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Elena MF Ruiz Posts

to white Deaf people: going beyond “Deaf elitism”

disclaimers and intentions: 

I share from a place of being white, class-privileged, language access-privileged, able-/sighted-privileged, and hearing access-privileged (having speaking and residual hearing access), and I am largely addressing others who have these privileges, too- be them Deaf of hearing, solo-/mainstreamed, Deaf of Deaf, Deaf school alumni, and all within a U.S. context. But if you don’t have all these identities but see/feel yourself in what I discuss, you are absolutely welcome in this discussion.

I’m not claiming to be the authority on this or the persun with the answers or the persun who is “right” about all of this. I share what I share out of concern and a desire to get into the complexities- and have complex conversations with each other- and I think there should be many conversations happening all around. 

Despite a pattern I subscribed to before, I do not do call-outs towards individuals anymore. I am invested in repairing relationships in our community. I also feel the need to name patterns that I consider harmful- so we all can be more conscious in ending harm. It’s my hope with more awareness about these patterns, and with specific tools, we can transform the conditions in which harm has been happening.  

A follow-up vlog was produced a couple days after the release of this blog, and is found at the end of this post.

“Deaf elite/s/elitism” has had a persistent ebb and flow on social media, with discussions of who are they? How do we define them? What have they done and continue to do? At this point, it’s become clear that when we discuss “Deaf elite/s/elitism” we were discussing white Deaf people who have several other forms of privilege. What’s also clear to me is how these discussions have begun collapsing lots of important contexts and nuances into something often very over-simplified. The discussions also veered towards accusatory and punitive approaches, even from people who had the same privileges as the people they were calling out.

Understanding power, privilege, oppression, and dominance is essential in these conversations- knowing how to define systemic systems of oppression, the institutions and people that keep these structures intact with their power and privilege, and how many of us internalize thoughts and behaviors of dominance. This makes analyzing it all harder- as it should be! Once again, there are so many contexts at play, and these conversations cannot be neatly categorized. 

My reactions to the conversations that took place through the summer and to this day are outlined below in several parts: the “hidden” elites, the reality of internalized dominance and our forgotten roots, white people’s manipulation, and where we probably need to go next. 


the “hidden” elites

During the summer, I was really unsure of how to take how “elitism” was being framed- I strongly felt that something was missing the mark. So I tweeted about how I think people of my background are arguably “the elites” of the community, based on my own internal concept of “elites,” given my hearing-world background.  To use the format of understanding power/privilege/oppression/dominance: these social patterns and structures has us normalize what is in power, and informs us what is “normal” and “expected” and what to aspire to is not explicitly said but explicitly felt and known regardless. For many of us in the community, it’s hearingness that is normalized/expected/centered- and many of us go on to internalize it, embody it, and to seek out proximity or intimacy with it. (We try to make it our own- even while being victimized by it continuously.) In this way, hearingness is the wealthiest form of social “currency” among all of us: meaning, having this privilege – much like having “currency,” or money, gives us access to many things, spaces, and opportunities. This gives us an incredible edge in accessing spaces that among the most marginalized (sighted and abled Deaf) in our community do not- those who do not speak and hear, those who maybe struggle with literacy or not having much or any literacy access. 

What primarily sparked my series of tweets was how I saw conversations about “Deaf elitism” increasingly and unfairly peg anyone from a Deaf family who went to one of the several “big” Deaf schools and went to Gallaudet. All the while, many weren’t pausing and realizing that those of us who have this “hearingness currency” will also have it over those who don’t speak or hear and who are also are white, middle-class, Deaf of Deaf, and from a big Deaf school- those often classified as “elite” in our community. But we don’t name the “elite” nature of those of us who come from families with considerable wealth/assets/networks, who have speaking and hearing access, and therefore have access to a wide spectrum of hearing spaces, beating out most people in the community in terms of variety in employment and potential to earn more money. Having the social currency of hearingness- be it embodied, proximal, etc.- grants them the most access and therefore social mobility. Their families’ wealth come in time and time again, as do the networks. But they/we are not named as “elites” because they/we are afforded “invisibility” that comes with normalized models of power/privilege/dominance. 

While it’s important to get into inner-community definitions of “elite”- and I will, soon- one concrete example of the high value of “hearingness currency” is how many of us beat out people considered “elite” in the community in many jobs. Contrary to what many people believe about Deaf schools in entirety, the fact is that hearing people still predominantly make up the teaching body and administrative count. With the exception of a handful of Deaf schools that prioritize hiring Deaf people (AS WE SHOULD), Deaf people with astonishing proximity and embodiment of hearingness are often picked over Deaf who don’t speak and hear, who often are Deaf school alumni. This doesn’t necessarily only happen at a majority of Deaf schools, but rather in mainstreamed Deaf education, universities, disability rights organizations, and more. So I say once again: hearingness is an incredibly wealthy currency. We have not been naming it for what it is, and its harmful impact has been wreaking havoc for generations. We need to pinpoint this aspect as we talk about various community privileges, especially because anything hearing is the center, the norm, the expected. It cannot stay “hidden” any longer. 


remembering how we forgot

Despite what I thought of as the “hidden elites,” I also felt that a whole lot of context was missing from the inner-community definitions of “elites/elitism.” The current usage of the term, “Deaf elite” seems to define a group of people in the U.S. Deaf community who are white, sighted and abled, from class-privileged Deaf of Deaf families (especially whose parents have high-ranking positions in certain factions of the community), oftentimes with generational wealth at play (though “wealth” leaves a lot of room for interpretation), ASL-fluent, literate, educationally successful (later going on to earn advanced degrees), from “big”/renowned/thriving Deaf schools, often coming from large, insular Deaf communities which are often pejoratively called “Deaf bubbles, and who are attending at the very least, Gallaudet University (2nd+ generation students), oftentimes Kappa Gamma/Phi Kappa Zeta members (and Delta Epsilon and Alpha Sigma Pi, let’s not have them be off the hook, please, greek organizations are greek organizations), and are apt to go on to assume leadership positions within the Deaf community: likely at Deaf schools, Gallaudet (maybe even NTID? And at certain departments/branches at CSUN?), VRS companies, and/or advocacy organizations. Whew. What a list. 

