Are you the only Deafie at your holiday table?
During holiday season this can be difficult. People are eating, talking with mouth full of food, waving hands around (you think 'oh is that a sign?' and it is not!), and there is much chaos all around.
As the only Deaf at my table this means I miss out on conversation. I see my family laughing and talking and I do not what is going on. I have to ask my partner, 'what?, what is so funny?' or 'what did he/she say?' It is annoying for me and for my spouse, I am sure.
I would rather be fussing in the kitchen, with food or serving people so I do not have to talk or attempt to read lips. Reading lips is getting harder and harder to do these days. With mouth full of food I cannot do at all!
My dream of the perfect holiday table would be this:
A Deafie's Holiday!
1. The table would be round, so communication could be clear and accessible for all parties.
2. All people at table would be Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Hearing with ASL skills. Hearing folks who sign are 'Honorary Deafies' for the day!
3. Communication would be totally accessible. Everyone would feel comfortable and at ease, nobody would be excluded from conversation. We are together and having fun!
4. Everyone would see how beautiful ASL is as language. Visual and easy for communication. No problems, relaxed atmosphere, laughing and open time for serious conversation without any judgement.
5. No talk of our deafness being a 'problem' or 'disability'. We are all the same and having no difficulties, no body left or excluded.
Make sure you take some time for yourself during Thanksgiving to have a breathe. You may need to give your eyes a rest from lipreading. Hearing people think it is easy, but it is not. We Deaf only get about 32% of what you say on you hearing lips!
I have tried very hard to be voice off for the most part with my family. I want to be voice off. It is my personal decision. I cannot hear my voice at all anymore and this is something that makes me feel comfortable. I choose to use sign language as my main form of communication. That is my right.
My family feels differently. They feel because I CAN talk and talk well, apparently, that I should talk, that it is fair to them.
But, what is fair to me?
I look forward to your comments.