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And a partridge…

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And a partridge…

As this holiday season wraps us in its unruly reins, I am in constant battle between nostalgia and melancholy. Between commercials with couples kissing each other and ACUTUAL couples kissing each other, I find my wandering mind weaving its way back to old memories. To the faces and situations that have shaped me since the beginning of my youth. To situations that have plagued me but also grown me, hindered and then helped me become that woman I am today.

So.

To 6 former lovers and the special one to come:

Over the past six years I’ve learned and grown quite a bit. At least I’d like to think so. Each one of you has played a role in that growth, in that evolution of my mind and spirit. And for the one to come, I only hope I’m ready for our adventure when it comes.

To Chris:

Our relationship was anything but ordinary. I, the young lamb unlearned and eager. You, the tail in the tall grass waiting. I won’t get into what happened between us. It is the past of someone I have killed. She was too weak, too unknowing. Too delicate for her own good. I use her now as a jumping block, anger welling up, protective instincts emerging. She was a clown, a pawn, and a puppet to your whim, but it was ill spent. That mistake has not been remade. And it will die in my clutches. I will take it to my grave. The hurt you caused is a sore to my side and I gladly keep it open, so as not to ever forget what fear and anguish can do to you. To never forget the injustices that were done. You taught me a lot about how precious innocence is and how protective of it we must be as role models and parents. It taught me how to speak to those girls and guys who’ve had their innocence stolen. You opened my eyes to how notions and presumptions and judgments won’t stop you from becoming exactly what you looked down on about others. But it can, however, give you the courage and equipment to step up above with new eyes. You gave me courage in our strife to be who I needed to be all along. To fight. For our son and myself. I was there after you got that scar on your eyebrow from the living room table. I was there when you got strep, when you quit on school, when I told you not to go to her party and you got arrested. I was there when you cried because we got the news. I was there. You taught me a lot about the real world and growing up. About what it is to love someone with force and unconditional blindness. And also when it may be time to let go, to be aware of traps and make decisions about what I’ll tolerate in my life. You taught me strength.You taught me sacrifice.

To Matt:

You came in our adulthood at a point in my life that was full of turmoil. I’m always going to wonder what would have happened if I’d have chosen you first instead, that night of ninjas and the corner booth in a restaurant I now inhabit weekly. You taught me about unconditional love. About a fierce love that attempts to overcome and stays despite pushing. You taught me about selfishness and selflessness. About easy love, and the smooth banter of two people who fell into comfortable knowing. I may never know how you feel or felt, but I always felt safe, and wanted, and my best self in the moments we shared. Even if afterwards I fell into uncertainty. You taught me how real those stories from women truly were, about hurt and internal devastation. You taught me how empty unrequited love can feel and how it can make a person seem crazy. But you also taught me the importance of always being true to yourself and speaking your mind, and not being afraid. You have taught me what fear looks like, and how it often disguises itself in many ways. You taught me that men can be just as fragile and scared as women, if not more in an evolving age of rights. You taught me that people don’t change. You taught me about finding yourself, and listening to the wisdom of our elders, and discernment. You taught me the value of myself, even without trying, as I slowly came into my own and decided for myself what was important. I grew in you to know the value of wanting something so deeply but choosing something more important for the future. You taught me love. You taught me foresight.

To J:

We were a short jig in the dance of life. People thrown together by chance instead of choice. It was gravity between us, but the kind that implodes on itself. A supernova. And no one can live there. There are still secrets that lie like rugs, covering up what would be a normalcy in this town of whisper. But it will be many years before you even may have the chance of understanding them. You inadvertently taught me things I can never unlearn, and in some other ways will always be grateful for discovering. You were my pretend, a distraction to cover up the deep longing for another that I couldn’t grasp fully. I needed to feel loved and for a time I convinced myself that lust counted in some way towards that. But alas, it didn’t and therefore I couldn’t stay. I know you wanted things to last, to continue on and flourish. But it was a darkness I couldn’t go back to greet. You taught me how love can make you hurt so badly that you become desperate for the wrong things. I learned how dark the hole and aching can get that you find yourself in all the wrong places. The deeper I went in that hole, the more hopeless I felt. It’s taken a couple years to feel like I’m distanced from it now, but it was a relief to also know that I wasn’t happy there still when I was given chances to go back. You taught me how important self control is. How important it is to take responsibility for your actions and what you do to others. I learned how easily one can give up on what’s important, and how to tell what is important to some people. I learned about family and loyalty. I learned about how blind you can become, to the point you’ll accept anything as long as it’s what you want to hear. You taught me self-control. You taught me decisiveness.