Over time, I have come to believe in the practice of identifying nuance in many situations, and “Deaf elitism” is among those. I share the following, not out of defense or in hopes of dismissing people’s perspectives or experiences, but rather to see how popularized narratives can become more complex and expansive. I think a starting point is examining how Deaf people came together and built communities together. What’s often -again, pejoratively- called “Deaf bubbles” are often communities that come to rise around a thriving Deaf school- and there are a handful of Deaf schools that, within the past 1-2 generations, have been able to transform themselves out of hearing-run pits of audism and other forms of systemic violence into largely Deaf-staffed institutions, attracting a number of Deaf families. And it makes complete sense that this happened, given the degree of how we struggle with and suffer from systemic oppression and isolation, that Deaf people want to find each other and live among each other. 

I then think about what we name as “Deaf collectivism,” or how the Deaf community historically (and in some ways, currently) has had to rely on collectivist, interconnected behaviors in order to ensure group survival and the transmission of language and values. Information sharing is crucial. Telling each other where we could get gainful employment was a way to let each other know how to feed ourselves and our families. Which landlords are ok with renting to Deaf people. How to fix such and such around the house, or on the car, or where to get bus passes. When the next Deaf club or Deaf school event was so that we could convene and find joy in the daily struggle of surviving audism/oralism/ableism. This was the original “Deaf network,” or something I actually prefer to call the Deaf nexus, which emphasizes interconnectedness and how we had to be interdependent for our survival. The Deaf nexus is the reason why we have sign language(s), a set of cultural traditions/practices/stories, sites of cultural transmission, and much more. And back then, there were Deaf people who never knew that their lives could be dramatically changed if they had access to such community relationships and spaces. And of course, all these experiences became intensified with other marginalized identities a persun may have: be it being Black, Indigenous, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Queer, Trans, an Immigrant/of Color to the US, and so on. 

But there were a series of “cleaves” that threatened the ability to convene with each other- the advent of mainstreamed Deaf education (and fallacious “least restrictive environment” legislation), the rise of access (closed-captioning) and technology with the subsequent the decline and shuttering of Deaf clubs, the closure of many Deaf schools… and the Deaf nexus started becoming more scattered, in concrete terms and in terms of shared values. Again, this community disconnect caused us to be disconnected from ourselves and each other, and this applies to the Deaf nexus and collectivist values. We’ve disassociated from what compelled us to survive as Deaf individuals- we have survived because of each other. But we are forgetting. 

In some highly specific areas in the U.S., Deaf communities arose, but the Deaf nexus was not as present. Why is that? While I believe it is natural, and necessary even, for us to flock to each other, this flocking has become synonymous with different forms of internalized dominance. In our culture that is obsessed with power and dominance, as bell hooks has written about, the opportunity to gain power and dominance feels luxurious. Taking it even further, internalized dominance feels hella good when you battle at least one form of oppression daily. We often believe that the way to a better life includes things that will give us more power over others, often in the name of access; and access politics among the lines of language fluency, literacy, class privilege/wealth, employment networks, community visibility, become very apparent in the characteristics attached with “Deaf elitism.” Our internalized dominance led us astray; how, instead of remaining interdependent and interconnected, we adopted linear and hierarchical models of organizing, especially around notoriety, education, employment within communities we built with each other

For instance, when advances came in our social rights such as the ADA and Deaf President Now- the latter of which finally allowed more Deaf people to assume leadership positions after generations of being blocked by hearing people in being able to do so- more socioeconomic gains were attained through increased employment opportunities. This, combined with several Deaf schools taking the leap in drastically reducing the number of hearing administrators and staff and hiring Deaf people, meant that generational “wealth” slowly became a potential and a reality for several Deaf families. And again – not at all in defense of capitalism- the ability to accumulate wealth has been a near-impossibility for the vast majority of Deaf people through time and history, which really reveals the extent of economic disadvantages and barriers that we have had. However, most of the wealthiest white Deaf people in the community are wealthy because they are from white hearing families who have “old money,” or many generations of inherited wealth- and that is a wholly different ballgame than the few Deaf families who will be able to pass on some level of monetary and material assets to their children. 

We do need to remember that hearing people thinking we are completely inept and incapable has defined much of our historical and current experiences- Deaf schools, Gallaudet, and other spaces we consider “Deaf spaces” were and often are still hearing-dominant spaces. Only recently have some of these spaces become evened out with a Deaf/hearing ratio, and few are Deaf-dominant. In the case of Gallaudet following DPN, more Deaf people were finally able to start holding administrative positions at the university, and these patterns predictably followed structures of racial dominance and privileges, with white Deaf men and racially-privileged (e.g. light-skinned, having proximity to whiteness in their appearance) Deaf men of color, and white Deaf women assuming the ranks. The practice of hiring more Deaf people at some Deaf schools came with the big gain of decreasing toxic hearing presence on school grounds but also came with insularity (e.g. friends hiring friends) that barred others from having access to working at the school. So with gains, came gains in internalizing and propagating different forms of dominance at the expense of multiply-marginalized people in our community. This was the most drastic “cleave” of all, and I imagine that it is difficult to accept and know that we did that to each other- not hearing people. 

Our roots are a collectivist nature, but we followed, internalized, and practiced patterns of power and dominance, including white culture’s tenet of individualism. Individual successes became complex because it signified that the gap between those who were able to have or do x is widely inaccessible to the rest. We also as a community were very desperate and insistent on proving our humanity through our capability of doing things “just like hearing people can!” And in that, I have no doubt that we swallowed up the white-dominance agenda, the (now upper-) middle-class dream of a college education, salaried job, homeownership, academically successful and college-bound kids, and all that. This ideology is inherently exclusive. And right now, we’re being faced in how to dismantle it from the structures we exist in, and also within ourselves. And we must. We must return to and expand on our Deaf nexus values and practices, we must return home to each other. 

