Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Going beyond my comfort zone

I am a shy person. You would never believe it if you think you know me. But I am. Those of you that do know me think back to our first meeting. Remember me saying much, or anything if our first meeting was in a large group? Large groups shut me down. I never know what to say or do.

My husband's work get togethers are certainly one of my personal circles of Hell. I try so hard to be witty but I just come off as trying to hard and super needy. My poor husband can not leave my side. I am a deer caught in headlights crossed with a bobble head, since I tend to smile and nod a lot in that situation. A bobble headed deer with huge eyes, it is not a good look for me.

A couple of weekend ago I stepped outside of myself. I attended an informal weekend at a Deaf camp. Apparently Deaf people are accustomed to seeing bobble headed deer. They welcomed us with out judgement.

Now my ASL (American Sign Language) skills are not well developed. I maybe know 5% of the signs and the real thing that throws me is that there seem to be many "accents." It is like handwriting in sign, no two people sign exactly the same way, or at least no two people I have seen. Some people look similar and are therefore easier to convert between and some are drastically different and are more difficult for me to read. Many signs may look similar but changing the motion changes the meaning.

Do you may see my meaning that even if I know a sign I may get confused and not recognize the sign?

So to sum up: I know only a small amount of the language, I may not recognize the "accent" of the person speaking and I may be confused and misinterpreting the actual words they're saying. So yeah to say I was out of my comfort zone is an understatement. That actually made the weekend easier. I don't think they expected me to make small talk. I was able to sit back and enjoy watching Deaf culture. So no pressure, I could choose to participate or observe.
On Saturday night we sat around telling stories and jokes. Most of which I did not understand. It was awesome to understand and recognize some of the stories. I even stepped out of my box and told a joke I had seen on the internet. I would never have stood up in a group of 20 people and told a joke to save my own life.

Thank you CM7 for showing me how to communicate and bond with others.

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