March is a deaf history awareness month. I was asked by Growing in Grace Magazine to write an article about deaf history and I will post the link as soon as it is published! I wrote the article about the background of the deafness and called it "The Silent History of Deafness." Then, I thought that I would also write an article about my personal experience of deafness more in depth here for all of you.
Well, I was born deaf in a deaf family due to the hereditary gene called Connexin 26. It is a huge blessing to be born in a deaf family because most deaf people are the only ones in their family. It is my 'normal' and I wouldn't change it if I had the chance to. I strongly believe God chose me to become deaf for a reason, and I embrace that. I also stand by the verse on Exodus 4:11 about how God created different kinds of people, including deaf people.
I did have hard times growing up, especially with my peers as kids. You know how cruel kids can be in school and all that. But as I grew up, I became more secure in my identity and I'm happy for who I am. The worst part about being deaf is when people act differently around you. That's the biggest thing. We are just so normal and just regular ol' people like you guys are. Most of us have had our rabies shot,... kidding!
Many people ask me what I can hear. I can hear a lot of things with my hearing aids but I am not able to distinguish what I am hearing very well. It's a mess of sound all combined to me. I have to use my eyes a lot and pay attention to the movement of lips, body language and facial expressions to know what's going on. Without hearing aids, I'll only be able to hear a firetruck if it was in my room. Believe it or not, it's a luxury at times! It's also a proven fact that deaf people can sleep deeper than hearing people!
Turning up the volume on the television or radio won't do anything. It'll just be a louder mess of sounds. Everything sounds Spanish to me. I can hear people talking, but it's all foreign language to me. My sister always made fun of me for having the radio on the Spanish station growing up.
We get sweet deals being deaf. For instance, we can talk with our mouths full, talk across the room, underwater and behind everyone's backs (no, joking!! lol). If we have headaches, we can just turn off our hearing aids within convenience. Most of the time, if we get pulled over by a cop, we can just point to our ears and sign "I am deaf" and the cops will suddenly feel uncomfortable and let us go! It's true!! lol.
Deafness is also a beautiful culture. It's the only culture that has emerged from a disability. I wrote about it on the article in GGM about how language, technology, history and all these factors brought forth a culture in deafness. I grew up in both worlds: the hearing and deaf world. I grew up in a deaf family, have been around deaf people all my life and went to a hearing mainstream school. In my personal experience, it is good to have the best of both worlds. My youngest son is also deaf and I will instill that in him. I want him to have the best of both worlds too.
I also wrote that disability is a state of mind. Whatever body God puts us in, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I have seen people prove the impossible every day in the world and don't let that stop you from anything. God even used people in the Bible with a physical struggle, such as Moses with his speech impediment. We have a powerful God whose strength is made perfect in our weakness. Have faith in God because he has faith in you.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me anytime. I won't be offended, but I'll be delighted to share with you!
Here's a fun fingerspelling guide for those who are interested in learning the basics!