Tracking the context of access politics and privileges in our community helps me identify the specific components at play and what needs to be addressed outright and transformed. In having done this, I started to feel more and more how much I did not want to use the term “elite/elitism.” I say this because I also see the terms being a kneejerk label to define many different things, making it a very loose term. I have seen the term freely being applied to anyone who’s Deaf of Deaf, or just straight up associated with the Deaf of Deaf experience. I found this to be wholly irresponsible and erases so much nuance when it comes to racial identities (multi-generational BIPOC Deaf families), socioeconomic experiences (grassroot Deaf people), DeafBlind and DeafDisabled Deaf school alumni, educational levels, textual language access, sign language deprivation (many of us know a couple oral Deaf families- and not all of these family members had hearing access). I also want to venture to say that I sense a dire lack of recognition and gratitude for those who are Deaf of Deaf and who have been among the stakeholders of Deaf schools – because of them, we have the language and community that we have today. There are a lot of things that have to be addressed, taken down, amended, redistributed, and made better- absolutely- but we also have to recognize that altogether shooting down Deaf of Deaf and Deaf schools that effectively fought back and won against hearing dominance is not going to lead us anywhere. And I wonder, among white Deaf people from my background, if we over-apply these frameworks of “elitism” in such ways out of serious envy and misplaced rage towards our hearing families, and our missed-out experiences- not realizing that we are dragging our own community members instead of directing our feelings to the original source of hearing people and systems.

The fact is, many of us white Deaf people have astounding levels of privilege, be them from multigenerational, class-privileged families who steer a Deaf school or aspects of Gallaudet, or folks like me, from well-off hearing families with vast professional networks. Both types fit the definition of “elite” but there are some serious differences here. So does the term really serve us well? No, not really. 


white people. 

In time, hella white Deaf people were starting to come out in droves about [other white] “Deaf elites”- their experiences with them and their eager usage of the term to define behaviors and situations of social exclusion in classroom, cafeterias, student organizations, dorm rooms, and other community spaces. The behaviors of the “elites” were defined within a range of exclusive snobbery to cruel “bullying.”  

[To clarify my use of quotations: we exist in a culture that normalizes different forms of abuse, and among the most common is what we call “bullying” but really is a form of abuse that we more or less take as something that just happens in childhood and carries over to adulthood in different spaces- the normalized abuse that it actually is is a symptom of our disconnectedness from ourselves and each other, a distancing that causes us to minimize the very real negative impact we can have on each other, often in the context of a behavioral and/or generational cycle.]

First, we white people are always awful to each other and even worse so to others. Because white people. (Our ancestors and predecessors set the stage and most of us just follow along until we begin to gain authentic consciousness.) Many white Deaf and hearing people are directly responsible for upholding white supremacist cultural practices in many of our community spaces, traumatizing scores of people. This is real and we need to get into it, like a serious restructuring of all of our community spaces. 

And can we name some nuances of the human experience here? Again, not to dismiss or invalidate, but bring in perspectives that have long been unrecognized or even outright refused. Many white Deaf who grew up in the community spotlight, deemed “elite,” have often been targeted in ways that are damaging, hurtful, and (re)traumatizing. And this behavior isn’t just propagated by peers- oftentimes Deaf adults- yes, whole, grown adults- liberally participate. Some examples are:


  • community members sharing (mis)information freely about children, resulting in a sheer lack of privacy 


  • slut-shaming, or weaponizing girls’ or young queer children’s sexuality against them


  • extensive gossiping, fictitious and damaging rumors, often preventing those targeted from seeking out and receiving community support


  • repeating and recycling the above narratives from childhood/young adulthood, inhibiting people’s ability to show their personal growth


How would you feel if you as an individual, or perhaps your whole family, had to endure all of that your whole life? Naturally, you may have developed a very understandable wariness and guarded nature out of needed self-protection. This has often been translated as “snobbery” or “bad vibes,” completely without context of what many often had to withstand within their communities. (And some of this wariness can also be rooted in cautiousness about newcomers to the community, who have not recognized their internalized audism and destructive behaviors- I am especially thinking of those who are children or grandchildren of survivors of oralism, who hold intergenerational trauma in their own psyches and bodies, too.) 

And many community members have a weird relationship with the term and concept of “elites,” putting them on a very public pedestal: they are admired and envied for having language access, many more opportunities for confidence-building and leadership, and for having a solid circle of longtime friends. On this pedestal, many other community members believe they are afforded full access to them at any time- often causing situations where boundaries are dishonored, and also misinterpretations of people who maybe weren’t having a good day- and then they get slammed for being “elites” who are “exclusive” and “unfriendly,” which people believe is a good basis for propagating harm towards them! Most people will defend their doing this kind of violent, targeted behavior by saying “well, they’re elite!” And? Do you want to continue normalizing this behavior? If so, do you want to end up on the receiving end of such treatment? That’s apt to happen if we continue normalizing it. This is what unhealthy cycles are made of. And on a community level, we already are: the kids are watching and learning from what we’re doing, and we already have a younger generation that thinks that this is perfectly normal and acceptable to do, despite the fact that it will traumatize each one of us if we have to endure it. 

There seems to be a constant call to “own up to being elite” from other white Deaf people who have their own set of privileges. What does this mean? Do you know? What do you want them/us to do specifically? Do you want us/them to “stop being elite”? Do you want having Deaf parents and grandparents to be something to apologize for? For a handful of Deaf schools to be scorned? (What will we say if each shuts down one after the other in the future and we did nothing except have these tired conversations?) What exactly is being called upon to stop? Do you want scores of public apology videos about being “elite”? Are you gonna do some too, based on your own privileges and internalized dominance? Or do you really, on some level, really want past conflicts to be resolved, once you move out of painful but comfortable victimhood? 

