Earlier this week I was putting together an online portfolio to keep better track of my work. As I selected a few posts that I’ve shared on here, I found myself writing a new one in my head about how far we’ve come (me and the girl who started this blog… and I guess you, too). I had an anecdote about my favorite elementary school teacher monologged in my head. Now it seems melodramatic but in short, my family moved to South Carolina when I was eleven. At my going away party in our small Minnesotan hometown of 4,000 people, my 5th grade reading and writing teacher gave me a set of books. Her parting words were something along the lines of, “I can’t wait to read yours someday.” For the following year or two, I exchanged letters with this teacher. She updated me about the latest with her kids (whom I babysat) and I updated her about my new school and friends. And at the end of each letter, she expressed how happy she was that I was still writing.
Eventually I stopped writing. I stopped writing to her, I stopped writing to myself, I stopped writing altogether. And then as you know if you’ve been reading this site since the beginning, terrible things began happening. I didn’t know how to express my hurt in any other way.
Four years ago I wrote my very first blog post here. I said, So here we are, 23-year-old Amy. Working as a sign language interpreter with a couple degrees under my belt. But there’s a voice in my head constantly making me question: does the Deaf community deserve better? Is my love affair with writing hindering my ability to grow and treat their language with the passion and the tenacity it deserves?
And I’m not sure if I’ve even announced it on this blog but these days, I’m writing full-time. This is a moment I’ve been writing about for my entire life. This is a milestone in my career that I never thought I’d reach. I still may not be the best writer, but somebody thinks I’m good enough. I now express my adoration for the Deaf community and culture in the form of advocacy and it feels right.
Last month I was at a funeral in that small Minnesotan hometown for a close family friend (even in happy posts, death prevails). My fifth grade reading and writing teacher was there and she updated me about the latest with her kids (whom I babysat and are now graduating college) and I updated her about my new home and my new fiancé. And at the end of our conversation I got to tell her that I’m writing again, and that now it’s my career. She probably doesn’t remember her parting words at my going away party 16 years ago. She might not even remember how much I used to love to write. But as I stood in the parlor of a funeral talking about writing with the woman who first told me I could do it, I felt that feeling that people often don’t let themselves feel. I was really proud of myself.