Friday, September 4, 2009

Longing For Home

(That's me at my dad's knee. They called me the milkman's daughter.)

I watched parts of the movie Tarzan with my littlest kids today. I didn't intend to but I found myself strangely entranced. (I need to get out more, I know.) I wasn't sure what it was about the movie that caught my attention and had me transfixed until it came to the segment where the background music is the song "Strangers Like Me" by Phil Collins. That was when I realized what was so fascinating about it all: I am Tarzan, someone who is stuck between two worlds.

Most of you who read here know that I come from a family where both parents were Deaf. I was raised in what is known as 'Deaf culture', a whole separate world from the world of those who can hear. And I LOVED it. For me, this largely unknown Deaf world has always been the place where I feel most at home and this movie somehow got me feeling homesick again.

Words truly escape me when attempting to describe the love I have for the world of the Deaf. The people, the culture, the language... these are all ingrained in me. I embrace them and sometimes fear I will lose them completely. I never want that to happen - it would be like losing a part of my soul.

In my moments of greatest emotion the most frustrating thing remains to be the fact that I can not express myself in spoken words as well as I can in sign language. The difficult part is that the English language often does not translate the passion and depth of meaning behind the words in sign. This is why I love words. The more words I know, the more I have in my arsenal when trying to accurately express myself.

And the more I am able to integrate myself into this world of the hearing which still often feels like a new pair of shoes that are not quite broken in yet.

8 comments:

rorymckm said...

i took a Deaf culture class in the college ASL program that i was in and really appreciate how blessed you are to have grown up with such an expressive culture and rich sense of community. as someone who is not a member of the Deaf community, taking ASL classes was just like taking french in high school; you learn the language but without being immersed in a place where you can exercise what you've learned daily you slowly begin to forget. :( i only remember enough now to have taught zoe some basics when she was younger, but there's no way to convey the culture without having a chance to immerse her in it and see just how rich it is....

Gina said...

Ahhh....your home. That was enjoyable to read. Amazing that English is your second language. You've got it mastered better than I!

hintonrae said...

Wow--did not know this about you, Gerb. I imagine that learning the spoken word was a bit like learning a foreign language. What an amazing experience, though, to have grown up in that culture!

Couple of things: how long did that blond last, out of curiosity?

And: I LOVE the new picture. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.

Gerb said...

Rory - So, so true. It is an amazing culture that can only be truly understood by experiencing it.

Gina - Thanks. Like I said, knowing more words makes it somewhat easier to express myself.

Lori - The white-blonde lasted until I was about 7. But I was blonde until I had my first baby. Those dang pregnancy hormones did a number on my hair!

Amy said...

Most of the time I feel so sorry for my children... poor kids have to have HEARING parents. Rotten luck if you ask me! lol. You're right. There are no words to adequately express the gratitude I feel for growing up in that other "world".

Gerb said...

Amy - Amen, sister! I think this is one reason why CODAs all seem to connect, don't you think? We all know that unexplainable feeling of not quite being in the right place.

Autumn said...

You have such a mastery of both languages. You are awesome. When you mentioned you feel more comfortable expressing yourself using ASL I realized your first language is ASL. I would love to have that kind of mastery. I tend to use my same trusty 10 signs over and over. Oh to be truly fluent.

Shellie said...

I guess I don't get out enough either because I love Tarzan, and the songs, and the part where the mama finds Tarzan, he reminds me of my middle child. I understand your feelings of being between two worlds oh so well. But it's great to have them both.