[I say the following not in the context of long-term, ongoing abuse.] When we experience harm and/or trauma, these are real experiences. Many of us are hurting- yes because of hearing people, audism, ableism, and also because of each other. What does this mean for our overall community health? For sure we are stuck in a number of destructive cycles. I very much feel a sense of “stuckness” among many of us. And that “stuckness” is often victimhood. In my own personal experience, victimhood can convince us to constantly demand validation from others- replacing personal and collaborative efforts for healing. Victimhood also tells us it’s okay to lash out on others, in fear of being hurt once again. So imagine, all of us being really hurt people who slip into some serious asshole modes. Assholes are in every group and every community. Assholes cause harm. Remember- we live in an overall culture that encourages asshole behavior, and even asshole identities. Most of us have had asshole moments. Some of us have been outright assholes. Some of us are still assholes. Lots of us want to stop being assholes- because we don’t want to receive shit from other assholes. The lines between harmed and harmer are very blurred among many of us, with how much we’re having to endure, and the cycles we’re stuck in.

There is a way to confront past situations where harm happened to us directly and collectively without dragging people publicly, fueling a spectator culture – usually weaponizing social media in the process-  exacerbating conflict without any repair. Do you feel the call for a movement toward resolution, recovery, repair, for our community health? 


what now? 

Toward the tail end of the summer, I started to think that the use of “elitism” among white Deaf people likened something like a desperate will to keep using an old, falling-apart bag to cram everything into. A bag that is nearing the end of its life, seams unthreading, holes here and there, little grip and hold left. But because we’ve had it for SO LONG and it’s carried SO MANY THINGS, we MUST STILL USE IT. I’ve seen everything crammed all up in there, from racism, toxic masculinity, fatphobia, the role of CODAs in the community, mainstreamed/Deaf schools,  How can one “bag” encompass all of that? It can’t! 

I understand that there are also many people who genuinely believe that their use of the term “elite/elitism” is an effort to name power dynamics in the community, and to make progress in dismantling that. But the more we examine the use of “elite/elitism,” it becomes obvious that we still need to address all forms of systemic oppression present in our community, be it white supremacy, audism and internalized “hearingness,” toxic masculinity, class privilege, ableism – vidism – vidaudism, cissexism, and so much more. Many things are thrown into this bag, and then the bag, leaking and falling apart, is swung around in retaliation, with all the important details falling out on the way to impact- making it a weaponized tool for white Deaf people’s personal pain. The word “elite/elitism” ends up being largely performative. It prevents us from naming, identifying, and tackling specific things in our community, and I do not believe that this term is supporting our efforts toward healing. 

All of this is why I won’t be using the terms “elite” or “elitism” myself as a white Deaf persun with a staggering amount of privileges. I will not be putting people on that strange, harmful “Deaf elite” pedestal when it is divisive, reflective of personal pain, and neglects the actual dynamics of power/ privilege /oppression /dominance at play. I, like always, will continue to name, analyze, change behavior around, and be receptive to being called in/out about my many privileges. Naming and acting on specific acts of power/dominance/privilege is crucial– and the process of naming can happen through us sharing information, resources, and tools with each other. Perhaps some will think that not using the term will mean that many things won’t be effectively named and confronted, and I would understand that reaction. I do believe that our ability to create new languages to explain our pain and struggle is infinite, not finite, and our potential to find each other again by prioritizing direct communication and building relationships remain untapped. 

We’re all connected to each other in this community, even if we’re finding our way back to each other. (And I am beyond grateful that we still have a community to return to – with all that threatens our existence. My gratitude extends to those who have kept Deaf culture and community alive all these generations.) We are still disconnected. This is impacting our overall community health, which has long been suffering. Why else are we not talking to each other? What if you let yourself imagine that in this world, resolution efforts are possible? What if you knew you could organize something small scale with the people you know – and the degrees of familiarity and proximity are always small numbers, never large, for us in the community- to reach out and talk things through with the people you believe harmed you years before? What if we started believing that people, most of the time, are capable of transformation? What if we turned to each other more often, saying “hey, I didn’t feel good when you did/said that, can you please tell me why things happened like that?” What if we checked in and clarified exchanges and allowed more room and opportunities for repairing situations? Are we ready to do personal and collective processing together? Do we want facilitated Zoom sessions, facing some real shit head on? Maybe if we habitually did this, we could shift from scathing “call-out culture” and towards “learning in public”* together?

In the spirit of Emergent Strategy, we are all interconnected, even if we forget that, or un/consciously distance ourselves from this reality. In distancing ourselves from our inherent interconnectedness, we fill up the gaps with critiques and disdain that widen the gulfs we construct. I cannot help but feel this is exactly what we are doing here- we are getting stuck in certain emotional mindsets of our (real) pain and going on to project it onto others, using said pain to justify our words and actions. But what if we became more responsible in this process? What if we remember our interconnectedness? The Deaf nexus? Would that inspire us to seek out repairing connections rather than intensifying disruptions? What if we started moving with and around each other in the way of, “if you are harmed, we all are harmed. We help you repair and recover so we all repair and recover.”

Right now, we are at “elite/elitism.” And what is beyond this point? I think there are directions, spaces, opportunities that hold much more. In those, could we create and commit to new intentions? Could we name and confront all forms of injustice, and the ways we get hurt and hurt each other? Could we dedicate ourselves to restoring community health? Could we trust the complex process of transformation through individual and collective healing?

What will it take for you? I am here. Are you? Are we?


*  I saw  “learning in public” from adrienne maree brown in this piece



ASL Summary:

[Captioned in English; access information found in YouTube link description.]



This vlog was created two days after the release of this blog. [Captioned in English; access information found in YouTube link description.]


Surviving [being] Deaf from Hearing

disclaimers and intentions: 

My experiences of being DoH [Deaf from hearing] are embedded in my privileges of being white, upper-middle-class, sighted, abled, literate, having one parent who signed, and speaking/residual capabilities/“hearing access.” It would be irresponsible for me to name my experiences of pain and struggle without also naming the privileges that shaped those experiences, too.  

There may be some DoH who have happy, healthy, functional, accessible relationships with their family of origin, despite them not signing, and with other non-signing hearing people. If this is you, that’s great! I’m glad for you. Also please consider that that is your experience, and what this post shares is my own and potentially many others’ as well. The expression of this truth does not have to be a threat to your own. Both can exist simultaneously. 

I do not consider CODAs to be part of the group that I name as “hearing people.” 

Most of what I share is nothing new- so many of us have brought forward these experiences and truths throughout our time on Earth. Given this context, it will not be my goal to presume that I am bringing novel ideas to the table- rather, I am adding to the collection.

