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Self Portrait

Charlie's picture

My piece reflects specifically how I see my relationship with the hearing, hard-of-hearing, and deaf worlds respectively. I decided to focus on this because I felt that there was too much happening this semester for me to really be able to fit it into one piece, and because this identity is something that I have been thinking a lot about and exploring since coming to college and taking this class.

In the picture, there is a channel of water between an island to the left and a mainland on the right. On this water, there are several small sailboats anchored down along different places in the channel. To me, this represents how I see the hard-of-hearing community and my place within it. The island represents Deaf culture and the mainland is the hearing world, while all of the sailboats between them are the hard-of-hearing community, stranded between the two lands. I have begun to feel this sense of between-ness with my hard-of-hearing identity since taking this class and learning about disability culture and Deaf culture in general. Learning about these cultures opened my eyes to the fact that there is a sense of being and community beyond the hearing/able-bodied world, but even as I edge towards Deaf culture and identity, I feel an anchor, representative of my level of hearing loss, stop me.Because I can still hear, but I am not fully hearing, I am somewhere in that ocean between those two worlds. I have drawn the other boats because, though I have only ever met one other hard-of-hearing person, I have heard that this is not an uncommon sentiment in the HOH world. In the meantime, I hope that someday soon I will be able to meet that community of ships stuck between worlds.