I was on my facebook this morning and I came across this note… I love the perspective! A girl that grew up in my neighborhood posted it as a note. She is deaf. She did not write it but was passing along the message.
What is it like to be deaf? Written by a deaf person.
“People have asked me. i have no problem answering or explaining how i lost my hearing. But to explain what it’s like to be deaf? its very Simple: I can’t hear. No, wait… it is much more than that. It is similar to a goldfish in a bowl, Always observing things going on. People talking all the… times. It is like a man on his own island Among foreigners. Isolation is no stranger to me. Relatives and friends say hi and bye But I sit among them for 5 hours trying to be involved. Natural curiosity perks up Upon seeing great laughter, crying, anger. Inquiring only to meet with a “Never mind”, “Nothing” or “Oh, it’s not important”. Seeing them laugh and look at me makes me think they are making fun of my disability when they weren’t.Getting a summarized statement Of the whole day. I’m supposed to smile to show happiness. Little do they know how truly miserable I am trying to understand. People are in control of language usage, I am at loss and really uncomfortable there. Always feeling like an outsider Among the hearing people, Even though it was not their intention. They are always assuming that I am part of them By my physical presence, not understanding The importance of communication. I must make the choices constantly Any wonder why I choose Deaf friends? I get such great pleasure at the Deaf events, Before I realize it, it is already the end of the day. Our language is common we understand each other clearly Being at loss of control Of the environment which is communication we rely on such technology such as smartphones to communicate with hearing people, and yet some People panic and retreat to avoid Deaf people like the plague. But again we Deaf people are still human beings With dreams, desires, and goals sometimes we just feel the need To belong, just like everyone else. That’s how I am Deaf.”
Isn’t that a great description? Have any of you ever felt this way? I have! I am by no means trying to minimize the hardships that come along with this disability, but if you have ever lived in a country where your native language is not spoken, you can relate. The first time I went to Russia, I felt that in some way my personality had been stripped from me. I’ve felt the loneliness. I felt some of what this person described above, but fortunately I could learn the language and join the conversation. The question I would like to pose is do we sometimes put ourselves in a similar situation to the one above by not living up to our full potential? Do we without disabilities force ourselves into isolation and avoid joining the conversation by our own choice? How can we reach out to others who may or may not be disabled and feel these similar feelings? Are there those around us that we judge and avoid? Just some thoughts…to ponder.