Humans suffer, and there are multiple truths in suffering. One persun’s* suffering causes another persun’s suffering- what we know as the cycle of violence. I think cycles of violence take on different forms- spiritual, psychic, psychological, corporeal, and so on. Systemic oppressions flow down easily to our interpersonal relations, stretching across the generations. I am keenly interested in interrupting as many of these cycles as I can in my lifetime and those to come after mine. 


Deaf from hearing, hearing-family Deaf, only-Deaf. We always see that statistic, that 90-95% of us come from hearing families, most of whom meet a Deaf being for the first time through their child. 

You’d think with this reality, that we’d have more awareness and opportunities in pinpointing just how that impacts us in profound ways throughout our lifespans, from confused lonesome days in early childhood, the lashing-out agony of adolescence, the disconnected haziness of early adulthood, the wayward meandering paths of mid-life, or the rapid isolation of the twilight years. But I don’t really think we spend enough time getting into this- maybe it’s because it’s too painful, or our hearing families would lord it over our heads (we did so much for you! how could you), or we’d inadvertently welcome the troops of parents and institutions endorsing oralism to invade our processes of becoming/self-actualization, or maybe it’s simply because we do not have access to care networks that enable us to work through all this pain. Maybe it’s some of these or all of these at the same time. 

Though suffering is found among us all- in an astonishing array of types and degrees- I believe we suffer because we come from hearing families, and this suffering looks specific kinds of ways that far too often go overlooked within our community. Perhaps one context is that we have our focus set on proving our suffering to outer forces- hearing people and hearing-world- without turning around and recognizing what needs to be addressed among our own. With that, what is hearing-family suffering? How do we suffer with coming from hearing families? And what would it look like if we started, on a community level (read: not leaving it to academia to produce dry journal articles with main points lost in dense, formulaic writing) identifying and naming the patterns that emerge in coming from this background? What if identifying and naming the patterns led to greater self-awareness that interrupted several persistent cycles that take place in our community? 



I like to say that my Deaf age is 12. Way different from my actual, physical age. (What’s your Deaf age?) This is so because I became self-actualized – like for real, for real, no “trying it out,” then speedily backing out and zipping back to the twisted, hearing-dominant reality that I was codependent with for so long- as a Deaf persun at age 23. The reason? Astonishing Deaf self-hate. 

Growing up was a really weird mix of being groomed to hate Deaf people, and ultimately, myself. I think that among families who hold the privileges I do, there is a formula that guides how our lives are shaped: 


White Supremacy + Bodily Normalcy + Audism/Phonocentrism/Oralism + Capitalism 

Many folx have written and published on how the ideologies and practices of the above, and how they are all interrelated. The compact version: white supremacy centers the white body, its features, its looks, in tandem to an abled body that hears, speaks, sees, walks, has all limbs, regulates emotions according to social norms/expectations, processes and outputs information speedily and effectively in order to participate in a for-profit economic system that encourages trampling over many for individual success. 

[Note: I often think this is why we see a ton of the “poster children” for oralism and CIs [cochlear impants] coming from affluent white families, and how these organizations and institutions market oralism and CIs to families who don’t fit that mold, very much psychologically playing on social ideals for their own industrial profit. We can’t really dissect the CI/oralism industrial complex without also centering race and capitalism as well as bodily normalcy and audism-phonocentrism-oralism. It is all a part of an exacting, intentional web of powers/dominance. More on that another time.]

I view systems of power as the structures that trickle down to our internal lives, carried out by those around us, and eventually, ourselves. For example, the formula above underlies much of how the system of education is set up. The normalization, the social stratifications, the meritocracy. The fact that “progress” in Deaf education was attached to individually “mainstreaming” Deaf children with hearing children- solo-mainstreaming- causing deep fractures among the Deaf community that are still felt and unmended today, including the dwindling state of Deaf schools. This attack on Deaf schools has very much impacted the Deaf nexus [the Deaf nexus is what I call the sense of interconnectedness through other Deaf beings, a way of combating social and internal isolation- throughout history and especially now, the Deaf nexus is fundamental to our group survival], interrupting our potential to be at a site of cultural and linguistic transmission, and to grow into adulthood with a strong sense of being interconnected with many others. Instead, we were isolated away from Deaf children and adults and the costs were high. And so, so, so tragically- this systemic tearing-apart is not recognized for what it truly is, not among policy-makers, school districts, “specialists,” teachers, parents, and even ourselves.  

The normalization agenda is strong and is so deeply attached to other systems of power. So imagine what white middle-class (or above) hearing families encouraged among their mainstreamed Deaf children, particularly with solo-mainstreamed kids like myself (and so many others). Over time- through my own personal processing and community observations- I’ve come to realize that there is absolutely such a thing as Special Snowflake Mainstreamed Kid Syndrome. Yes. In this context, stoked by the multiple systems of power and the people who internalized and carried them out, mainstreamed Deaf kids/teens likely acquired tremendous internalized audism -or dominance- and used such tools to distance and elevate themselves from/above other Deaf people. The more residual hearing we had (and could utilize), the better. The closer to normative speaking we could get, our overall human value increased. We were taught that “Deaf stupid that “mainstream so much better than Deaf schools/mainstream ed so much better, Deaf schools only good for social” and we began to believe it. We prided ourselves on our clearer (??) speaking voices and our englishized signing, or “PSE” (not even a real thing). We derided ASL-fluent Deaf people, often who are from Deaf families and Deaf schools. We believed our value as Deaf people was contingent on the fact that we had excellent English (once again, “so much better than Deaf school kids”). All these mistruths were planted by hearing people and probably Deaf adults who internalized those violent concepts as well. Then all along the way, we were distanced further and further from the Deaf nexus, at the hands of adults and professionals, and eventually, ourselves. Everything we did to other Deaf kids and adults was a reflection of how much we hated being Deaf ourselves, and our harmful attempt to distance ourselves from our own bodily reality. We were children, yes. We didn’t have a choice, yes. It’s not our fault, yes. Ultimately, the reality is, as young/adults we have all this shit to work through and cleanse ourselves of. But how many of us do that? 

