over a decade, and was told by the audiologist that my hearing is at a moderate hearing loss, and with that, it will only get worse over time. Eventually I’ll need hearing aids, and it could get worse than that. Initially I felt my heart drop straight into my stomach. I kept thinking ‘I’m not going to be able to hear properly again!’
For days after, I lost a lot of sleep – worrying about the deterioration of my hearing. I kept worrying about the impact it’s going to have on my life. The uncertainty of what is actually going to happen, and when it’s going to happen. All of this was eating up my energy and motivation to do anything. I decided I didn’t want to talk about it, think about it or hear about it. I just wanted to get on with my ‘normal’ day to day life. Ignoring the fact that my hearing was going.
However, in the back of my mind I knew it was there, and I kept asking people to repeat what they were saying, which naturally brought it back to the forefront of my mind. I couldn’t get away from this problem, I decided I had to face it dead on.
Now I have started to come to terms with it, and I have just learnt to accept that eventually I will struggle to hear without any assistance. I am in a much better position than a lot of people, as I already know Sign Language, and I’ve got lots and lots of connections within the Deaf community. I’m not alone in this, I have friends and family who have knowledge in this, and a great support network within this circle. This is a brand new step in my life, and instead of being scared and worried, I have to face this head on and continue to enjoy my life in the meantime.
I’d love to hear about your similar stories, and how you dealt with things. Would you do things differently? Have you got advice for anyone else going through a similar experience? Drop a comment below.
I wanted to take an opportunity to showcase my favourite talent from the deaf community. I follow a number of different people, however I’ve picked my top few for different reasons, and I think you should take a look at their work.
Deafie Blogger, AKA ‘E’, blogs about so many different deaf related topics. One of my favourite things she has worked on is the campaign to get subtitles in the cinemas. She’s worked incredibly hard on this, and I think the more people who get behind her, the better! She’s also recently won a Signature award for all of her efforts in the deaf community, and she fully deserves the credit!
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Chris a few times, and I’ve seen his work with my own eyes. Chris is a deaf dancer, and his style of dancing is really unique and fresh. He’s probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever met too! Pumped with lots of swag and amazing moves – he’s made it onto The Greatest Dancer, which was incredible!
Fletch@ - Anne-Marie Perfect To Me BSL SignSong - YouTube
Where do I start with Fletch? I’ve known about her for years, but finally met her for the first time when we filmed our Sign2Sing video. Her music videos in Sign Language are incredible, she can take music and bring a whole new dimension to it with her signing. I’ve got to know her personally and some of the work that she’s put into her career really inspires me. Especially as I do a lot of signed songs too.
So I’ve reached out to different people to guest blog about their experiences in the deaf world. Wether it’s someone D/deaf with certain views, or someone hearing learning BSL, and I’ve had some great responses, which I will be posting over the next few weeks. This first one is from a lovely girl called Jess, and she is talking about her experiences learning BSL. Enjoy!
Hello, I’m Jess and I’m 25
So my journey started back when I was in college 6/7 years ago, we were simply given a sheet of paper one day which had the BSL alphabet on it, I learnt it off by heart as quick as I could and then I wondered what more I could learn so I started looking into BSL courses around my area… I found some, but I was so scared, so so nervous, I’ve always had a massive self confidence crisis but eventually my mum talked me round and I enrolled onto a BSL level 1 course and that was where my love began, like a spark just clicked!
I powered through my level 1 and 2 and built a really strong relationship with my tutor, who was Deaf, I went to her house for extra practise and she took me to the local Deaf Club in the area so I could get even more practise, it was nerve wracking massively and I ALWAYS doubted my ability but the more I learnt about BSL, Deaf culture and the more I watched people sign the more and more interested and passionate I got.
Before I could start my level 3 I relocated due to work and put BSL on the back burner for a bit, but I missed it so I looked for any level 3 groups near my new home, I found one but it was over an hours drive away but it was worth it, so worth it. I again had a Deaf tutor and she was amazing, so understanding of my lack of confidence, she was always rooting for me!
I then applied for a job working in a Deaf children’s home and amazingly I got it, I was absolutely over the moon… I already worked in care, I worked with young adults with autism and then this came along which bought my love of care and passion for BSL and the Deaf together, I LOVED the job and the wonderful girls I had the pleasure of supporting.
I then decided, just one night to look up Deaf schools around the world and I read about one in South Africa, without even really thinking I just knew I couldn’t let that opportunity pass so I booked with the volunteer agency to go over and volunteer at the school and a month or so later I was on my way, little shy me flying to the other side of the world by myself and I can tell you it is the best thing I’ve EVER done!!
