Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deaf People Rock, Too...I Had NO Idea

You're Deaf, tell me what it's like to hear. I'm hearing, I can NOT tell you what it's like to be deaf all day, every day. I see my son and his experience. I know what he can and can't hear, but it never occurred to me that deaf people could hear music despite not hearing. Jenny enlightened me in her comment:
Hi Jodi,
I apologize for my tone this morning. It was very early in the morning and I am frustrated at how these misconceptions keep coming up time and again - you have to choose between signs and speech/sound. That's so not the case. It's perfectly possible, and even better, in many cases, to give a deaf child everything - signs, access to sound/spoken language, etc. Why not? There's really no need to have to "choose."

To answer your question, yes, I'm deaf, do not wear hearing aids, and I don't have an implant. I still love music. Tunes get stuck in my head. Sweet Molly Malone was playing and replaying itself in my head just the other day. Dang, it just may restick itself in my head now! "Crying 'cockles and mussels a-live! Oh!'" *grin* Another current favorite is Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. I *love* that instrumental crescendo near the end and how masterfully it builds up to that point.

Furthermore, I'm not unique in the community. You may or may not know about Beethoven's Nightmare, an all-deaf rock band. Many of us enjoy signing songs, discussing music, swapping playlists, et cetera. One acquaintance is almost totally deaf, but she always cranks up her car stereo, buys CDs like crazy, and memorizes lyrics. Most of us have a natural rhythm. We dance. We go out to clubs shakin' our thang. We have ASL songs and poems.

Dianrez is right when she says that not all of us are into it. We also vary in how "into" it we are, just like hearing people. My very hearing mom isn't into music. She appreciates it, but she doesn't purchase anything musical. Her car radio is always set to the news or to talk shows. My very hearing cousin plays the piano and cannot be without music for one second (it's always on in the background). Between these two extremes, the other members of my family fall at varying points in between. The same is true for deaf people. Some are more musically inclined than others.

I hope this clarifies and answers your questions.

I will say this...ever since Jordan could walk, he would get out of the shower soaking wet and do the hoochy-koochy-shake-that-thang-neked dance, and I would look at him and think, "Well, strippers do make good money." I could never understand how he could be deaf and still have so much rhythm. Jenny, your comment really gave me a new perspective and now I understand how he can be deaf and still have "music in his ears." Beautiful.

Writing this blog has provided me with the opportunity to meet so many special people who enlighten my world on a daily basis. Reading other people's stories and writing, writing, writing is such a cathartic experience. As I've said before, one mom of a newly diagnosed deaf child, Christian, hits my nerves again and again because I see so much of myself in her words and experience. While we live the experience day in and out, we don't realize how much we suffer until we achieve success and see that our children will be okay. I am healing and growing, kind of meshing the Jodi that was with the Jodi that went through all of this experience in another language. I'm bringing the American back, but the Italian has so consumed me that it has meshed and I need to figure out who the hell I Tweenersville.

Yesterday, an interesting thing happened. My husband sent me a text message asking, "Why do you write about everyone but me in your blog? iPod girl, I love you, Luca." Note: He saw the photo of the neked guitar man and I think got a little worried. I responded, "I didn't think you read my blog." He replied, "Don't be so sure."

Hmmm. Growing and evolving can be scary for a married couple. My husband has a fanclub here in Istia and throughout Grosseto, anyone who is my friend loves my husband, because their husbands don't do shit. Luca lives for our kids and our family's routine. He sends me hot text messages daily and does the laundry - he's obsessed with hanging clothes - I refuse. To give you an idea, I am the only one I know who has a dryer. *WTF???* It was a condition before moving here, that and a dishwasher. The lifestyle here is so far from anything you know and I have adapted, but certain things cannot be sacrificed. I'm starting to feel a lot of those sacrifices in this period, sacrifices I consciously chose to make and others that were thrown upon me...working through it.

And now, my husband is helping me. He sent me eight text messages today and we met for a coffee, a damn good coffee.

He wanted to know why I didn't blog about Valentine's Day. All I'll say is that I wore my leopard pumps again *smile*
14 days later, the roses he gave me are still in bloom.


Anonymous said...

Yes Jodi... A song for every moment and man of your life... and i'm the james Taylor man of your life... The luckiest... (ps. I could have done that picture with the guitar...) Your anonymous Husband in love!!!

Candy said...

Liked what Jenny said and there's truth to it too. We all learn something new everyday, so it's neat to see that happening.

