Define CODA.

IMG_0694

The other day I saw a post by a friend of mine, they had been posting similar things over the past month or so, out of a great sense of despair.

I identified with their struggle and suggested they sought counselling as I knew it would redirect them to the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, another post. More complimentary comments which were all true but not the answer they sought. Cyber friends cannot bring someone out of their depression as they are not qualified to do so. One can only reassure and when this wears off, more cries for help will inevitably be made. So once again, counselling was suggested..

Another day, another post. Someone else suggested counselling.

Another day, another post. Someone else once again suggested counselling but tailored for CODA’s. They identify themselves as a CODA of which, my sister is also one. This meant, they (finally?) listened..

CODA’s are forced to take on the role of being an interpreter (and then some) for their parents who happen to be deaf and in return tend to feel, they are the parent of their parent(s). This can sometimes make them feel “special” and above others.

Only natural.

But, what about deaf children of deaf adults, or hearing adults? Whichever way the situation is reversed, there is always another in the very same position, feeling the very same emotions. What exactly sets a hearing CODA apart from others who have also been forced to take on such a role?

Does this mean that being a CODA however you wish to identify with or define it, would not really make any difference to who the counsellor may be, due to the more familiar core issues being scratched, at the surface?

People should always retain the right to choose which counselling service they would prefer and most do advocate their right. It would mean then, they are “at home” with the counsellor and feel more or less, understood. Listened to. So long, both the counsellor and the patient are comfortable.

An example. 

If people wish to be specific, let them.

Just beware, of organisations taking advantage of one’s disadvantages.

I am more at home, with those who are prepared to step into other people’s shoes and walk at least a hundred miles in them. With those who are willing to keep an open mind and are not afraid, to explore the differing perspectives. With those who are willing to accept honesty, the truth and introspect themselves in order to improve. Otherwise…

Que sera, sera.

 

Being a child of deaf adults means we experience the same prejudices and take on the parental roles, regardless. Our life experiences may differ yet to a counsellor, the symptoms are the same.

Don’t forget, my parents are deaf. Therefore, I understand. My sister understands. My children understand. My friends, also understand. You (will) understand.

🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Dehumanization, Genocide & Apartheid

ethnocide

When one reflects upon several excerpts from the book, “Native American Justice” by Lawrence Armand French and several (recent) events of our world, the truth becomes worryingly evident.

Such a complex topic deserves to be explored in great depths backed up with what sadly seems to be endless, occurrences worldwide for our references. I sincerely apologise in advance for roughly scratching the surface here, in brief with a couple of examples.

Israel recently re-introduced a ban barring Palestinian worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem for Friday’s prayers under the veil of “security reasons”. It is another measure to cut the young Palestinians off from their cultural heritage. They also went on to introduce a policy to ban Palestinians from travelling on the same buses as the Israelis. On the other hand, such acts should be defined as another form of apartheid. Of which, South Africa is slowly recovering from.

These types of measures are stark reminders of what went on in the past by Colonial masters

The white settlers in America once implemented similar tactics in dehumanizing and removing the Native American tribes from their lands. They had also been banned from their places of worship. The non-Indians who wanted to move in onto their land very sadly supported this atrocity. This can also be reflected in the current ethnocide of the Australian Aboriginals and so on.

Laurence French (Native American Justice)
Laurence French (Native American Justice)

There are tribal communities all over the world who have seen their lands being invaded, finding themselves being stripped of and banned from practising their own culture, religion and languages. One of the common tactics used in the olden days was to send a religious missionary ahead of an invasion, to convert the people of the land to the proposed religion yet by converting them, they were also being taught a foreign language, to get them “ready” unbeknownst to them, for the invader’s hidden agenda.

Laurence French (Native American Justice)
Laurence French (Native American Justice)

The people of our world have oftentimes found themselves resisting attempts at their race, cultures, identities, religions and so on, being bred out. All the tribal communities at various stages in our timeline inevitably soon found themselves a minority. It is criminal, to invade another’s land, strip the natives of their culture and impose your culture, your language and your religion unto them to satisfy your greed.

Laurence French (Native American Justice)
Laurence French (Native American Justice)

Algeria fortunately in time managed to defeat the occupying French. In North Africa for quite some time, the main language at places of education was French, not Arabic, as one would have expected. A native Arabic speaking student had to go to school, to learn subjects via the French language. If they did not know French, they did not fare well so in order to do well at school, they first had to learn a foreign language, French, to carry out their studies within their native homeland. Fortunately, this is not the case today, the governments in time overhauled the education system and Arabic was re-inserted, replacing the teaching methods being taught in French.

If we keep venturing on back in the history of the world, one would find the invader or the oppressor has systematically introduced laws or policies to strip the indigenous people of their ethnicity by way of dehumanization.

History is vitally important to the people of the world who have much to learn from it and its faults in order not to repeat the same mistakes once more yet it still recurs to this day. These cunning tactics and mistakes are not new – mistakes are meant to be learnt from, not repeated. If ever the opportunity arises to right a wrong, take it.

It does not help either, when the media turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the truth on what is happening to the people of the world, today.

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Welcome, To My World

Seeing clearly how people throughout the world tend to engineer and manipulate situations to best suit and benefit themselves has left me feeling dispirited so much so that I find myself walking alone to pastures new. This is ok by me because I have no desire whatsoever to follow the (m)asses!

In order for people to help identify who they are, they fulfil a need to belong so will settle wherever they feel most comfortable and accepted. Hearing people do not face the same issues concerning communication yet a foreign speaking (hearing) person could relate most closely to the experiences facing barriers in communication that a deaf person would encounter albeit almost daily.

