Today, I had to make a decision. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do and for sure, it wasn’t the hardest either. But it was a life-altering thing. I’ve been learning ASL for about 3 years, and in that time I’ve taken private lessons, gone to many Deaf events, studied online videos, and made Deaf friends. Last winter, I actually went back to school for Deaf Studies. It was a fabulous experience, one that convinced me that I wanted more. I have even toyed with enrolling in a Gallaudet program next summer. Gallaudet is the foremost educational institution for ASL, Deaf, and interpreting studies in the country.
In a nutshell, I love to sign. I have no idea what I would do with any of this education, mind you. I’m already in the hearing care industry with a good company and am paid decently. I really have no desire to leave my job, but still, I have been drawn to becoming fluent in ASL for some mysterious reason.
I am registered to begin intermediate ASL in the fall. We lobbied hard for this class. Originally, it was a morning only program but we adults wanted it moved to evening so we could work and then come to class at night. Lo and behold, we did it. They changed the time for us! I also enrolled in a four day ASL summer immersion program that begins this weekend. When I want to learn something, I dive in and make it happen. I will move heaven and earth–whatever it takes. And it’s happening.
Fast forward to the past two weeks. News of my father’s progressing illness has changed everything. I found myself wanting to move things to the back burner. Things like ASL. Taking care of dad was the first thing that flashed in my mind. But quickly I realized that I would have to REALLY have to put pressure on my boss to let me take time off to go to this class, not to mention the homework I will have. That, in an of itself, seemed daunting. Suddenly, ASL didn’t seem so important.
I withdrew from the intermediate ASL class.
I feel a sense of relief, but I also feel a sense of loser-dom. Once again, I got distracted and something else took its place. My father is so much more important than any class, for certain. But in the way back recesses of my mind is this little stupid voice saying, ‘you’ll never excel at anything because you quit before you finish’. What is that about? Somehow, I feel like I should be proud that I made a decision to let go of something in order to care for my dad. But instead I feel shitty? How is that possible?
Because deep down, I made the decision not based on altruism but on ME. My inability to bob and weave the obstacles. My laziness. I’d like people to think I made the decision because I’m one hell of a daughter. But I’m not. I’m just tired.
When I got sober I made a decision to do it with honesty this time. I’m now realizing what that means. I do feel a sense of freedom for admitting my motives, so that’s productive I suppose. But I can also see how many lies I’ve told myself over the years. This isn’t going to be fun–this truthful thing. My lies are so embedded, so rationalized. It’s a bit like an imploded building. I am now in there with a hazmat suit, sifting thru the debris, looking for life.
Not easy, but someone’s gotta do it.