“I know I can be colorful
I know I can be gray
I know this loser's living fortunate
cause I know you will love me either way”
Finally given the opportunity to relax after a harried day, with the words to the above lyrics in live performance running through my head; I wrap my legs under me in my office chair and twist it around to stare out across the living room, out toward the bleak gray sky with skeletal winter branches stabbing skyward. My thoughts are lost in that frozen tundra beyond the window.
“Most were being good for goodness sake
but you wouldn't pantomime”
Shaking myself from my reverie, needing to write and finding myself all kinds of distracted, I glance down and break out in peals of laughter. Nothing so hilarious but perhaps to me, my feet were wrapped in opposing colors - one sock varying degrees of blue, the other shades of gray. I couldn’t tell you why this was so amusing to me, other than I was wearing mismatched socks.
Pickles sits up on her haunches and bats the air with her paws, entertained by my giddiness, causing me to laugh even more. While I laughed my hand crossed laying flat against my chest and I giggle. There you are, I thought. In this way I could hear something I had been missing, my voice - nestled in the heart of me. Oh sure, I could hear myself speak all the time. Although I’m not sure I want to be the deaf woman walking around with her hand over her heart, leaving people wondering if at any moment I might break out into a rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Later still I find myself needing a song, some kind of music to build the crescendo of the moment I’ve just written on the screen in front of me. You would think that discovering new music would have been an impossible task since I became deaf over five years ago. Amazingly no…If anything I find I appreciate the discovery even more now.
Keep in mind I was able to hear right up until I went deaf. Add in all the music versatility that I used to enjoy from one extreme to another, from a monk’s choir to punk rock and it’s not a hard stretch to imagine a new sound, no matter how different. With today’s technology it’s amazingly easy for a deaf individual to hear music in their own distinctive way. It’s all about bringing the other senses into play and recording them in your mind like an orchestra.
Having discovered lyrics I’ve never heard before, I’ll go in search of reviews of what the band sounds like. Are they hard punk or delicate strands of melody? Is there a heavy bass played? (Bass lends a louder acoustic sound that comes through a speaker or amp in a jovial vibrato).
When I’ve found what I need, I close my eyes and listen.
The candle gives off the scent of brisk evergreen reminiscent of a forest dew morning. I hear a complex song, a less gritty version of Nirvana. The latter a band I’m familiar with so it’s not really that much of a stretch, then I play the words I’ve gleaned from the lyrics to ‘Who I am’ by Smile Empty Soul in my mind.
“No one knows the way I feel a part of me I have to find
Buried somewhere deep beneath my skin
The emptiness in me is faded
And I can see my life is waiting
Now I know I’m living for who I am”
Did you hear it? Not only did I hear it, It gave me the edge I needed to feel for the protagonist in my latest story. She’s gritty and angry at the world - full of emotional overflow. She’s me and she’s not – writ across these pages.
Hearing despite being deaf for me was a skill honed by time. Just as time will hone these delicate strands of words I write into something we both hear. I learned by testing my boundaries and questioning everything. My world doesn’t subsist in the box deaf might have labeled me. Nor will my writing. It’s an extension of who I am. We – you and I live/write with the best parts of who we are.
*The first two stanzas were by the Verve Pipe from the song ‘Colorful’
*Pickles - my working dog for the deaf.
Picture from here