Month: March 2021

A World of Access

(image description: a dark photo of a salt and pepper schnauzer on a blacktop road with a yellow line, a blonde wearing a blue coat is bent down with her hand on his head petting him).

I won’t say I’m an activist, I think it’s just caring
We don’t become activists because we want to, but because we have to
Activism is the only way we can even access the world

My first memory of activism is probably not my first actual instance
My brain protects me by blocking out huge portions of my childhood
I wanted to be in honors English classes
The TOD (teacher of the deaf) didn’t want to support me
My parents and I pushed
I said I would absolutely prove I could do it
We got access to the class – but not interpreters – and I did succeed

I learned sign language by having conversations
Slowly Haltingly Then my fingers flew!
And before anyone imagined I was signing more than talking
It made everything possible
Even with interpreters only in one or two classes – my grades improved

When I did have interpreters, I remember stares
Oh the deaf girl
I remember an interpreter banging the desk when I was writing
‘Look at me!’
I remember being afraid of them
I kept fighting that fear because I needed the language

Gradually the fear got worse
Fear of new places
Fear of yelling
Loud noises Rainstorms Missing the information Death

It was always there, shadow nipping at my heels

Until one day a grey dog walked across the blacktop towards me
It took us time, many many moments
Hugs, Meals, Snuggles
And all of a sudden he was chasing away the fears
He was telling me about the noises and information before I missed it
(Except for what people were saying – still missed that)
He made all the difference in the world