Yep. . . still on a mental sabatical.
Til I come back “online”, here is the rest of Chapter 1 of that unpublished, mostly finished, kinda irritating book I’ve been working on. Sigh, writing a book is like being pregnant. . .you move slow and snack a lot.
I sighed and pushed my laptop towards the center of the table and absent mindedly sipped on my mocha while trying to stifle the rising emotions about my childhood. Somewhere I heard that journaling was supposed to be cleansing for the soul. I have to think that whoever came up with that brilliant piece of psycho-babble never really had much to write. If they did, it was nowhere near as excruciating as what I felt at this present moment. I was willing myself to undergo a surgery of the soul, but somehow it felt like the anesthetic had worn off already and I was only 5 minutes into the procedure.
I let out another discreet sigh and reined my thoughts in. How could I ever move on if I didn’t reconcile with my past? I closed my eyes and took a couple of deep breaths and began to type again.
My mother was deaf and living in a deaf household is anything but ordinary. If one member of the family is deaf, then every member of the family lives “deaf”. When we watched TV, it was with the closed captioning on, even when my mother wasn’t home.
Our phone was adapted for my mother. We had a large rectangular light mounted to our stark white living room walls that had the letters P-H-O-N-E in descending order on it in bold letters. When the phone would ring, the light would flash. Our phone was attached to a device, called a telephone typewriter or TTY. When my mother would have conversations with other “deafies”, they could “talk” using the TTY.
It was texting, you know, before texting.
There was no yelling or crying for my mother when I needed her. What good would it have done? Instead, I pounded on either the table or the floor to send a vibration that she could feel and she would then respond to me using sign language. I learned to sign before I knew how to crawl and I learned how to interpret for my mother with the outside world by the time I was 4 years old.
Beyond the intricacies and considerations of living in a deaf household, my dad and I learned to be sensitive to my mother’s condition. Really, the signs and symptoms may have started to manifest much earlier. And although I know that any therapist would tell me not to blame myself, I haven’t quite completely purged myself of my misplaced burden of guilt. My birth, I think, in a lot of ways triggered bitter memories from her own past. Memories undealt with and living as dormant seeds of destruction.
They became a wasps nest of hatred and confusion. She loved as deeply as she was capable of and yet she found it wasn’t enough to protect her daughter. Could she leave it to fate and good parenting? If there was a God, then could she trust him? Love to her, was protecting me from pain. But the only way to avoid pain in this life is to not live at all.
That year we packed up and drove the scenic route to Fort Rucker, Alabama. We drove through Canada and into the continental U.S. We had packed only the necessities into the red, Toyota pick-up truck. Everything else was coming in delivery trucks later. My stuffed raccoon and I sat in the back while my mother and dad sat in the front.
We stopped often.
We saw the Black Hills and Custer’s Last Stand. My dad being a rabid, history buff was ecstatic. He had been looking forward to seeing Custer’s Last Stand for years.
But, we didn’t stay long. My mother wanted to leave.