To AJ:

You were there for me when I needed someone the most. A time when I was trying to escape what I thought I couldn’t. You gave me courage and a hand up from the pit in which I was stuck. Slowly, we grew into each other, limbs from vines living too closely. But they tangled. And I was the stronger vine. I always knew what would happen really. I saw it from miles off like a storm you know is coming. But I had fallen in love with our closeness and your spirit. But you can always think a storm is beautiful from far off, until it gets close and tears down your house. Just as you were there for me in that important time before, you abandoned me in the next. A time when self-preservation meant more to you than I did. When your own desires overwhelmed who I thought you were. You became the mirror from which my First stared back at me, a beast of nightmare and pain. You looked less intimidating, but oh the power you held. You taught me to delineate in life what is important and stick to it. To always be true to what you have built yourself to be according to those that matter. You taught me that money can’t solve everything, it only brings out the fear in people. You taught me that love should be based on friendship, but not all friendships can turn into love. You taught me the importance of deciding where you are going and not listening to anymore more than you listen to your own heart. You taught me that looks don’t make the person, their actions do. You taught me to paint wildly, but always give what belongs to others to them. You taught me about smell, and nostalgia, and that filling gaps with comfort and what you know isn’t always the best idea. You taught me trueness. You taught me steadiness.

To Noel:

I’m sorry things turned out the way they did. I hurt you and for that I’m sorry. I got to see the other side of the coin, from the angle of my tormentors. And in that moment I hated myself for it. I understood how easily one can turn to the other side without even meaning to do it. The truth is, with you I also knew. I knew from the start you couldn’t hold me. I was a wolf straining at the lead for open ground and trees and sky. You were the root that digs deep and gets stuck. I was red and you were tan. We were opposites in that way. Destined to misunderstand each other. I saw our life. I saw a vision of it in your eyes that first night. We wouldn’t have fought much, but I couldn’t find the passion in there either. I found safety in you. A calm that cascaded over me, a joy and a revelation for things found. But it wasn’t enough to satisfy the life that wanted to escape from my limbs and create. You were agreeable, but sometimes I wanted a loving disagreement. I wanted things you couldn’t understand, and didn’t want things you also couldn’t understand. I wasn’t in love. With you, I missed the one I loved more from the silence that the calm brought. And when I chose David, he drowned out those whimperings my heart made for the one I really wanted. So I chose him. And I’m sorry for the way I did it. Thank you for teaching me. I learned about myself in those days. I learned about staying true to myself. About how much more it can hurt to use someone, but how you can drown out that feeling too if you’re not careful. I learned what it was to feel like someone was thinking just about me, and how much I needed that and not to settle for less. I learned how important growing up is, and how love doesn’t always grow with you. I learned how scared you can get to live, and how that can trample your dreams. I learned that I can’t let it. You taught me that being grown up is a skill and not a gifting, so we must keep trying to be our best. I learned to never stop fighting for anything that’s important. You taught me that life is unpredictable, but the pools of life are small. You taught me to choose carefully. You taught me bravery.