Within the deaf community, there is the signing community who may prefer to use sign language and the oral community, those who may prefer to speak or never learnt to sign. Whenever I meet a signing person, they automatically assume I am from a hearing family from the way I conduct myself. Whenever I meet someone from the oral community, they too automatically make assumptions yet on the opposite end of the spectrum. In both cases, the minute they learn I have deaf parents they are always rather overly surprised.

Being able to sign, speak and lip-read has meant I unfortunately experience even more conflicting emotions and situations. There is no middle ground for those in the minority, like myself. I am only trying to be who I am yet it is they who choose to make assumptions and create categories thus divisions. Welcome to their world.

I am tired, of feeling disenchanted and disappointed. There is no need, for people in general to continue playing what seems to be a trivial game (out of jealousy and contempt) and it is one that will do them no favours by the way they allow themselves to behave. Yes, “allow” because they cannot foresee or think outside the box thus giving permission. If only they could see the consequences of such actions, questioning themselves or others objectively they then would not allow it. At least, I would hope so.

As always with most everything, there is a balance.

Today, a complete stranger showed me kindness and offered a helping hand. It was extremely humbling to remember there are still genuine people around who have no agendas and nothing but a good heart. I mustered up the biggest glow from within and a smile to accompany it to show my gratitude. They relatively beamed. That familiarity of trying to make other people smile felt so good. I may be rather different to everyone else but once I have managed to make someone smile, I am home once more.

Welcome to MY world 🙂

Keep on smiling, for it is free and does wonders xx

Hubba Hubba
Hubba Hubba

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Each To Their Own

Everyone is different and what I am seeing from all the discussions about Alfie Durant, a boy being asked to remove his headband for a smarter school photo, is basically what people think the way forwards should be (based on their personal choices) rather than respecting the individual’s choice. All of which is in danger of being blown out of proportion.

If I say I would not mind taking it off for a school photo that is my choice. Others may want to leave it on, others may want to have both the choice of a photo with one and one without to decide on after – their choices entirely.

The school did go on to say in hindsight they could have done a photo with one and one without to choose from – they have all learnt from this just as the public is. There will be those who choose not to show their walking aids or glasses or etc. for a nicer photo to cherish – again, this is their choice.

Comments of which are critical or imposing people’s personal choices upon others will only confuse and question people’s own identities further… I can only say I would be very interested in this boy’s personal opinion when he is much older – in about 10 years’ time, which photo he would have preferred. As he is still very young and at a vulnerable point in time, feeling different of which the school photo will probably have contributed to but will not be the only contributing factor for once again, we do not know all the facts and it is dangerous to make assumptions.

Each to their own.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Deaf.

I happened to be in the vicinity of the National Portrait Gallery when I was notified that Grayson Perry had done a piece on the deaf community as part of his “Identity” series. This intrigued my friends and I so we seized the opportunity to view his art work – some of which resonated with us, especially the “Memory Jar” and “A Map of Days” which was rather unique.

The episode which portrayed Grayson Perry’s time and artwork as a result from having spent with selected members of the deaf community was being broadcasted the very same day, amongst his other research with other aspects of “Identity”. Once I saw the artwork that reflected the deaf community on display in the National Portrait Gallery, I just knew there would be a repeat of certain schools of thought, of which some will say is justified for their own reasons. I decided not to watch the said episode for my own personal reasons which was respected.

The Deaf.
The Deaf.

grayson perry 2

However, I suggested another piece of Grayson Perry’s artwork to my husband as I thought he would be interested in that aspect of Identity and he took it upon himself to watch the episode that featured Grayson’s research and the artwork. It happened to be shown in the same episode as “The Deaf”.

Subsequently we had a chat and I felt compelled to relay his thoughts to the rest of the Tree House dwellers for another angle on it all coming from a hearing person’s perspective.

My husband (who studied at St Martins Art College) says…

“As an artist it is not Grayson’s fault that he could not portray deafness very well because he is not deaf himself therefore could not grasp the true concept which is why his poster came out rather boring as deafness and sign language is very visual”.

On the other hand, my husband also felt “certain people who were chosen, were very selective in who they “grouped” with.” 

My husband then reminded me which I completely forgot about, how he did an identity project for his Masters as he is an “alien” in this country – One aspect of his project, he made a video of me signing and this video went up for debate amongst the students who were left feeling frustrated at not being able to understand and they dictated that he could not use this video because he was not deaf. He shut them up by saying it was part of identity and who he is, being an alien in this country – reversing the frustration back at them, at not being able to understand and/or follow a language.

It takes a lot for my husband not to like anything and what he perceived being presented via the deaf people in the episode was nothing new – to him.

I can only wish Grayson Perry had the opportunity to be exposed to a wider spectrum of the richer diversity within the deaf community so he could truly understand the issues that comes with deafness and our various communication abilities, skills and needs. There is no deaf culture or D/d per se – is there a hearing culture, H/h? Is there a blind culture, B/b? Let us not create any more division when there is no need or justification for it.

On that note, we would like to invite Grayson Perry and anyone else who may be interested in the deaf community to visit us at the Tree House, who would also be more than welcome to come along to any of our events in order to meet us for a truer insight into just who we are, a community that respects each and every one’s needs and their/our choices of communication methods which results in TOTAL communication. A community that respects each and every one for who they are and wish to be. A community that is inclusive of all.

But not one that would even dream of wishing a child would be born deaf.

Thank you for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)