Tuesday, May 03, 2005

To Be or Not To Be

Sometimes you get an idea to join a group. You have visions of how wonderful it is going to be and you create this whole scenario in your head. Then the sad reality hits of how you do not fit in and you become disappointed. Sometimes you may even feel slightly rejected or brushed off.

This often happens in the life of someone who is late deafened. You have memories of what you were like when you were hearing and how you approached social settings with grace and charisma. Even after losing hearing you think you can still be this way and that people would have more respect or admiration for you having gone through such a trying experience but still come out on top. However, not everybody understands or sees this and you find that it just does not work out.

This is the hardest part I think...........remembering how you once were and knowing that you can be there no longer...........that your life has to change.

I had a friend tell me yesterday that sometimes he was referred to as a "banana" by members of his own ethnic background. He said that sometimes white people do not accept him because of the color of his skin and asian people do not accept him because he is "asian" on the outside but too "white" on the inside.

I told him that I sort of know how that feels. I am no longer hearing so in many ways I do not fit into the hearing way of life and I was not born deaf. Sometimes the Deaf refer to people who are hard of hearing or late deafened as "hearing in the head" if they speak, use assistive listening technology, or live among the hearing and hearing lifestyle. English is my first language and I am not a fluent signer so I do not fit into the Deaf way of life either. I have been very lucky so far by the many Deaf people I have met who have been accepting of me. I try to keep with the people who accept me and want to know me.

However, I could not go to an interpreted performance (play or musical) and understand what an interpreter signs. Both hearing and Deaf could enjoy such a performance but I could not. Likewise, I could not go to a completely Deaf party and follow what is going on due to the speed of their signing and the grammar usage which is different from English. It would be similiar to going to a hearing party. Also, there are hard of hearing groups that I have been turned away from because I am now deaf or that I just don't fit in because everyone else still has hearing and I do not.

Anyhow, it is frustrating to have all this knowledge and experience but to be looked at by some people as stupid or helpless. They don't have to say it. I can read it in their nonverbal body language and facial expressions or how they react to me. That is the one interesting thing that most hearing people are completely unaware of............they speak volumes when they don't speak at all or by the way they are saying something and their use of facial expressions. I can tell when somebody is talking about me in front of my face (but they think I do not know) and I absolutely HATE it! It is so degrading.

Sorry to gripe. I am just still feeling very discouraged about not being accepted anymore in certain circles and activities. Hope all is well with you. :o)


Steven said...

Oh, sister! Do I know that verse you're preaching! Makes me wish we didn't live on the other side of the continent. You could get me to get out and walk with you, and we could yell "WHAT?" to each other while our spouses commiserated. ;)

While I still have some hearing left, social gatherings are frustrating and lonely for me too. I can't read signs (barely remember what signs I learned) and can't follow a conversation among hearing folk. Thank God for my wife, she's so understanding, and I know it's a trial for her.

Anyway, wanted to let you know that you aren't alone in feeling alone.

Oh, my sister in law sent a simple pesto recipe that I'm going to try out tomorrow night. I'll post it if it turns out ok. :)

Angel said...

You belong in MY circle babygirl! Always! You always have and you always will!
For a long time Becky, I thought you were a person that was out of league, but you took me in and made me a part of your family of friends. Well, honey, you are not only a part of my family of friends, but you are a part of my family! I love you and our friendship is here to stay!