The Power of ASL
A Society Supporting Language , Literacy , and Performing Arts in the Signed Modality
Winter 2016 A Newsletter of the Society for American Sign Language Issue 4
By Stacy M . Duvall , AA & AAS
There is a famous saying about how it takes a village to raise a child . I have personally found that to be absolutely true . But what happens when and if the village you ' re born into decides not to raise you ? To help provide support and guidance as you grow into the fully formed adult that you were meant to be and serve the purpose for which you were born for ? What then ?
This is a story of a little girl once lost , but now found . Once blind but now sees . Once Deaf but now and truly Hears . Oh , do not get me wrong . I ' m as Deaf as they come and will proudly continue to be until the day I die . This is just an apt metaphor to describe my journey .
My name is Stacy and I was born and raised in your quintessential Small Town , Anywhere , USA . Except this particularly small town just happens to be in the South . This adds a layer of complexity to the story that I am about to share with you .
You see , people of the South have long considered themselves a proud and stoic people , part of the USA and yet , almost separate from everywhere else in the country . We hold our traditions , passed down generation by generation , very near and dear to our hearts . Life here is seemingly simple and easy . Everything moves at a snail ’ s pace and even the way people talk and sign are drawn out like slow and melodic songs . Change comes at even a slower pace , if at all . Yet , beneath of what appears to be a truly beautiful way of enjoying life lies something deep : The Southern Code . If something happens to rock the boat such as something new or different than what they are used to ; We . Do . Not . Talk . About . It . Instead , we eradicate it by all means possible and if that fails , then pretend it simply does not exist . Whatever the result , we still do not talk of it . Thus , deep shame , deep wounds and secrets form .
By sharing my story , I am breaking the Southern Code . Then again , I am not , nor was I ever a member of the village , I was born into and it has taken me a very long time to finally accept that . The last straw that finally broke the camel ’ s back and brought upon me a year of deep , deep mourning then finally , acceptance , was initiated just over a year ago .
One of the most difficult things in the world is to be something other than what your parents want you to be and also to know that they made mistakes , intentionally or unintentionally . This is unbelievably hard to process and I applaud all who are brave enough to come out of the proverbial closet and am compassionate towards those who simply cannot even think about it .
My mother had claimed I had been born hearing and became deaf through ear infections . It is true , I did have ear infections . Or more like one sustained , very long infection . I remember this very well . Brown , extremely thick mucous strings would just slowly flow … ( Continue on page 6 )
The Power of ASL 1 Winter 2016 – Issue 4