If we were having coffee, it would not be without first giving you a hug. I do love my hugs. Then I would tell you about this thing: #weekendcoffeeshare. I first noticed it on Lizzie and Dan‘s blogs, and I was intrigued. At first I thought it was a blogging series that they had started, a way to share their coffee stories online…but then I realised it was in fact a much bigger community. (Blame it on the fact that I took a break from blogging for over a year!)
If we were having coffee, I would actually be drinking a cup of tea. I mostly drank tea as a teenager, and had my very first cup of coffee when I was 16, in New York. It was a revelation, and when I returned to the UK, I was a latte addict! These days I still drink a lot of tea, and coffee (only lattes) is an occasional thing. The smell – and taste – of coffee can be far too strong for me, and in cafes I always ask for one shot when I can…otherwise you might catch me pulling a face at the bitterness.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am listening to music every day at the moment, like a religion. Some days, after putting my cochlear implant on, it is the first thing I do. I grab my phone, open the YouTube app, find my private (’cause, you know, there are some guilty pleasures) ‘CI Playlist’…and hit play. I guess you could say that music has been a huge part of my listening rehab the last few weeks. Music was definitely one of my wow moments on this journey so far – mostly for the fact that I could hear the songs I love, less for how it sounds (it’s good, but it’s getting better and better).
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I stepped out of my comfort zone this weekend. I pushed myself to be brave. I connected with some lovely souls. I rediscovered my deaf voice. The sense of – and concept of – my deaf identity has been immensely fluid throughout my life. I’ve never been alone, and I’ve always been in touch with deaf people in one way or another, but my deaf identity has grown and shrunk many times over. My deaf voice is not how I speak – or sign – but actually the way I perceive myself when I’m around other deaf people; it’s closely tied to my deaf identity. It’s the way I talk about my deaf experiences, it’s the way I put my story out there, it’s the way I respond to others’ stories. The whole thing seems complex, and it is, but I shall tell you more about it another time.
If we were having coffee, we would talk about the different situations I have placed myself in this weekend. On Friday, I slipped into the comfort of BSL, and signed away with old and new friends. On Saturday, I went to a pub for the first time with my cochlear implant. That was difficult, and I felt myself shrink in proportion to how much I could hear and join in. It was an all-too-familiar scene, but it got better. Something I have never been that great at doing is speaking up when I can’t follow, mostly in group situations; but those who know me well know that I have a certain look when this happens. I start to look around the group, and whoever catches my eye can normally tell that I’m not following and will often fill me in. For that, I am grateful. Even with the cochlear implant, I think groups will always be difficult – unless we’re signing.
If we were having coffee, I would talk to you about this week just gone. We would talk about the USA Presidential elections. We would talk about humanity. We would talk about the articles we have read. We would talk about divisions, and how we believe things will change – or not. We would talk about the work that is in front of all of us, the work of trying to bridge the gap between different points of view. We have reached the weekend, it has been half a week since the result. I’ve watched as the narrative and voices have changed this week, and it’s been inspiring during a difficult time. I hope that people are feeling – even a tiny bit – brighter, and have found the love and solidarity from those around them.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you how tired I am today. It is getting late here in the UK – almost 11pm – and coffee probably isn’t the best thing at this hour!
If we were having coffee, I would want to hear your stories. If you want, tell me. The comment section is always open, so write away; tell me about your weekend. Tell me about your week.