Dianrez said...

There's so much that goes on in Deaf peoples' noggins that could be called music even if they aren't into the've seen the shake and bump your son does, so you get the idea.

Secret confession: singing to myself snatches of songs, what, you don't want to know...when driving alone. Sometimes with the radio blaring whoknowswhat at the same time, not even close to what I was singing. (a strolling friend once told me I was blasting classical full volume.)

My favorite is Hava Nagila every Friday on the way home from work. (No, not even Jewish.)

Your hubby sounds like a sweetie. Hug him for me. Had one of those once.

Ocean said...

Hi Jodi ~

I had to laugh at your "shake-that-thang-neked dance" comment... In the Pagan Community, we joke about doing the "Happy Neked Pagan" dance. I enjoy dancing and have been known to do a little "hoochy-koochy shake" myself from time to time, which teasingly yet lovingly gets referred to as the "Happy Neked Deaf Pagan Dance." Exactly how it differs from the hearing version I haven't quite figured out, unless it's the fact that the music comes from within.

But that doesn't mean I can't and don't enjoy music. I have hearing friends who marvel at my knowledge of songs and their lyrics... although most of the songs I do know are oldies but goodies. Ask my hearing best friend Crystal - I'm sure she's lost count of the number of times we have boogied around in an internet chat room typing up the lyrics to songs we both know.

Last year I attended the National Women's Music Festival in Illinois - some great music there, and some wonderful people to enjoy it with. At one point during the concert, the performer was doing some great drumming on an African ashiko drum, and I could both hear it (thru my hearing aids and the big loud speakers I was sitting near), and the rhythm just made me want to get up and dance!

The result? Well, I will let you see for yourself... just check out the pictures you can find here:

Two of the people in those photos are Deaf - myself and Tammy. There were also several sign language interpreters present to interpret the lyrics to the songs... which is really great also.

So do Deaf people dance? Yes, they do. Do Deaf people enjoy music? yes, many (but not all) of us do.

You see... the rhythm can get us also.

Unknown said...

Hmmm. Your first comment was interesting...

Unknown said...

Hmmm. Your first comment was interesting...

Unknown said...

Thank you...and I will hug him for you...Jodi

Unknown said...

Virginia...learning, learning, learning and going to check out those PHO-TOS! Jodi

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Loved Jenny's comments. I needed to hear that perspective!

Jodi, I think this whole "thing" is so much easier when the dudes in our lives actually care...and send hot text messages!

Kim said...

Jodi--(smilin') Progressive hearing loss here as you know, and almost deaf to speech sounds. Deafness is a strange thing because most of us hear some sound. Sound is just another form of touch and vibration perceived through the ear. Sometimes it's really hard to determine what you hear and what you feel-- do you agree?

Anyway--I started playing the piano at four. Then I played the flute. I used to play music several hours a day until I could no longer hear high tones. They began to sound like a click on the keyboard and some of the others sounded too flat. While I don't mind listening to others playing the piano, it's too distracting for me when I play because it sounds like I've made a mistake when I know I haven't. OK.

I was born to make music. So now I play a djembe. It's an African drum. I can hear it and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE rhythm.

I also still go to the opera and I hear a lot of it with my hearing aids. Again, much of it is distorted. Baritone voices come out well. My brain fills in what should be there if I remember. I've had season tickets for 24 years.

I wondered why you never blogged about your handsome husband too. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that you're one of the few in Italy with a dryer! All of my French friends don't have one! Well, ACTUALLY, one of them JUST got one two months ago because she was coming home from college almost every weekend with piles of clothes to wash and as you can imagine, those clothes were never dried up completely before she had to head back! She was telling me how GREAT and FANTASTIC that machine was...she just went on and on and on...I just said, "It's just a plain old machine!" And YES...DISHWASHER! On my second trip to France, when I was at one of my friends' house, and as I was clearing the table and about to take the plates to the "dishwasher," I asked my friend, "Where's the dishwasher?" She looked at me like I was some nutcake! "We don't have one!" WHAT THE HECK?

Anonymous said...

:) hi Jodi,
Sorry I took so long to respond... was taking a 'Net time-out. :) I'm touched that my comment made a difference for at least two hearing mothers. This goes to show what we can all do if we are all willing to take the time to share with each other and to try to understand where the other is coming from. It's a nice change from feeling like we need to defend our very right to exist in our natural state. Thanks, Jodi. I appreciate your willingness to listen.