(what else happens in my life, besides the intersection of these things?)
I was speaking with a close friend and cousin today about magic: Not the witchcraft kind (not exactly), nor the sorcerer either. How sometimes, things just all come together magically. It’s not just the big things that do this, but the little things, too. Like when I get just enough writing done to go for a run and then cook dinner, and the baby sleeps for just long enough for me to get everything done that I want to get done. Days occasionally go perfectly. And there’s so many beautiful accidents that happen in the world.
I believe this happens when we are feeling particularly positive, flexible, and open.
When we have nothing against the Universe, and the Universe doesn’t seem to have anything against us.
I think this happens for everyone, though I’m sure there are exceptions. But THIS—this exact feeling of:
Positivity. Gentleness. Awareness. Friendliness. Kindness. Hopefulness.
THIS is a GOAL for me. This is something I try and wake up every day to feel, but of course, I might start days like this sometimes, and other times, I’ll feel an entire aversion to everything having to do with the morning (having to get up, make coffee, walk the puppy, feed the toddler, start working) from the first second I open my eyes (and those days usually go badly, from those first seconds). Life happens in between these two opposite situations: the positive and negative things that revolve around us throughout our days. And I think it’s hardest in the middle, divided between opposing reactions, opposing feelings, essentially stuck with a love/hate feeling for the whole world.
Deafness does this.
Though more specifically, the kind of deafness I mean is, having spent the first decade or so of life hearing mostly-everything, and then within a decade, hearing a lot of noise, but no words, not anymore.
I hear a lot, but it’s a lot of “nothing”—groaning, yelling, car engines, boat engines, toilet flushes, crying, rushing wind, and my own voice.
I wonder if that’s why I still do LOVE the sound of my own voice, and I love to give public readings or tell stories to my child in spoken English, even though I also sign stories to him in ASL. I love the poetry slams and cafe poetry readings, even though, unless the poet gives me a copy of their reading beforehand, I can’t hear them.
I love all these things, but I hate them, too. I hate them because of the words I can’t hear anymore, and I hate them because they make me feel selfish, they make me feel disabled, and they make me feel divided (between hearing and deaf cultures, two vastly different entities that I didn’t even realize existed before I crossed from one of them to the other, and back, and forth, and back).
So what do I do here in this middle ground—this place between the positive and the negative, the two cultures, the love and hate? I’m not calling hearing positive or better, I’m calling it different than deaf, equally positive and negative on its own. Just like Deafness. There’s no path that is better, but being deaf in a group of hearing people feels exactly lovely and awful at the same time.
Lovely, because they are my friends or my family, and awful because they are speaking a language I can’t hear anymore—so it’s not like the English I can speak myself, it’s like they’re speaking Arabic or Mandarin.
I love all the new things I notice because I can’t hear anymore: like new outfits, the look of guilt or sorrow someone’s trying desperately to hide, new hairstyles or the way someone’s standing and what it might be showing of their deeper feelings, or the way the wind is moving over the water or through the leaves.
Some people might think it’s romantic and dreamy to be deaf, and sometimes on t.v., we are shown as this: a dreaming angel, eyes noticing everything and mind constantly thinking about “romantic” things.
And some people think its the most horrible thing in the world: “Oh, my God, you can’t HEAR ANYTHING? I don’t know what I’d DO without my HEARING! Oh my, can you actually drive a CAR?! How do you go to a RESTAURANT?!”