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Anybody and Nobody

by Branden Huxtable

Originally published in the August 1996 issue of the CSCDHH GA Newsletter

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Sometimes I wake up in the morning wondering who I am and where I fit. To me, I seem to be an odd mixture of all different sorts of people. I was born hearing but as I grew older, I lost more and more of my hearing until I became profoundly deaf. Am I hard-of-hearing? Or deaf? Where do I belong?

Even though I could be hard-of-hearing, most of my friends are hearing but I cannot understand their chatter half the time. I have an easier time understanding my Deaf friends, unless, of course, they sign at 90 mph using obscure signs. My Deaf-blind friends, on the other hand, sign slow and clear enough for me to understand. Then again, I'm not blind so it's difficult for me to imagine their world. I relate more to the hard-of-hearing world, but most of them have better hearing than me. I hear almost nothing without my hearing aids, so I have some idea of what Deaf people experience. However, since I grew up in the hearing world, I have no true Deaf Experience. I could say I have the hard-of-hearing experience, but most people I have met lost their hearing much later in life. I would love to meet more people like me, but hard-of-hearing people have no separate culture and no social group. I can easily find hearing and Deaf groups, but they tend to have conversations with five or more people at the same time which turn into Ping-Pong matches. Fortunately, I have no problem with Deaf-blind people who generally stick to one-to-one conversations. So where exactly do I fit in?

By nighttime, I have gone through a whirlwind day of a variety of cultures and people: hearing, hard-of-hearing, deaf and deaf-blind. I share some experiences with each different group but stand apart as well. I guess I identify mostly with my friends regardless of who they may be. So who am I? I am me. I can be anybody and nobody.

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