Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I'm flipping through my stash of quotes. They covered the walls in my dorm-room at Asbury, a stamp of personality on those bland walls. Here's one I copied while spending a quiet Saturday morning at Kinlaw. It was so strange to me, as though I was hearing a story of my child-self from my mother.

"The deaf are said to be rigid and immature, impulsive and egocentric, cautious but lacking good internal controls, naive about the motives of others and short on empathy. Possibly the most tantalizing of all, they appear much less susceptible to obsessive and depressive ailments. In short, a childhood full of confusion, ambiguity, and isolation generally produces not a psychotic, but a particular sort of eccentric."

This was one of those moments where you suddenly realize with cold-water clarity something that has always been so naturally a part of yourself. It's like those moments at work when a deaf person approaches me with a question, and I slip into sign as easily as if it were my native tongue. I feel like I am seeing a long-ago dream of myself while I am helping them out.

My deafness has always been a source of confusion. Most of the deaf community have embraced their disability as their identity. I have not. For me, it is usually just a physical thing, a remnant of a high fever that ravaged my inner ear. Yet it has played a big role in shaping who I am, and this quote reminds me of it.

I'm quite glad I haven't turned out a psychotic.

1 comment:

dwain said...

For a strange reason, this reminded me of HG Wells's story "The Country of the Blind." It's not thematically related, but it explores the idea of normalcy and the status quo. If you ge the chance, read it (it's short).