Friday, January 21, 2022

Stimulation: I get it!

Thursday was an excellent day. It was bright and sunny once the morning fog disappeared, and my enthusiasm for learning ASL returned in full force. I got a little depressed about my comprehension for a bit there, but I’ve bounced back.

Can you imagine living in a word where each of your friends speaks English, but each has a different and very noticeable accent—Billy speaks like a Texan, Sharon speaks like a Cockney, Mary speaks like a Kiwi and John speaks like English is his second language? That’s how I find ASL because people sign very differently. Signing is a very personal language.

I was writing to a friend last night and to her, I wrote this: “My speech capacity diminishes as stimulation increases.” I’m very proud of that sentence. Six years of experience has brought me to this succinct insight. I have found a clean, simple way to explain my most inconvenient FND symptom.

When I thought about that sentence, it suddenly made sense of why I have so much trouble speaking to friends whom I truly love, and those whom I fear—I feel strong emotions for them. It also explains why I am fluent with passers-by on the trails—I have no feelings about them.

I also realized that I don’t care how much ASL I learn or how good I get at it, I love learning and the purpose it gives me. It takes me forward; it’s positively responsive to the changes in my life.

Last night, I watched CODA on Apple+. “CODA” is a term that means “child of deaf adults.” I can’t remember who recommended the movie to me and I feel terribly bad I can’t thank that person, because I loved it. It’s a bit of a Hallmark movie, emotionally, but it’s amazing to see a movie about a family of deaf people, and only one of them, a daughter, can speak. In terms of providing insight into the deaf experience, I can’t think of anything more powerful than this movie. 

I recognized lots of signs, but it was seeing a life-long signer sign that moved me to tears. A great signer is an artist of expression. It was humbling to see the lead actors (the protagonist’s family are all life-long signers), they are beautifully adept at signing. It was beautiful and very, very moving. It added fuel to my fire.

I made another bitchin’ batch of ginger beef. I’m as passionate about it as I am about the fish curry that I make. I was never much fond of cooking mains; I was a baking fanatic. All I took at cooking school was baking. But now that I’m not eating sweets and not baking, I’m learning new mains instead and loving the results.

This morning, I’ll soon walk with my friends and out dogs, and then it’s back to studying and reading Louise Penny. I’ve already written my ASL assignment paper since getting up. It’s 1,000 words: I was charged with writing about deaf history and/or ASL, but I’ve taken a risk and written about muteness and ASL instead. I’m proud of what I wrote. I hope they accept it. It praises their course, but it also lets them know that people can want to learn ASL and who have no plan to interact with the Deaf community. This is how it ends:

“I envision a party in the Summer of 2023 to which I will invite my closest friends and a signing interpreter who is hearing and who speaks. I look forward to spending a long summer day at a beach picnic with them and communicating with them with dignity through the interpreter. 

“Your course assumes I want to be involved with the deaf community. I love this course and I value greatly the hope and joy signing gives me, but I don’t envisage being part of the deaf community. Just so you know.” 

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