I forget some of my hearing relatives and friends aren’t familiar with Deaf culture.
I wasn’t really aware that there was such a thing as Deaf culture until I was 15 and my initial exposure wasn’t…erhmm…the most positive experience, lol. I was labeled as being “too hearing” which is considered as an insult. Deaf people then accused me of trying to be too hearing and hearing people accused me of trying to be too deaf. I actually wanted nothing to do with the deaf community for a long time and now I can’t imagine life without the deaf community.
I’m not trying to be hearing, nor am I trying to be deaf…I’m just trying to be Kelly.
Do I consider myself 100% culturally Deaf? No.
Do I consider myself 100% culturally hearing? No.
Do I consider myself both deaf and hearing? Yes.
Just because a person is deaf doesn’t mean they’re automatically culturally Deaf. I have met many hearing people who are more culturally Deaf than I am.
There are so many things I would love to discuss but am trying not to write a book here.
There have been so many times where I wish I could share the positive aspects of Deaf culture with my hearing family/friends and vice versa. Yes, I miss out on things because I can’t hear. However, hearing people miss out on things because they can hear. Hearing people may feel sorry for me at times, but I feel sorry for them at times.
My deaf friends are more than just friends. I have 2 families. My hearing family and my deaf family.
My first family has seen me grow up and they’ve seen me at my worst and best. This family has always been there for me. We share many memories and holiday traditions that cannot be replaced. They provide stability, support, and love. They have always had a place in my life and will always be a part of my life no matter where I end up at. They have put forth the time and effort to try to break communication barriers to show how much they care about me. I know that no matter what happens I can always come home to them because they provide unconditional love…which is something everyone deserves to have and should never take for granted.
I share a common bond with my second family and there are no communication barriers. I can participate 100% in dinner conversations and enjoy events (e.g. weddings, celebrations, etc.) to the fullest with my 2nd family. They know my quirks (sadly some of them will even say “I just pulled a Kelly”), know how often I mix words up when I talk, are familiar with my lame attempts at making cheesy jokes, know how easily I can get distracted *oo! I see something shiny!*, and we talk about our dreams/problems/hopes/fears. I am not the “different” one in my 2nd family.
Scattered thoughts. 🙂