Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Glass Wall

It is maddening to go through my life without any hearing, knowing there may be a way to have some type of hearing, and it is out of my reach. I just want to go flip on the radio and hear the latest music, or more importantly get out my Doors CDs and listen to my older music. Often when I sit in a group of people I look around at each of their faces quickly forming words that are elusive to me. I busy myself with the kids and wait for someone to include me, despising the feeling of forcing my way into a conversation I wait patiently instead. With my good friends I am never forgotten, but in general situations that inclusion never comes. I have left tables of chatter with no one even noticing my absence so many times. I just have to remind myself that I am doing the best I can to overcome this. I will not just lie down and be segregated from mankind. I don't care if it is easier for people to conversate without slowing down for me, that is absolute inconsiderate rubbish. I have met a lot of good people in the past few years and need not waste my time with those uncompassionate or ignorant of my experience. Personally, having had a deaf Mother who I also interpreted for in group situations I cannot grasp how anyone can sit and converse right in front of a deaf person without attempting to convey the meaning to them . Unfortunately not everyone knows better and even the kindest of people cannot be thoughtful of each moment.

Maybe by having read this at least a few people will be more aware when in the company of a deaf person of what they may feel watching everyone through a glass wall.


Michelle R. said...

Girl if you ever feel that way when your with me just give me a slug. I never want you to feel like you were excluded

Days like These! said...

This is a very good reminder!

Rebecca said...

Olivia I know exactly what you are talking about by having everyone talk around you. This happens to me frequently and I have struggled to deal with it. I had it happen recently by people who are related to me but have not seen me in a long time. It has inspired me to write about the situation and submit it to another ALDA newsletter. In the last issue my article titled "Denial" was published. I later wrote another one but have not submitted it titled "Invisible". I posted it on my blog. The feeling I get is like the movie titled "Invisible" where life and interaction seems to flourish around the character while he goes unnoticed sitting among a group.
I still struggle with this but a tactic that I have tried is to engage someone in conversation by writing notes to them. When I write to them they seem to naturally write back. But when I speak the writing back to me often gets forgotten. Sometimes I also write a note to a participative person inquiring what the group is talking about. Seldom does the person not respond and although summarized and shortened, at least I have some information about the topic of discussion.
It is easier on my own then with someone in the group who is hearing and signs because typically the person I am with is not an interpeter and has a lower level of signing skill than I do. When non signing people see that someone else can sign, they completely rely on that other person to translate. As a result, miscommuication is given often and I end up confused. Then the hearing people want to talk to the signing person and the signing person is not skilled at interpreting so it ends up being a discussion between the person who signs and the others in the group. After awhile you feel like you could be sitting there with your finger jammed up your nose and nobody would notice. Usually I am the last to finish eating but because this happened recently, I was the first to finish and then sat there completely bored and frustrated.

Anonymous said...

Beck & Olivia,

Yes, exactly.

I don't know why this phenomena is so universal.


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