To David:

Our time was very short. But in that time I became so wrapped up in everything I forgot myself. I forgot to be myself, and forgot that I should never apologize for who I am or for my past. I was so enamored with the presenting of yourself. How we clicked and lined up on many levels. And I fell so quickly, I didn’t expect to hit the ground with all the suddenness of a train. I have grown so much since my days at 20 and 21. I have been forced to grow and mature and be less fickle with some things, because I had little people depending on me and my choices. At this stage I suppose I just couldn’t be as giddy and impressed as I might have been five years ago. I wanted to be what you wanted, oh how I did. But that didn’t work out too well. You taught me a lot nonetheless. With new experiences and new feelings I hadn’t explored before. With you I learned how important family is, and how we should all treat each other with kindness. How I should always seek to be close with my family and tell them I love them. I learned I can’t cook bacon, though I might try now and again, but that maybe I just don’t want to be good at it. I learned how one moment can change your life, just when you think the whole thing has turned gray. I learned that you can’t buy maturity and the joy of having someone the same as you. I learned that you should never give up on your dreams, but that taking life so seriously doesn’t have to be a requirement. You taught me that bravado is everything and will at least get you in the door when you try. You taught me that nothing substitutes for one’s own initiative, especially not the initiative of others. I learned how badly words can hurt and damage you. You taught that all the apples fall close to home most of the time. You taught me that I could love someone and be excited for the future again. You also taught me how important it is to know yourself and your own timing, so that you don’t hurt others because you weren’t ready. You taught me hope. You taught me “to know thyself”.

To the special one yet to come:

Hello again, darling. I miss you terribly. I see you in so many other people that I meet and I can’t help but wish you were here. All these people before you, they have lead up to this point for us. I have learned a great deal and much more that I didn’t write. I hope the timing is soon, that I can stop watching everyone else move forward while I stand still. I’m trying to grow myself. To learn and work and play and find. I’m trying to be more than I was each day. I see how sad people in this life are, how they are just human like me. I can bark and howl and growl at how people are and wish them ill in that moment, but I have also seen the devastation they can face in their hearts. Unseen. Unknown to others. I see it and I pity them, I feel a deep sadness for their emptiness. It gets hard to wait some days. It would be easy to reach out and have whatever I want. But I want it to be right more than anything. And I won’t settle for less. So, hurry along if you can. My fingers long to stroke your shoulders. My legs to entangle against yours. The sweep of hands against coat tails and scarves that hang about our hips on a blustery day. The swish of my dress against your pant leg. My hair in your eyes, deep like a shining pond. The warmth of our laughter watching a movie late at night. Our billowing breath in the night air, Orion standing above us with the moon. Your sun-drenched skin. The dip of your neck that I rest within. The smell of books and the fire between us. This. This and so much more. Every moment. Everyday. Every minute that escapes my lips as I speak a name without form. A name called Love. I’m waiting for you, dear one. For the right time. For that free banter. For those new experiences. For the calm. For the stars imploding. For friendship. For innocence gained.

I love you.

Goodnight.

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Silent Growing

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Silent Growing

 

 

 

 

 

Two girls

in a darkened wood

their silken skin close

glowing,

mirrored a pale moon.

Thier eyes search.

 

They weaved

through trees familiar

summer hair awash

glowing,

their bare feet touching

the warm earth.

 

Four eyes

watch from a distance

patient and unwavering

glowing,

their fears and their loves

howling in night.

 

Blossom,

hearts within bloomed free

beautiful and fair

glowing,

wildflower symmetry

they found home.

 

One moon,

sailing a horizon

of ultramarine,

glowing,

guiding like a hope

high above.

 

They stood,

arms linked, writing

upon their open hearts

glowing,

shared thoughts and travels;

a chronicle.

 

Two songs,

becoming as one

a slow, blatant melody

glowing,

changing in its depth

a silent growing.

 

Two hands,

Two hearts,

Two bodies,

One soul

found Home.

.~~*

This poem is for my sister, on her birthday, and based off a drawing I did. Sorry I’m late, sis. I love you. Keep strong.

What Is Love?

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What Is Love?

So, I haven’t posted in a while. Partially because of the time of the year being full of working and birthdays and tasks left undone. The other part because I’ve been in a bit of an emotional slump lately. Half exhaustion, half more exhaustion. Plus, four percent loneliness for flavoring. That’s a hundred and four percent, kids.

