Monday, August 23

What am I?

Are we defined by our careers? Our assets? Our income? Wages per hour? Our cultural identity? Our ethnicity? Our majors?
The definitions help people classifying and measuring each other up. I am not all for it, but it is a fact-- people want to know who you are so they can measure you up by what you define yourself-- in other word, what you identify yourself.

I think it depends on which stage of life you are in.
Right now I am in that odd phase-- the transitional phase between the graduate school and the staff position.  This phase is also known as "internship", "externship", or "apprenticeship."

In most of my interactions with the general population, I am defined by my cultural identity, my current education background,  and of course, my career since I am in that awkward phase.

Now, what happens when the identity confronts with the major?
I personally have seen it happened so many times. And it is a bit disheartening especially after it becomes too often.

An example of a typical conversation in ASL...

Them: "Oh, congratulations on your graduation! What was your major?"
Me: "Interpretation"
Them: "Oh... do you want me to turn on my voice?"
Me: "Um, I am Deaf?"
Them "Huh? You said you are an interpreter?"
Me: "Yes. I am an interpreter. A Deaf Interpreter."
Them: "Are you bullshittin' me? What, how can you interpret if you can't hear?"
Me: (taking out her soap box, stepping up, and beginning her explanation about Certified Deaf Interpreters) "...and so, that is how Deaf interpreters work."
Them: "huh... so YOU are Deaf? I just wanna double check..."
Me: "D-E-A-F."
Them: "Huh... and you just graduated?"

Imagine this conversation a thousand times over. You can see why I am a bit disheartened. I love the profession of Deaf Interpreting, but really as it adds up, I do get a bit deflated when people question my Deafness or my career.

I do try to see it differently-- I am exposing the general population to Deaf interpreting and as always, awareness is important so I am just doing my part being a walking billboard for "Deaf Interpreter"...
You know those "THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE" products? We should get a similar slogan for all C/DIs out there-- "THIS IS WHAT A DEAF INTERPRETER LOOKS LIKE".

Next time somebody ask me about my career, my education, my whatever--
I will just say: "I am a story."
And proudly wear my black unisex tee with the new C/DI slogan.


billcreswell said...

Do you want to do a public post explaining it (or have you?)? I have heard of it, but not familiar with anyone who is, the degree, or what's involved.

gnarlydorkette said...

Bill> Public post explaining CDIs? I have done several posts in my blog and as well several vlogs about it. It is time for others to pitch in. :-)