An Open Letter

  • September 4, 2014

photograph of a typed letter signed by hand at the bottom with "Rae" letter contents in the body of the post

Dear Deaf,

I hope you are well. I see you often, all of your faces, but I’m realizing now that I don’t know much about you aside from what I see at work… I should see more of you outside of work. I’m doing alright, but I’m feeling a lot of stress about our relationship. That’s why I’m writing.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually thanked you directly. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your language that allows me to see the world through a wider lens. Thank you for sharing your humanity. Thank you for allowing me to use my language-loving mind and busy body to do work that I can be proud of.

I’ve never apologized to you directly. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I haven’t been good enough at times. I’m sorry for the times that I didn’t even know that I wasn’t good enough. I’m sorry that I make a living because you’re deaf* and the majority of the people around you can’t communicate with you. I’m sorry that the return on your investment in me still hasn’t reached its full potential.

While our relationship is fraught, I’m committed. I’ll continue to work in good faith and ask that you do the same. Please do me the honor of telling me when I’m wrong. I work continuously to understand you, your language, your perspective, and I do catch some of my mistakes. What my hearing mind and eyes can do is nothing compared to your perceptive abilities. Tell me when I’m wrong and help me become the interpreter you want. Chisel away my awkward signs, and sand smooth my rough understandings of your culture by trusting me. Please trust me to take you seriously when you correct me.

If anything, this is my love letter to you, or perhaps a re-commitment. Today I can see that I have to give more to this relationship as well as ask more of you. I love you guys; I really do. I think we can make this work.


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