I am not able to speak still. I have my notebook with me everywhere I go and I have noticed some things.
I knew somewhere in my mind that it is difficult for people who are deaf and / or mute in our world. But with the privilege of having all of my senses, I didn’t really get how hard it really can be. I am not saying that I understand what life is like for people who cannot speak, but more that I realize some of the challenges. I can go back to speaking at some point, and for that I am grateful. Here are some of my temporary struggles.
I know some ASL. Nowhere near what I want to know and I am still learning, but I know some. I can’t use it 99% of the time. No one can understand. I ask around and I only know 2 people in town that can understand any of it. That means when I want to communicate, I have to write. It takes so much longer and not everyone can read it. I have form responses in my notebook that I have to use whenever they are close.
I feel like I can’t be me. My snark and wit live in language.
Going places to run tasks is not easy. I have to plan ahead and write out my script before I go so they can read it. Today I went to my old dentist to clue them in, tomorrow the post office.
I have an interview tomorrow for a promotion and I fear how I will be viewed.
The vast majority of people have been awesome about waiting and reading but I do feel like I am taking up too much of their time and frustrating them. I get left out of conversations and I try less to talk because I don’t want to burden them. I don’t feel heard.
Strangers are a different story. They think I am rude for not talking. Most don’t care to read my writing and after reading my intro (if they get that far), they walk away. I bet they think they are being polite too. I hear things like “feel better!” But they end the conversation.
I have become a conversational liability.
I feel like I can’t go places. I probably could but I feel like a burden to anyone I talk to. Clerks, tellers, waiters and waitresses, bar tenders, service people, etc. I am a burden.
I think we need to realize that even if we know our privilege, we don’t really understand it until it is taken away.