So, I’ll write about something that’s been on my mind lately.

 

Love.

What is love?

How can we tell if someone feels strongly for us?

Are there factors, like symptoms, that show up?

With the great diversity of people, is the show of affection also supposed to fluctuate, or is the expression “Love” universal?

And if it is expressed differently, then how much fluctuation can we hack up to differences, and how much are clues that they don’t really love you?

How soon does love show up? Is it grown, like a garden; taking years to surface? Or is it bright and sudden?

I guess there are questions to ask yourself at some point. Questions that need answers or else sit like coils of snakes on the front porch of your conscience. Do we really not know the answers? Or are we somehow fooling ourselves? When you finally realize what happened, are you realizing what you knew all along? Or are you only acknowledging what should have been or what is right?

It’s never good to feel expendable. It’s never good to feel alone when you stand next to someone. It’s never good when they push you away for convenience and pride’s sake, making you feel disrespected and unappreciated. Is it real if you really never knew each other?  And if you never really did, was it worth it? Is it worth it to stay, to try? Or are you compromising? The truth is, it leaves you feeling cheated. The truth is, there seems to be no clear answer.

So, what is love, then?

Is it real? How many of us have experienced something so strong and real that it lasts and is more beautiful with every passing day? Somewhere between divorce and singularity, is there something good?

I can’t say whether I have experienced true love or not. At least romantically. I’m young and especially inexperienced because I was a late bloomer. I’ve experienced parental love, in both directions as now I am a mom.  I’ve experienced infatuation and obsession. I’ve experienced brotherly love. I’ve experienced unconditional love. But romantic love, I’m not sure. True love in that sense, no.

If it had been true, wouldn’t it have lasted? Wouldn’t it have worked out? Wouldn’t things be different?

What if I could take a picture of what my perfect love looked like; What would I see?

To me, I care about the little things. I don’t need a lot. I don’t need things or places or excitement 24/7. I’m happy sitting in the park and laughing as night blankets the grass, or read curled up in someone’s lap. I crave and savor the small moments. A quiet moment watching the fire, a walk in the woods, an early morning kiss. I want someone who’s easy-going like me. Someone who enjoys laughing, the movies, and books.

*Can he know my favorite movies? My favorite lines?*

I want someone who is family centered and caring.

*Can you love my son, just because he’s part of me?*

Someone who likes long road trips with lots of stops and taking pictures (whether we get a good shot or a funny one).

*Can we be adventurous together?*

Someone who enjoys history and music, singing out the windows of the car.

*Can he know my favorite songs? Can he dance with me and make me forget where I am? *

I want someone who wants to protect me.

*Just cause I act strong, doesn’t mean I am. *

I want someone who sees that, someone I don’t have to hide from. Someone I don’t have to tell, someone who knows.

*Can he care about me and how tired I am, just as I would him? Can he inspire me? Can he give me peace of mind and ease my sorrows? *

I just want someone to know me I guess.

I want someone to want to know ME.

Really know me.

Maybe right now all I have are questions with no answers and a dream of what I would want, but that’ll have to be enough for tonight. Maybe some people think I’m crazy, reaching for the impossible. But the way I see it, if you’re going to dream, do it right. Dream big. Dream gigantic. Dream the ultimate dream.

For now, I’m tired. Hopefully I’ll get past this literary atrophy and back to my old writing self soon.

Goodnight all.

 

May summer come swiftly on golden wings.

 

I’m waiting for the sun.

With Night

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With Night

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Darkness

Hello Night

Where have you been?

Off stealing light?

What secrets do your lips ensnare,

Or moments tangle in your stare?

Do you know my secret thoughts,

That play together like slipping knots?

White teeth flash, out of reach

A laughter felt like vulgar speech.

Inky tendrils encompass me,

And call me to a blackened sea.

The siren wail. I crash ashore.

You liven limbs, once broke and sore.

My eyes alight, I dance in the dark

a heartbeat striking like ember sparks.