Special Snowflake Mainstreamed Kid Syndrome is built upon systems of power/dominance which creates and feeds Deaf self-hate, which goes on to projected onto the most vulnerable and minoritized Deaf community members. What it’s also built around is total co-dependency on hearing people and hearingness. We are nothing without evidence of our relationship and access to hearing people and institutions- these are measures of our “success,” how we “overcame” being Deaf. So while we internalized tons of dominance that we metered out through our thinking and behavior of other Deaf people, we also were greatly suffering by having hearing people and institutions dictate so much of our personhood. Think about it: we became dependent on people who we don’t even have full access to, whose sensorial experiences of hearing were not of our own sensorial experiences of not hearing. Because we had been systemically and personally disconnected from the Deaf nexus, we had no choice but to be codependent on hearing people and hearingness. And this disconnect often causes us to be disconnected from ourselves, a scattered nature that we try time and time to corral and mend, not understanding that we need to reconnect with each other. 



So many of us can provide exhaustive lists of the fuckeries that came with having hearing families and being mainstreamed. So many! We deserve to name the ways we have been impacted. Nevermind the fact that we will still be called dated terms like “Deaf militants” and -manipulatively- be blamed by hearing people who are new parents to Deaf babies/kids for why they didn’t “choose the Deaf community.” I believe we have a responsibility to name it all so that the next generation (because the vast majority of their parents are still not going to listen to us) can realize that they are not alone- and more importantly- that we’ll be waiting for them. 

I’d like to share a few of the ways being DoH and being solo-mainstreamed impacted me: 

Codependency on hearing people 

With how our system is set up, Deaf bodies warrant constant hearing-intervention, beginning with the doctor + the audiologist. Our bodies are subject to scrutiny, measurement, and the concept of “fixing.” And as mentioned before, the way we are educated- read: how we spend the majority of our upbringing- is derived from such practices. We begin and continue on with being at the will of hearing people. For those of us who grew up with constant interventions from hearing people, we often come to believe, often unconsciously, that hearing people’s individual and social expectations and measurements of us are how we should live our lives. Without these narrow rubrics, we wouldn’t know our inherent value of ourselves the way we naturally are. 

I had many instances of approaching entry into the Deaf community growing up, but would often stray away, opting to try (and fail miserably) at “passing” somehow among hearing people. [I really could not pass, but I amazingly convinced myself I could for 22 years. That level of self-deception and -distancing would be impressive if it did not cause so much traumatizing disconnectedness.] But, the pursuit of “passing” was never rooted in me, myself- it was always locked into the desire for hearingness, embodying it and receiving approval from it. When I let myself free-fall into my Deaf enculturation after being physically Deaf** for 22 of my 23 years of life, it still took me around another decade to recognize the hooks of hearingness in my psyche and to dislodge them. I began to let myself go deeper into understanding myself and my life’s trajectory as a Deaf persun, a sensorially diverse body, I let myself listen more keenly to those who were equipped since birth in navigating a hearing-dominant world without throwing violent lines at them, such as “you’re from a Deaf bubble.” I began to understand that we will not get anywhere as a marginalized group in search of access and rights as long as we allow hearing people to be at the helm of such directions. I allowed myself to be cautious with how and to what degree hearing people are in my life. I let myself to do all of these processes in conscious resistance towards the swell of hearingness that suffocated me for most of my life. And for awhile, I wondered if all these feelings and practices fell into the realm of separatism… but now I believe this is boundary work, boundarying with hearing people- which could be temporary phases in our lives, or actions we will do here on out. Do we know that we have the choice to do this? 

Social-emotional delays

My social-emotional awkwardness approaches epicness. Most of my childhood/pre-/teen memories come with body-hunching moments of cringing. Okay, and also many moments of adulthood. I do believe this comes at the expense of my not having consistent, accessible social experiences with Deaf peers. Had I grown up with other Deaf children, with full language access, so many things would be different. I remember my first day sub teaching at a Deaf school – this was my first cultural immersion experience at age 23- and walking out during the elementary kids’ recess time and realizing for the first time in my life- holy shit. Look at all these kids signing and playing and fighting and making up and playing together. What does that even feel like? How sacred is this? How sacred are Deaf schools? All these opportunities to exchange information, to practice conflict and resolution, to experience full ranges of emotions with one another, to know that you aren’t really ever alone? (Of course, this isn’t to say that the fact that Deaf kids are all together means everything is just great. It means that the potential is there for all of us to be great, and I believe we can get there together, once we individually and collectively work on our shit.) 

I’ve had to learn many social skills embarrassingly late (meaning like as recent as a few months ago- ok, maybe even like, last month). This is because the feat of my intelligence, literacy, and normalization took center stage before my social/emotional opportunities and eventual wellness. When in reality, we are social creatures who need each other, particularly in informing each other how we can survive this world interconnectedly. This is the impact of the disconnect from the Deaf nexus. 


I believe that growing up DoH in the context of little-to-no sign language access causes constant activation of flight/fight/fawn modes that wreak havoc on our nervous systems/brains. Earlier this year, I made this connection to the anxiety I’ve been experiencing, which seemed to increase year by year. It may seem obvious to some, but yes- of course I would constantly be on guard [fight] for something unpredictable to happen, constantly scanning my environment for what my brain translated as a landscape of threats. This habit found its way to my general approach to life, nicely creating a Generalized Anxiety Disorder scenario. My nervous system has been run ragged after all these years! And this absolutely influences our ability to emotionally regulate. 

My mother is the only one who signs in my family-of-origin.  I remember from a young age, furtively and deeply freaking out any time she left a room or social situation. (This reaction still happens to this day, though I am learning to not gaf.) The idea of having to converse with someone who I may or may not understand in the spoken modality gripped my whole core with fear and anxiety. Recall my desire to hearing-pass [fawn]- this made up a persistent anxiety/tension of being “outed” as not understanding a speaking hearing persun, even if I was biologically related to them. 

