Monday, December 27, 2010

"Merry" - sign of the day

So for those reading for the first time or have been out of touch with me and my life over the past 6 years, I am now completely deafened. That means aside from being able to feel vibration, I would have no idea if someone set a bomb off behind me. I have no hearing whatsoever.

While many of you will lament, think that is the worst fate in the world, and pity me I will tell you to NOT! It has been a challenge and there are times of frustration, yet I have learned to be confident with who I am and adapt to a change that has ironically probably made me for the better.

I have definitely learned patience, how to be a better communicator, how to enjoy the visual in the world which is totally surreal to me at times and fascinating (whereas I think a greater percentage of hearing people completely and saddly miss these wonders), to explore imagination more, and to problem solve how to be more productive or utilize my time for my enjoyment/benefit when people are engrossed in chatting away which often is not that important anyhow (perhaps a joke or some blather about weather, the score of a game, or maybe even complaining). My advantage of deafness is being able to filter these things out and concentrate my energy on more important things.

Anyhow, to enhance communication between people (most especially loved ones and those involved in a close relationship with me), it behooves us to use every tool available for communication. While I do not REQUIRE people to learn sign language, those who do make the effort forge a deeper bond with me. Just as I do my best to understand the needs of the hearing - joy of music and dance, need for conversation, sound, adapting to MANY different handwriting styles to read those that prefer to write, and YES bending to try to lip read some and be patient - people who make an effort to sign are in tune with meeting me in the middle on an even playing field. In other words, they care about the relationship enough to also empathize and step out of their role as a hearing person as I have had no choice in the matter. To me that speaks volumes!

No, people do not have to be perfect or fluent. I am not even fluent after signing for over 6 years. I use a form of sign language known as PIDGIN - ASL signs in English grammar format. With my visual impairment, sign also needs to be slow, large, and sometimes repeated for me to fully see the sign intent.

I GREATLY appreciate the effort as it certainly comes in handy for situations where writing does not work out or is not practical (such as outdoors in the NW rain which is quite common, on a walk some place to get exercise where it is irritating to keep stopping to write and read, and situations like eatting when I want to sign to sign someone because my mouth is full. It sure is nice when someone can understand me because I do not have the best handwriting anymore.

Understandably, it can be a challenge to find the time to take a sign language class and to coordinate getting together to practice or learn sign. Therefore, Harley came up with an idea this weekend where I can meet people's needs near or far at the same time and also leave the table open for those who may be interested that I do not even know. So I am going to try it out in the new year.

He thought of me posting a sign of the day which I can also email to those interested in learning/receiving it. That way people who do not have a whole lot of time are not overwhelmed but learning a little bit at a time. I'll try out the sign of the day to see how it works and maybe drop down to sign of the week or every few days.

To get the party started I am going to begin with the sign "Merry" which has relevance to this time of year with BOTH Holidays as the sign "Merry" and "Happy" mean the same thing in sign language. Hence the sign is the same for both words. Tomorrow I will show you "Christmas" so you know how to sign "Merry Christmas" and you also have a head start on "Happy New Year".
Click the above link to play the annimation for the sign "Merry".

hehe I have posted a photo of my trainer/kili teammate Merrie here as her name sounds the same as "Merry". Thought you would like that girlfriend! ;-)

By the way, Merrie does have a name sign and no it is not the same as "Merry". So I guess I am giving you 2 signs for today. Her name is the sign for M moving over the biceps muscle to signify Merrie is a personal trainer at the gym.

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