My limbs reacting to your melody,

as you move in close saying, “come with me,”

“I’ll take you to a place called home,

“where Midnight shouts and Dusk still roams.

“You can hold the sweet moonlight

“and the gloom will bathe you with delight.

“So take my hand, we’ll fly away

“upon twilight wings, beyond the fray.

“I’ll twine my fingers in your hair,

“and we’ll wrap ourselves in the evening air.

“Warm and sheltered by a shadow’s expanse,

“woven in an eventide trance.”

And so, I took the soft starlight,

like a velvet blanket, I pulled it tight.

And dove into the endless Night,

until the dawn rose, mauve and bright.

Animal

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Animal

 

 

 

 

 

Heart sang

a tightened drum

willow strands of melody

whispering, rising, pausing

struck by Love’s affected beauty..

hot like irons

animal.

 

His scent

a summer’s breath

sand bleached by sun

singing, tickling, caressing

A breeze adverse to his steel gaze..

hot like irons

animal.

 

Chest rising

a beast within

wolf baying, set aflame

sharpening, curling, gnashing

desire within, her hunger unsated..

hot like irons

animal.

 

Silent pause

flash of white

the hunt comes, a triumph

biting, scratching, consuming

sweet flesh peeling free of separate skin..

hot like irons

animal.

Hello My Other Half..Whoever You Are..Vol. 3

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Hello My Other Half..Whoever You Are..Vol. 3

Dear You,

Today I am sick with the flu.

Today I wished you were here. I wanted you to cuddle me, to make me stay in bed. I wanted to just bask in midafternoon, my face tingling and you brushing my hair away from my face or reading aloud from a favorite book. I needed you to tickle me and tell me bad jokes because laughter, after all, is the best medicine. I needed you to point out my favorite characters and tell me things I never told anyone, things you know because you truly know me.

I dreamed of you the other night. I can’t remember your face; I teased you as we cooked in the kitchen, getting lost in the confines of the house. I watched The Vow the other night without you. I was doing okay, imagining that you were somewhere on the brim of my vision, until the part where he played the guitar. I turned my head abruptly to find you not there and a girl crying beside me instead. I wondered what you would have said. I wondered if you would have whispered in my ear, “I had that moment. I had that moment with you. It’s imprinted upon my very soul. I am always there in that moment with you”. Truthfully, I cried. I was doing okay until that moment. I cried because I am in that moment with you, now. If there is no time in our love, I am there with you now and forever. We’re always there. We’re always together.

I miss you lately.

But somehow it’s changed.

I’ve changed.

I don’t miss you with a hunger. I don’t miss you in my desperation for completeness. I still feel that hollow, but somehow I’m eased. I know you’re coming. I know you’re out there. And everyday I push away what people have said, do, and will say. I push them away because they don’t know. They can’t comprehend me. I just listen. I listen and grow myself. I listen to the pulse of life and love and Him. I listen because the howl in my chest cannot fill me. If I want you, I must work on me; So that I’m ready when you show up.

I must let it come. Like ocean waves, like the breeze, like the sun pushing its way over the horizon. We may yearn for the golden summer whist the cold fingers of winter grip our bones; we may yearn for its embrace but we wait in quiet anticipation.

I have come to that place of patient waiting, a face at the window watching the snow come down. Perhaps it’s just a reprieve. A short stint of relief for my heart.

I walk around and search for you, hoping to be lit up; hoping to be understood; hoping for the music to stop and time to freeze. I step outside into the moonlight and I wonder about you. What color is your hair? How would it look in that luminous ethereal light? With your eyes staring at me hungrily, bright and fiery?

Will you count the stars with me? Hold my hand, breathe deep, let go.

Will you understand my obsessions, my moments of therianthropic thoughts? My poems of the moon and desire to get lost in the fields of Tuscany? My ramblings of Paris and when the characters in my writing and art come alive?

