This is a repeat. I wrote this several years ago, but it is no less true now. In fact, as visual as this era is, it’s disheartening to see how behind everyone really is in making things deaf friendly. Yes, it takes time to make your videos captioned, but if you want to reach a broader audience, you should take the time…
You see that lady over there? The one sitting by herself on the bench a bit apart from everyone else, quietly watching the children playing, her eyes slowly closing every so often, only to startle awake within seconds? Yeah, that one, with the salt streaked brown hair, the sapphire blue eyes framed by pink glasses, with the ready smile. You see her?
She won’t try to really engage in a conversation with you. If you talk to her, she might not even give a real response, maybe just a nod of acknowledgement, a simple bob of her head to say “Yes I heard your voice. I didn’t actually hear what you said, but let’s not go through the embarrassment of repeating.” She will sit there and smile, while behind that smile she is wishing for the conversation, the rapport of other moms with children the same age as hers.
She really is not a snob. Her opinion of herself is probably less than what you think of yourself, though it probably doesn’t show. It’s not that she doesn’t want to talk to you. It’s more that she just can’t hear you. Not well enough to maintain a conversation anyway.
She is so out of shape in having a real conversation that she doesn’t know how to keep one going anymore, and she will probably say something the wrong way, though she doesn’t mean to. So, she will say nothing, just sit there with her smile, pretending that she is the Queen of the world, so her heart hurts a little less.
She’s not really shy, not once you get to know her. If circumstances were different and her eyes didn’t need to be on her child, she could probably focus much better on whatever your topic is. She reads lips you see, but she can’t read what you are saying while she is the only one watching her child. So, she says nothing, only smiling when she thinks she needs to.
You don’t see the practice conversations she has at home with the mirror. You don’t realize the struggle she goes through inside because of that darn smile she has permanently embedded to her face. You don’t see just how very much that whole Queen of the World attitude is just a façade. You won’t know how quickly that façade disappears when someone reaches out, even just a tiny bit.
You won’t know how hard it was for her to reach out that one day and announce to the whole play area that she is not in fact a snob, just severely hearing impaired, and she’s not ignoring you on purpose. You will see a genuine smile find its way to her face, no longer forced, when you respond back with a smile of your own, a result of you suddenly going out of your way to engage her in bits of conversation here and there. You won’t have any knowledge of the small ember you lit within in her soul; the small ember that told her she is enough.
You don’t see how she struggles to accept that she is enough for herself, that she questions regularly if she is enough mother, enough wife, enough daughter, enough sister, enough friend. Will she ever be enough writer, enough blogger, enough whatever?
Then she realizes with just that tiny spark that she is enough to someone. She is indeed enough wife, enough mother. That she could be enough friend.
Now, if she could just realize that she is enough.
That I am enough.A short #blog to make you think twice. #disability #deafness Click To Tweet