If you’ve read the who I am part of my blog, you’ll know that I ‘m a C.O.D.A. No that’s not a disease or anything. It means Child of Deaf Adult, if you’ve got 1 or 2 parents that are Deaf that makes you C.O.D.A.
I’ve always known since I was little that, because my Dad and two siblings were Deaf, my family was different. But, because we didn’t live in or have much contact with the Deaf communities, and every time we got together with the Deaf I felt out of my element. I don’t sign true ASL, I sign pigeon (mixture of ASL and exact english). So in that way I didn’t fit in. I can understand true ASL, but to sign it I have a very hard time. So I thought well I’m not really C.O.D.A then, when I think and say that I hurt a part of myself but, I never really understood why. Because my picture of C.O.D.A is Bonnie Kraft, or my Mom and Brother. I’ve never felt accepted in the Deaf community, even though I love Deaf people, I’m always feeling that I’m not good enough, and an outsider because I’m hearing. Well, people would say I’m more hearing than Deaf. I even had a Deaf person ask me if I disliked Deaf people, because I was hearing, even though the guy knew that I had Deaf siblings and a Deaf father. To me I couldn’t understand that, just because I don’t jump in right when we meet a Deaf person and start signing, that doesn’t mean I exclude them.
I’ve been wondering am I just not C.O.D.A? I’ll always be Dad’s daughter, I mean not C.O.D.A by culture.
But no I’m more C.O.D.A than I think, Mom found these videos last night.
Its in both ASL and verbal English, and it is absolutely hilarious.
If you watched this video, you and I both can now understand why my Uncle SO dislikes driving with me in the front seat. When I’m in the front seat I always help my Dad, he can do everything himself but, if you want to talk while he’s driving you gotta help. Of course I don’t touch the wheel, but I do say lights red, green, there’s a lady crossing. My Uncle HATES it. For Mom and Dad its normal I’ve even talked them into letting me change gears for them (only while still in the drive way but I did it once on the road for mom). I don’t dare do it with my grandparents, except Grandma. You should watch her when Grandpas driving she Literally TOUCHES the wheel!
We don’t have the lights on while driving, Dads number one rule for night driving NO lights!
Maybe I’m more C.O.D.A than I thought. I may be lousy at my signing, (I’ve had people tell me that), I may not know Deaf culture. But I do know that I have Deaf in my family, and I ‘m not embarrassed, by it (anymore). More like I’m proud, No one and I mean No one can dis Deaf people, especially when I’m around. Because you may not be talking about my family but Deafness is part of my family. So its like you’re dissing my family. A big no,no, in a C.O.D.A’s life. I (like my mom and grandma before her) get really riled, and, don’t tell anyone, but I have a hard time not going over and giving that person a piece of my mind, and a seriously hard lecture on Deaf people.
I know there are C.O.D.A’s out there that are embarrassed about their parents Deafness. People look and ask, kids can make fun of you, and you feel like a spectacle for the whole world. I can understand that feeling too. It gets a but much at times, its like HEY people we may be signing but you don’t stare this much at a person speaking another language. Find something else to stare at. And if you go to school (I went for 1 year, before we went back to homeschooling) it can be really hard, especially if it’s a hearing school. I know I hated it when my Dad walked me to school because, parents had to stay until kids went into the classroom. I always saw my Dad stand by himself, no one would talk to him or try because he was Deaf. I hated that. Not the fact that he walked me but, that he was left out. Many kids came up to me and asked “Is that Your Dad?” I felt offended at that, not the question but the tone of voice it was asked in.
I realized later that it wasn’t that I was embarrassed by my Dad, I was embarrassed by the people that avoided my Dad. I was embarrassed that these hearing people a part of me (because I can hear) and they are avoiding my Dad another part of me. The two cultures are hard to mix. A big difficulty in life, especially for a C.O.D.A.
So to conclude. I’m more C.O.D.A than I realized. That part isn’t going anywhere. And having a Deaf parent is a special thing in life (especially when you like the music loud Hehe).
Being C.O.D.A makes you a special person, its nothing to be embarrassed about, it may be the cause of embarrassment. But, if you handle it well its nothing more than something in the past.
One more thing.
I’M C.O.D.A and I’M PROUD OF IT!! No one can dis my family when I’m around! (its in all CODA’s whether you like it or not, you just can’t stand Deaf people being spoken negative about)
I like having a Deaf Dad, its important to me, as is having Deaf siblings, it makes Me, ME. I wouldn’t be ME any other way. Nor would I have it any other way. Unless of course YHWH had a different plan.
I love my family, so if you’ve got Deaf in your family, whether it be a parent, grandparent, sibling, child, you’re blessed. Don’t be embarrassed about it, be proud about it. Deaf people are as important in this world as hearing people, not anymore or any less.