In my mind today, you stepped into the shower with me. Our bodies slick, hands smoothing the water off my face and arms around your back. We stayed too long, steam trapped and stretching itself across the mirror. In my mind today, we curled up in a blanket with my hair still wet, where I listened to your heartbeat and it drummed me into sleep. In my mind today, you kissed me softly to wake me up. You took The Kid into the other room and played with him where I could hear, and I smiled a knowing smile to myself. We walked down the street, an azure sky sprawling above us, hugging each other’s contours, moving as one. You held my face as you kissed me, snowflakes melting on my warmed cheeks, pressing tightly against you; and I didn’t pull away. You held me for 20 minutes flat, without trying to do anything. You were just holding me, loving me, wanting me to know you were here always.

I’m still here. Praying for you. Praying you find yourself, under the blanket of monotonous distractions our age group slides through the motions within. Praying that you are happy, experiencing and learning. Praying you know how amazing and beautiful you are. Praying that you are seeking and discovering. I’m praying your heart is touched and open.

Just love, baby. Love people and life and Him. Love adventure and nuance. Love being where you are and who He has made you. Love yourself.

I love you.

I’m here.

I’m waiting.

Come home.

Love, Me.

Deaf Culture and the Beauty of ASL

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Deaf Culture and the Beauty of ASL

So, I know it may be so cliché to say this, but…I love ASL.

Okay, all deaf people and translators…you may now begin to rant about how much you hate “my kind”.

But I won’t apologize for how I am.

I love it. I love the language. It’s language that you can touch. It’s moving and alive and ever morphing. It’s honest and real. It’s beautiful.

My mom used to be in a “music” group where they signed. She’s not deaf, but the teacher was very supportive of their learning and their hearts seemed to all synchronize as one. I used to watch the videos of them in wonder. A language at my fingertips. Little “me” was enthralled. The performances were touching, a song you sang with your body.

So, in college I took a basic American Sign Language class. I fell in love. I’ve always been in love with languages, the small intricacies; each having their own delicate way of expressing a common thought within a unique truth. American Sign took this to another level. When we think of countries, we perceive a certain language. Americans speak English (of course, we have recently been suggested to have a language of our own. I’m inclined to agree), Spaniards speak Spanish, Russians speak Russian, and the French speak, well, French. But woven within our so-called English is Sign Language. It’s still English but with a world and a nature all its own.

So, I took the class. I enjoyed it greatly, much to the chagrin of my teacher. She was a deaf translator for the area and she HATED hearing people. She would cut us down and tell us how stupid we were, treating us like children who aren’t allowed to touch glass figurines. I was very put off. I was readily prepared to have a good time in the class, and doubly prepared to always be respectful for not only her teaching and expertise, but the deaf community as a whole. She was combative and abrasive. In general, I like to believe I’m a sweet-natured individual. I don’t have many altercations with people in public. But she and I butted heads.

I’ve never been a biased or racist person. I think each person deserves the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate. They should be judged on who they are, not their skin color or personal situation. But she treated me like a criminal, though I had not yet committed a crime.

I struggled with sight growing up (as if I need to reiterate. You guys have been getting quite a bit of my personal story and struggles lately). Blindness (or virtual blindness) kicks you in the butt when you’re down. You act like it’s no biggee. Like it’s not a hinderance. But the truth is, it’s a little scary. I sometimes am faced with the reality that if I ever lost my glasses somewhere or broke them, I would be helpless and at the mercy of whoever happened to be around. I could really hurt myself, or worse. Someone else could hurt me. I am faced with the reality that I am, at any moment, not only a sitting duck but a plucked blindfolded one-legged duck. If not for my faith, I’d be more worried.

I can’t imagine being deaf. I won’t presume to know what goes through people’s minds; what strengths or weaknesses they perceive that their own situation brings them. But, I guess I simply realize what it might mean to be on mute in a world of sound. Especially when I myself could be out-of-focus in a world of motion at any time, lost in a dubious pool of colors. I can’t imagine not hearing the sirens of an ambulance; the orders of a cop. And on top of it, the rude people barking at you like you’re stupid just because you’re different. I can’t understand it. It’s almost like they’re too functional.