The school was small, primary aged and I worked in the classes that would be years 2 and 3 here, absolutely amazing little children, taught me so much! Learning about their backgrounds and family dynamics, Deafness isn’t very much of a focus in SA and these children were just so brave! South African Sign Language is more similar to ASL but I picked it up and the kids loved helping me, we shared signs, I’d show them the BSL version and they’d teach me the SASL version. A handful of the teachers at the school were Deaf as well and they’re who I clicked with the most, they were just so warm and welcoming, even inviting me to meet their families which was a real honour, I went to a SA Deaf club while I was over there as well, again massively nerve wracking but I was with one of the teachers and he put me at ease! Honestly I could go on and on forever about how amazing it was… I am planning to go back there as soon as I can, and there is also a Deaf school in Nepal that I want to go out too!
When I got home, I took a job in a cafe in the interim of what I wanted to do next and one day we had a Deaf lady come in, the team told me she was a regular so they knew her order without having to communicate with her at all really, I just found that so sad so I made sure I took her drink over to her and actually have a conversation with her, her eyes lit up, she was amazed that someone could finally have a conversation with her and that right there is why I began learning in the first place, so no one ever has to feel isolated… the funny thing being each week after that she came back with more and more friends, knowing they had someone who they’d be able to communicate with really made a difference to them.
I am so proud that I’ve learnt BSL and can be just a little part of integrating the Deaf and hearing worlds, and just learning about Deaf culture and the language in general has been amazing for me and I can’t wait to go on and explore the world on Deaf school at a time, and complete more of my BSL levels!
Something that has been on my bucket list for years is to go and see the Northern Lights. I have always imagined what they would look like in person, and I was so lucky that I got to see them TWICE in just a few months!
You’ve already seen my post about Lapland, and how I saw
them there, however I’ve just returned from my trip to Iceland, and I want to
share some of my top things to do whilst you’re over there.
Visit the Northern Lights (obviously!)
Northern Lights in Iceland
There’s something so majestic about the Northern Lights,
watching them dance around in the sky is just something that you cannot
explain. We weren’t lucky enough to witness the rarer pinks, however what we
did witness was phenomenal.
We took a tour out with Gray Line, where they will take you into the middle of nowhere. You’re cut off from any city lights, and you can see all of the stars in the sky, clearer than you could imagine. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see some shooting stars.
Now, the only downfall is that you aren’t always guaranteed
to see the lights, however what’s great about this tour, is that if you don’t
see them, they will take you back out for FREE! (I suggest you book to see them
on your first night, so you have the time to rebook).Do the Golden Circle Tour
Do the Golden Circle tour
My friend, Jennie, and I visiting the Geysers
During the Golden Circle tour, you will get to see some
amazing sights. Firstly, we were taken to the original Parliament of Iceland.
This is one of the few countries where they can actually set a date as to when
they became a nation. There’s no historical monuments in the area, but the
scenery is beautiful.
You’ll also be taken to see Gullfoss waterfall, which is amazing! We found out that it used to be owned by a farmer, who sold it to the Government which was going to be used for producing electricity, however the farmer’s daughter was so persistent that they should leave the waterfall, that she threatened to commit suicide. The Government soon listened, and they kept it for us all to appreciate.
The final part, which is my favourite, are the Geysers.
Seeing the bubbling water in the ground, knowing that the earth is heating
these up to 100 degrees is insane! You also get to witness the huge spouting
Geyser which really keeps you waiting. You watch, and watch, and watch, then
you suspect it is going to blow. Then it doesn’t. The moment you decide that
it’s taking too long, and you turn your head for one second, that’s the moment
it blows! Just make sure you keep well clear of the boiling hot water!
Iceland is famed for its Blue Lagoon. It really
is a wonderful place to visit. Be sure that you don’t take see through swimwear
like I did (epic fail!).
It is very manic getting into the lagoon
and the changing rooms. You are provided towels, however you can upgrade and
have dressing gowns and slippers provided too (I don’t think it’s worth it).
Once you’ve battled through the hectic
changing rooms, and you’ve found a locker. You have to shower naked, in front
of others (unless you manage to get one of the few cubicles. So I hope if you
go, that you’re body confident.
Once you’re out of there, into your
swimwear, you have two options. You can brave going outdoors into the cold to
enter the water, or you have the chance to enter from the inside. I may sound
mad, but I’d recommend going from the outside, there’s much more satisfaction
feeling the warm water on your skin from the freezing cold air.
Make sure you get your free mud mask and
free drink whilst you’re there. They’re totally worth it!
