I grew up in a world of loud silence.
As a child of an interpreter, I became immersed into the deaf community as much as she was,
watching to listen, motioning to speak, trading my voice for talking hands.
I would see hands paint images across the air, a language far more beautiful than any I've heard.
Imagination is key.
As I became older, my tongue began to slip into a verbal tone and my hands lost their identity.
I became known as "The Interpreter's Daughter", no longer able to communicate.
I watch their expressions as I try to sign again, so lost in translation and fear, I see how they see me.
"How cute! She's trying to sign!" "Don't kid yourself, just ask your mom." "Sign faster! Spit it out!"
"You'll never understand."
If you go into a room filled with the deaf, you'll only hear nothing.
But when you truly look around, it's louder than you'll ever know.
For once, you're the one who can't hear,
you're the one filled with frustration of barriers,
you're the one who can't understand.
Don't tell the deaf to speak when you can't hear their voice,
dont tell the deaf to hear when you can't see their words.
For now you know just how frustrated you are that they can't yell,
they're just as frustrated that you can't sign.
Feel their struggle! Feel their embarrassment!
Being deaf isn't a disability, they can do as much as you and me,
it's an identity like race and soul.
You can't tell a person to change their skin, so don't tell a person to change their tongue.
So walk into a room filled with the deaf,
you'll see hundreds of voices waiting to be heard.
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