I have documented proof of being Hard of Hearing but when I ask some people to sign because I can’t understand, they just give me a look or say they’re tired and I end up having to lip-read. It isn’t fair to me. And if they aren’t respecting other Deaf people, then how can I expect to be respected?
And you know what’s worse, when people close to me say, “Why do you want us to sign. If you truly needed it, then that would make sense, but you never needed it before, you’re not fully Deaf so you CAN communicate in English and you can speak. Since you found out now that you have a hearing loss, you’ve suddenly needed all of this to ‘communicate’ yet you’ve been communicating fine you’re whole life. You’re just wanting to use sign language all the time to be on a bandwagon.”
But my hearing is getting worse! Gee, I wonder why I want family and friends to learn sign…so if I can’t understand at all one day, they now have this access…and oh wait, it’s my right!
People don’t understand how hurtful they can be. I’m not sure why, but it seems to be everyone’s issue that I not sign unless at school or something, that’s how I feel. I feel like they want me to only sign in school, and if I sign elsewhere I just want to gain attention. Some people even tell me to stop signing…
I constantly doubt myself because I am told that I never had a problem before, but I did.
Then they say, “Why didn’t you say anything then?”
And I tell them that I didn’t know, I lived my life thinking that’s how people hear and understand, just like me. I didn’t know that APD had several different facets other than the processing of auditory information and I was also unaware of my hearing loss. But when I found out the truth, then I realized that I must take action and help myself. I don’t want to just ‘cope’ the way I always have, I want to COMMUNICATE without barriers or judgments. People need to mind their own business and let me be! I’m actually happy for once and I want to keep it that way.
The best part is, when I tell them I don’t want to just cope anymore they say, “You didn’t really cope, you seemed fine up until now. Stop trying to be Deaf, you’re not Deaf.” I mean, that’s real rich! They see documented proof, they’ve heard me complain for years, not understanding because of only knowing the media perception of what being Deaf means. I wanted to sign since I was little, yet I never did because it ‘wasn’t needed’ and now I do it ‘because I want to, not because it’s the only way and I have to’ but language should not ONLY be used on the basis of need but of preference. I may understand speech 60% of the time (which is dwindling), but the other 40%…where is that understanding, where is my access?
I am so much happier signing than speaking. I can’t stress that enough. Why can’t anyone HEAR ME?! I need quiet, I need space, I need air to breathe, I need a culture that understands me and a language that actually fits my brain.
I don’t really need lots of friends, I just need family but all I really want is belonging…
God accepts me for my abilities and differences, and that is enough for me.
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