We didn’t get a chance to go inside of this building,
however we did manage to have a walk around the outside. If you’re into your
architecture, then this is a must see! The images really don’t do the place
Unfortunately, as I didn’t do a tour, or there wasn’t much
information around, I don’t have much to say on this, apart from it’s pretty to
look at. So go and check it out!
Iceland is full of natural phenomenon’s like the tectonic
plates it sits across to the volcanos such as Hekla, which is known as the
gateway to hell.
I’ve never experienced a place like Iceland, and if It’s on
your bucket list, make sure you head over!
We had a lot of feedback saying how expensive it was over
there, but we were very clever. We had bed & breakfast, where we stocked up
on food, and didn’t eat anything until dinner time. If you’re not a big drinker
too, it can also work out cheaper. Overall, for the flights, transfers,
accommodation, tours & spending money, a long weekend totalled up to around
£700. Which I don’t think is too bad – but I suggest you check it out for
If you’ve been before, drop some comments below with your
favourite bits of the country.
Recently on my Facebook page, I shared a video of Rikki Poynter, who is an American YouTuber, that lives with Tinnitus, and she inspired me to share my story on living with it.
If you’ve never heard of tinnitus, it is a sound that you can hear inside of your ear. It can vary from ringing, buzzing or whistling. Some people have mild tinnitus, some people have a stronger sound in their ear. Each form of tinnitus is unique and varies in different people.
I’ve been campaigning for British Sign Language for a while now, but have never shared my own experiences with tinnitus, which in my case does affect my hearing. Does that mean I have hearing loss? I’ll let you decide.
This started from an operation I had when I was younger. I had a perforated eardrum which would not heal itself. The surgeons had to remove a piece of skin behind my ear, and stitch this to my actual eardrum. Tinnitus was just a mere side effect of the operation, and it has lived with me ever since.
My form of tinnitus is a very high pitched squeal, and is continuous. I’ve tried to find a YouTube video to help you gauge the idea of what it sounds like, and the closest video I could find is a dog deterrent. (Sorry!)
Powerfull High Pitch Sound To Keep Away Dogs, Mice, Cats - YouTube
The squealing gets much louder in a quieter room, and it’s hard to take your concentration off the sound. I’m sat in my room, with no background noise, and it’s super loud at the moment. However, background noises can really help drown out the sound of my tinnitus.
One of my main struggles is getting to sleep with the noise, so I cope by using the TV to help drown out the sound. I like to watch something that is really easy, and I don’t need to think about. Friends is my go to choice, as I can literally quote every line from every scene and every episode. (Judge me all you like, I’m a BIG Friends fan)
Another daily struggle, is actually having conversations with people. Ask anybody who knows me well, the amount of times I have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said is crazy! It was only recently, I realised how much I rely on lipreading myself. I was talking to my friend without my glasses or contact lenses, and I couldn’t see what they were saying. Then it hit me just how much I used lip reading as a tool.
Maybe there is some form of hearing loss in there too? I don’t know. I haven’t had a hearing test in years (please don’t hate me for that!) but all I do know is that I rely on lip reading a lot more than I realised, and it actually surprised me!
So there you have it! Those are my experiences of living with tinnitus. I haven’t covered every aspect of it, however if you’d like to know a bit more. Feel free to drop me a question below, and I’ll reply to your comment.
On the surface, I am strong, independent, confident and give no f@£ks about what other people think of me. But start to scratch down to the inside, and you’ll find a very different person. For me, this is another topic I have never discussed with anyone before, so please bare with me as it does make me feel very vulnerable.
Okay, so you may have read my previous blog discussing all the stares that we had because of using Sign Language with my parents. I’m afraid, it doesn’t stop there. I think it’s been so instilled in me that people are always watching and judging.
Here’s a perfect example. I’m currently sat at my local train station waiting to get into the city centre to do all of my Christmas shopping (yay!), and I’m on the platform with a few other people. They may not be looking at me, they may be. I have no idea. But the anxiety bubbling away inside of me feels like I’m constantly being judged. Is there something on my face? Stuck to my back? Did I not zip up my jeans? They are looking and secretly laughing at something.
Clearly, they aren’t. These are all the scenarios going around in my head. The strangest thing is, this only ever happens when I’m alone. I guess when others are with me, I have the distractions from my thoughts, and completely forget about everyone else around me.
Is it normal to feel like this? In a society where mental health is now the forefront of everyone’s minds, it feels a little more acceptable to talk about feelings and emotions. But I’ve never heard of anyone feeling the same way as me. Am I just different? Is there something wrong with me? Please shed some light on this situation as I have no idea how to deal with it.
(I promise I will put in some more light hearted stuff on here soon!)