Published on Aug 8, 2012
You can find the poem by clicking on this link: http://www.facebook.com/dianne.kinnee...
Or, copy the poem from here:
ASLized this poem, "What is it like to be Deaf?" written by Dianne Kinnee.
By Dianne Kinnee's statement: "I worked as a clinical social worker in mental health field for many years. I worked closely with various kinds of people who came to receive the services. Deaf people with no signing skills, limited signing skills, average, highly skilled ASL usage. That's what I worked with them. After listening to them after a while, I noticed the common complaints with the loved ones, hearing co-workers or friends from them... all pointed to communication barriers between them and their loved ones. Frustrations of being left out, being stressed out, anxious for time to leave, etc. Really, few are exceptional to this, like everyone makes an effort to communicate with the Deaf person. That's what I decided to focus on the communication barriers, not signing nor signing methods, just communication itself. My original poem is in my Facebook information page. I noticed some people changed few words. I encourage you to compare this with my poem on my FB information page."
"What is it like to be Deaf?"
People have asked me.
Deaf? Oh, hmm... how do I explain that?
Simple: I can't hear.
No, wait... it is much more than that.
It is similar to a goldfish in a bowl,
Always observing things going on.
People talking at all times.
It is like a man on his own island
Isolation is no stranger to me.
Relatives say hi and bye,
But I sit for 5 hours among them,
Taking great pleasure at amusing babies
Or being amused by TV.
Reading books, resting, helping out with food.
Natural curiosity perks up
Upon seeing great laughter, crying, anger.
Inquiring only to meet with a "Never mind" or
"Oh, it's not important".
Getting a summarized statement
Of the whole day.
I'm supposed to smile to show my happiness.
Little do they know how truly miserable I am.
People are in control of language usage,
I am at loss and really uncomfortable there.
Always feeling like an outsider
Among the hearing people,
Even though it was not their intention.
Always assuming that I am part of them
By my physical presence, not understanding
The importance of communication.
Facing the choice between Deaf Event weekend
Or a family reunion.
Facing the choice between the family commitment
And Deaf friends.
I must make the choices constantly,
Any wonder why I choose Deaf friends???
I get such great pleasure at the Deaf clubs,
Before I realize it, it is already 2:00 am,
Whereas I anxiously look at the clock
Every few minutes at the Family Reunion.
With Deaf people, I feel so normal,
Our communication flows back and forth.
Catch up with little trivials, our daily life,
Our frustration in the bigger world,
Seeking the mutual understanding,
Contented smiles and laughter are musical.
So magical to me,
So attuned to each other's feelings.
True happiness is so important.
I feel more at home with Deaf people
Of various color, religion, short or tall
Than I do among my own hearing relatives.
And you wonder why?
Our language is common.
We understand each other.
Being at loss of control
of the environment that is communication,
people panic and retreat to avoid
Deaf people like the plague.
But Deaf people are still human beings
With dreams, desires, and needs
To belong, just like everyone else.
This was written by Dianne Kinnee
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