All my life I have been stuck between two worlds. Perhaps the most severe is when I went totally deaf 34 years ago. It was obvious that I was no longer in the hearing world, but by the same token I wasn’t, and never would be, in the Deaf world. The isolation that resulted was frustrating, depressing, and almost tragic.
But that would not be the last time I was stuck between two worlds. Another was the fact that I just couldn’t figure out how so many others seem to flow easily through social interactions that I had much difficulty traversing. I was always an outsider when it came to group associations and the interactions that entail it.
I was almost ashamed of the fact that eye contact was always difficult for me, but I just couldn’t do it beyond a brief glance. How could others stare at each other for minutes at a time? How could others make friends when I struggled to do so, especially after I went deaf? No one seemed to want to be around me? In the last few years I have come to understand that neurologically I am different from others. Not better or worse, just different.
I am currently making a serious attempt to convince myself that I belong in the hearing/neurotypical world, even though I can’t hear the loudest sounds and have different ways of looking at typical social situations. I am trying to fit in where I can. I just hope that people understand why I do what I do. I am going into the teacher mode to try to make that happen. If I fail, I don’t know what will happen? But, I refuse to wear the mask that others always expect. The mask is off, and it is staying off now. I have lived with it too long to put it back on now. More on that Thursday.
Let’s finish up with the lyrics of a song that speaks to me. It would be great to be where everyone knows your name, and why you act the way you do. I am finally going to do something that will make that happen, or at least hope it will.
Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name
Theme song from “Cheers” TV show