I suppose I love deaf culture and ASL because, well, I couldn’t see. I understood how my own body worked. I knew how to get attention or communicate distress. I could trust my own body, it was others I didn’t understand. When little “me” watched my mother perform those songs, I realized that words could be motion too. That, though I didn’t understand American Sign anymore than the non-verbal cues I was foreign to, words could be physical. That they could be understood, like a language. Maybe  this non-verbal thing wouldn’t be so hard.

Community.

I get frustrated with the deaf community at times. I love the language and the way the deaf community interacts. But too often I find myself faced with the statement “We’re not all that different. Why can’t you see”. I’m boggled by this. It’s something I would expect someone to say about the difference between wolf packs and families; we aren’t all that different. Both groups have leaders who rule over the family and pups who are raised with love and care. Wolves, much more like humans than other species, ‘mate for life’. Not about two different languages. Please, come on. We’re all humans here, right? Why can’t we just put all that aside. I’m not that different. I watch movies and hang out with my friends. I have struggles and heartache. I feel love and pain and joy. Fundamentally, we’re the same. Why must we segregate ourselves?

Even with their own, I have the perception that deaf people can be harsh (of course, this is an outside opinion gained only from watching people in action and hearing stories from others. I’m more than happy to be wrong). They are such a tight-knit group that they don’t want any integration of the world. I get it, but then, I don’t. I always get this picture of the Amish when I think about it. In a land where everyone is shoe-less, the dude who gets shoes is shunned. You don’t need shoes..true. But maybe the dude just wants a pair of rain boots. I can’t understand. Each person has their own limits, their own extent of what they want or are willing to take. If the kid wants to talk on tv or get an implant, it doesn’t mean he hates being deaf or isn’t proud of who he is..right? I mean, if tomorrow I go and get lasik surgery to fix my eyes, does that make me any less “me”? Any less proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished? Does it make me less strong? I’m frustrated that I don’t understand and that no one is willing to explain to me. But, I’m a very easy-going person, open to people and how they feel; Accepting of where people are, even if it’s not where I wish they were. But that’s just me.

It’s also amazing to me the struggle that comes with mentally grasping having a hearing child. There was a woman who came to speak to the class while I was in college. She had three deaf children. Her husband and herself were also both deaf. She had a baby while we were still having the class, and so one day she came in to “speak”. She talked about what it meant to have a hearing child now. That she still loved the baby but she struggled with it. It wasn’t deaf. All her friends were deaf. Her family. Her community. And here, this tiny baby was shaking everything up. You could tell she had struggled with the disappointment that her child was not like the rest of her family. But, more importantly, you could tell that she loved the new addition. They were making changes for it. She had to adapt her music volume. Deaf people listen to music VERY loudly because they “feel” the music. With a hearing baby around, she had to watch the decibel. She had to begin to become aware of how loud her kids were being. Deaf children are like any other children, they bang things around and play and stomp and have fun. They act like kids. But they can’t hear themselves and their parents can’t hear them, so they have no reason to be aware of how loud they are. My mom scolded us if we were too loud, what if she couldn’t even hear us? She commented that it was a change for the other three kids as well, considering that they now had to learn to be more quiet for when the baby was sleeping and such.

I had mixed feelings about her visit. I couldn’t comprehend how she could be disappointed the baby wasn’t deaf. I understood in some part, that she would want the best for her kids and that it would be harder to be the only one hearing. But at the same time I didn’t understand. I would love and be grateful for my kid even if he was deaf. Deaf changes nothing. He’s still mine and he’s still wonderful and it’s still my honor to teach him about being a respectable man. But I also marveled at her courage and desire to change. She still wanted the best for her kid, and loved it. No matter what, she was still a mom. We weren’t that different.