In my own home, I didn’t have access to my parents’ conversations or their conversations with my older brother- I just heard constant nonsensical murmurations that I learned to accept for years before I realized this droning sound flips a rage-switch in me. This droning sound reminds me of the basis of my information anxiety, which also could be considered access anxiety***. Knowing on some level that I was losing the luxury of incidental learning through casual listening, this rage-switch was dormant for most of my life, surfacing as a borderline obsession to gain access to different forms of knowledge (and having literacy privilege in being able to do so). 

As I entered my 30s, I realized that my Hearing People Anxiety -HPA- had reached astronomical levels. I didn’t- don’t- want to be around them [flight]. During visits to the doctor’s office, my blood pressure will soar- between having to contend with medical professionals and subpar interpreters, I am utterly miserable and stressed out. I leave it to my partner, who’s Deaf of Deaf and does not speak or hear, to interact with hearing people- even though we usually imagine that people of my background, being so keenly socialized in hearing-world, would be the one to interact with hearing people at ease, but nope! Eldery family member? Little hearing kid at the playground playing with my kid? [I have never been able to understand hearing eldery folks and little kids.] Grocery cashier? Host at a restaurant? Someone asking for directions? Well-meaning neighbor? Please keep them away from me, I’m dissembling into an awkward, avoidant mess! (I am working on this, but also honoring my process of hearing people-boundarying.)


Of course we’re angry. 


Our victimhood is real. A ton of unfair shit went down. For those of us who get to a place of meta-awareness about all of what we’ve had to survive and now have to contend with as adults, it is often too staggering and it in no way helps that we don’t have publicized models of how to survive healing from such wounds. We don’t know what the way out looks like. Do we then stay in those deep wells of victimhood, making a home in those dank corners, scooping out sludge to throw onto others when we are reminded of our wounds? 

I say yes. 


Lashing Out

When I entered the Deaf community by way of working at a Deaf school, really, I was no one. People didn’t know who the hell I was. I didn’t like it. I expected – wanted– to be welcomed with wide open arms, “you’re finally here!! Ahh, so glad! Let us show you all the things!” Especially with having walked along the margins for so long. And so when we are ready to bust on the scene, many of us have this (unfair) expectation, which is often rooted in some very impressive measures of entitlement, usually informed by the social privileges named earlier. After all, I was a special snowflake [-MKS]. 

My absence from the Deaf nexus led the community to question me, and naturally so. The questioning became more intense because of the way I signed- an englishized mess, while not my fault, but still indicative of my toxic cord with hearingness. This is the reality of it. Despite my nascent hyper-victimization, I thankfully had some measure of awareness that I had to humble myself and prove myself as an “outsider,” especially with all that I internalized. Maybe my having at least some awareness about outsider/insider dynamics of marginalized cultures was a big help? It very well may have been, though to a point. 

While working at the Deaf school, I noticed that people connected to one another with such ease, even those who weren’t alumni of the school. During the Deaf Film Festival that took place on school grounds in 2009, following a preview of a promo film for Gallaudet, I saw it- a main strand among this web was Gallaudet itself. Some months later, I applied and got accepted into the Ed.S program, and I was off to “become more Deaf” (my words). A year later, I was on university grounds and raging about how hearing-dominant the “one liberal arts college for the Deaf” was. The more awareness about hearing people fuckery, the more I began to rage. But I couldn’t get to the root source of my rage. Because of my muddled internal state, things started to change. Instead of keeping my focus on hearing-dominance, I turned and became highly- destructively- critical of the community. I pointedly bashed “Deaf of Deaf” from “elite Deaf schools,” decrying their “networks.” The anger that guided these responses were rooted in pure envy and resentment, given my unaddressed pain and trauma from hearing people. And though I had close relationships with those from such backgrounds, I demanded that we had long, repeating conversations where I wanted to name the injustices of how we came from different backgrounds. (But why did I hold Deaf of Deaf responsible for my own pain? They were and are not the direct actors of causing all of that for me, for us. This is an important distinction for us all to make, and to shift our focus back on hearing dominance.) Some obliged with such conversations but with others, bridges were burned that have still yet to be rebuilt. I also took to social media to air my grievances, with more bridges burning away. Oddly, my rage and hyper-victimization carried me through an entire graduate program in Deaf Cultural Studies, and in the years after I graduated, I found myself repeatedly regressing into hearing codependency. Mess. 

In retrospect, I can name the dynamics at play during that time. The auto-plane of myself is of white and socioeconomic privileges that converge with my bimodal (speaking + text)  English language access privileges. This is true. Also true is multi-pronged suffering from hearing-dominance. What is also further true is how I irresponsibly misdirected my personal pain to subjugate and silence Deaf people who are from Deaf families, native sign language users, “big” Deaf school alumni, and so on. (And this still happened despite my preliminary humility upon entering the community! Imagine those who did not start from a place of humility and great effort to recognize how they had been imprinted by hearing dominance, and their own paths of misguided retaliation.) I believed myself as entitled to showcase my anger towards other white, middle-class Deaf of Deaf. And my own white, middle-class and other privileges structured my entitlement in how freely and recklessly I expressed my anger- and there are few situations more dangerous than a persun with abundant privileges acting from a place of angry hyper-victimization without awareness of how their privileges shape how they take up space and treat others.

At that time, my increasing hyper-victimization had me recall several memories of white Deaf folx from such backgrounds being at most “cool” with me rather than warm and welcoming as [false] “proof” of “Deaf of Deaf privilege” and “elitism,” and called their behavior exclusionary. Those select few then became responsible for representing Deaf of Deaf people as a whole in my mind, and I portrayed them all in a negative light. After all, they didn’t give me what I believed I was afforded! [SSMKS.] I was haphazard in naming “Deaf of Deaf privilege,” despite the reality that BIPOC Deaf of Deaf or grassroot Deaf of Deaf have starkly different experiences than a select number of multi-generational upper/middle-class white Deaf families. I viewed them as the enemy rather than cultivators of the Deaf nexus, people who I could be in both personal and community-oriented relationship with. This is not to say that there aren’t any assholes in the whole Deaf community, but rather that my insistence on my victimhood and emphasizing the differences between myself and others in the community became the basis of destructive, projected trauma. This is what hyper-victimization brings, the falsehood that we are righteous with being irresponsible with our pain. And I/we do all of this to members of our community than gathering our valid pain and rage and directing it towards the systems that harmed us. 