After halfway through the semester, I was dying to go out and meet people in the deaf community. I wanted to learn their stories and understand their feelings about the world. I wished to know their opinions and the depth of their character. First, I wanted to be an interpreter. But with my teacher being so brash, it kinda smooshed my hopes. Then I went through a stage where I wished I was deaf. I figured it would be better. To be muted of the world’s noise. But, we all must find the joy of being ourselves. I realized I would miss music and its flowing symmetry, like water over river rocks. I’d miss metaphor and listening to the throaty call of wolves in the distance calling to sister moon.

I met one or two deaf people who were happy and friendly and willing to interact with me. We had a dinner and they were patient to teach me signs I didn’t know and talk to me so that I could get used to seeing the language in action. They made my experience all the better.

Thank you for that. I love that you had the patience to sit down and converse with me. I love that you didn’t scoff or laugh at me. I love that you looked into my eager, bright eyes and saw that I was genuine and barely containing my energy and joy of being there at that moment. Thank you. You were more of a blessing than you know. You helped ease that ache in my heart. You touched my life. Even for just those few hours you gave.

But, I also met people who were rude towards me. They looked down on me and scorned my mistakes. They talked openly about how stupid I was. How foolish to try to speak their language. How ridiculous that I should think myself ever able to comprehend. I was deficient in their eyes. Lacking. And my chest tightened. I was discouraged and suddenly self-conscious about my signing. So, I just shut up and sat there and watched, sitting on my hands.

I don’t understand it. Not a day in my life have I been a bigot. Not once in my life have I felt someone was stupid because they didn’t know my language and therefore couldn’t understand me. Not once did I treat someone I didn’t know like that.

More often than not, when I’m talking to people about ASL and deaf people, I find that hearing people are just curious. And I’m patient in correcting them. I think the most asked question is “Can deaf people drive?”. For people who can hear, it’s a valid question. After all, we’re not technically legally allowed to wear headphones when we drive. So, they’re curious. They give me wild looks as they ask all sorts of questions.  People, I find, are really just afraid to ask. I feel a sort of responsibility to gently answer their questions. Ignorance is definitely not bliss. They should know so that they can be enlightened. What they do beyond that is their own choice.

I feel like there is such a large wall in front of me. I’m in love with a hands-on language. A language others try to keep me from touching. I need to watch people to learn it. I need to be able to involve myself.

But I can’t.

They don’t like me. They don’t want me in their communities and culture watching them. They want me to disappear, my imperfect ears and all. Meanwhile, I just want to learn. I just want to break the barrier. I just want to know their beauty.

I practice my signing where I can. While I’m watching TV, or while people talk. While I listen to music. I get lost in thought about deaf culture and signing. I have a passion for it that’s currently unquenched (partially just because I’m so tired all the time), and it is frustrating when I forget signs because I don’t use them often enough. For a while I just wanted to quit. I felt blocked and dejected in relation to signing. But I try, and I suppose that’s all anyone can ask for.

If anyone is looking for a cute show involving ASL and some issues in deaf culture and interactions between deaf and hearing people, I highly recommend “Switched at Birth”. It’s a little tv show, great for watching people sign. My favorite character is Emmett, who is actually deaf in real life and even gave an interview for the show. Made my day! I realize that some people might find it offensive or a little corny, but hey I’m all about the corn.

So, hearing people. Try not to be rude or biased against deaf people. It’s not a disease, you can’t catch it. So, go out there and learn about someone new. Someone with a unique perspective on the world. Put yourself in their position and treat them with respect. And find your passion! It’s always good to find something you can be passionate about, and to always learn. (p.s. yes, deaf people drive. They’re deaf, not deficient.)

And deaf people. No offense. I love your language, etc etc. But being  open to people a little can change the world. Can change your world. I realize people are mocking at times and rude more often than should be legal, but you have to give those of us with true desire to understand a chance. We want so badly to just know and learn about YOU. Dont’ turn yourselves into the people you disdain. Try to be open. Be the person you want to see others be towards you.

So, that’s my post for now. Apologies if I offended anyone, it was never my intention; and be sure to comment if I forgot something that you think should have been addressed. I love you guys, deaf blind and all the other flavors of our cultural rainbow.