And the thing is, I am seeing the younger generation with privileges like mine engaging in such behaviors. Entitlement. Audiences demanded (and gotten) for trauma theater. Individual negative experiences becoming the responsibility of entire groups in our community. Claiming that they’re viewed as “not Deaf enough” without any personal accountability for embodying byproducts of hearing dominance. This is a cycle that has gone on and on in our community, and I’d like us to begin the process of undoing and repairing. 



After years and years of existing within and living from my victimhood, and weathering the natural consequences that came with many, many burned bridges and connections, somehow the tides began to turn, questions arising within me such as

what if this isn’t the complete story? 

what if this is one part of many? 

what if I have to compel myself to step outside of myself, to be able to perceive all the parts? what if stepping outside of myself doesn’t mean I’ll lose myself, slipping out of my own grip and tumbling down into a terrifying abyss? 

what if I become more whole by pausing myself and allowing myself to receive all the other parts?  

I am figuring out how to survive [being] Deaf from hearing like all of us. I am still in the midst of this chapter, going through the woods, valleys, oceans, of this stage. Still, here are several steps that helped me move away from projected pain and wrecking destruction on the Deaf community:

Confronting trauma and pain in the context of normalized, daily audism in my past hearing-dominant life. This was and is not easy, given that it involves going back and remembering specific memories and bringing them out of victimhood and into a broader scope of understanding that leaves room for both my suffering and my behaviors of dominance. 

Identifying my codependence on hearing people and hearingness, and enacting boundarying work with hearing people in a spirit of self-protection and -nurturance rather than vindictiveness.  Boundarying is saving me and my relationships within the community. Maybe someday I will be able to have deeper relationships with hearing people. For now, my community is coming first. 

Ego work. Identifying the urge to fly down into that deep well of victimhood, and stopping myself in my tracks. Accepting that I had been burning bridges in the community because of projecting my pain. Integrating a practice of amending and repairing -with consent- when possible. 

Inner child work. Learning to go back to 5-year old, 12-year old, 17-year old, 24-year old, 30-year old selves, and to hold her-them with love and care and radical acceptance. I am you are whole. And to allow myself to sense others’ wounded inner children and to expand myself to hold space in recognition of their own wounds. We are together and whole

Leaning into gratitude for being Deaf – that being Deaf is allowing me to undo several cycles of harm, a process I likely wouldn’t embark on if I was still hearing- and re-creating my own place in the Deaf nexus

What do we do about how many are participating in destructive cycles that threaten to ruin us? More of us are realizing the different forms in how we can apply transformative justice to our respective communities. The essence of transformative justice is to identify the root causes of the harm that happened to me, and also to locate myself in the cycle of how harm done to me brings about harm I do to others. I offer that this absolutely requires us to step outside of our -once again, totally valid- victimhood and allow ourselves to reconnect to the nexus. Reconnecting after chunks of our life have been spent disconnected from ourselves and each other is turbulent and difficult, but it’s the better way out of that deep well of victimhood. Perhaps we can start recognizing these factors, maybe going as far as to name those elements. Maybe we can go further, having difficult conversations with one another, creating opportunities for people to be recognized, validated, and then asked to do better, to be more responsible, to shift our ways of relating to each other to be a part of a care-network that lays the foundation for a healthier, thriving Deaf nexus. 

I think: we are each other’s way out. And together, we find the way into somewhere else. 



* I first saw “persun” many years ago online used by Angel Arellano, as a way to decenter the [white cishetero]patriarchy. 

** I do not subscribe to the D/d framework. 1) A hearing white dude invented this shit. 2) Deaf people are marginalized beings, period- despite any self-perception of degreed enculturations. I use capitalization to emphasize this reality. 3) At risk of coming off as _________ [fill in the blank as you please]  those who assert “d” may benefit from deeply reflecting on many of the points brought in this piece. 

*** I first saw this term from Rossana Reis, on Facebook, some years ago. 



ASL version: 

For information access to our community, a condensed ASL version is provided. I aim to create ample opportunities for elaboration in ASL online and offline. 

Video setting: Elena, a white genderqueer persun (they/them) with short dark and grey hair is wearing a purple sweater. They are sitting indoors, with a desk and a plant stand that holds a green/red/white plant (triostar stromanthe) in the background. On the desk is a bookstand that features the Tarot card of the King of Cups (from the Smith-Waite deck), with the remaining tarot cards in a stack on top of a book copy of Emergent Strategy


the intro



Video access information: 

Elena, a white genderqueer persun is sitting in a room with a plant stand and desk in the background, both of which are light yellow-colored. Elena has very short dark brown and gray hair and  is wearing a maroon t-shirt. The triostar stromanthe plant on the stand has leaves with green, white, and dark red colors. The desk has a circular plant holder with a hanging air plant at Elena’s left side, and a bookstand that features a tarot card on it [Page of Wands] with the deck of remaining cards in front of the bookstand. The walls are white and it is daytime. 


ASL to English translation + transcript: 

After many, many months of thinking about it, amping myself up, and saying that I’ll get to it, I’ve finally decided to start a blog. Many years ago, when I first saw Mia Mingus’s blog titled “Leaving Evidence” something lit up in me upon seeing these words. I felt a resounding “yes” within me, feeling a pull to get into it, that it felt right, it felt like a “yes.” Our narratives, our experiences, our paths, our thoughts can be all wrapped up together to be left as a record, as evidence that will persist after we leave this Earth. All that can be shared with everyone- us, too- and everyone else in this world. So that was a profound realization I had then. 

After some time, my vision became clear for this blog. Naturally, my blog will be about myself- me as a person and many others in the community as well. I have many identities, and with these identities, I have many “cores” or “centers” that are constantly moving about, one becoming more overt in some situations, and a different one becoming so in another situation, shifting about on and on. In the spirit of full transparency, this blog will often highlight one “center”- my being Deaf. My Deaf identity is formed by my other identities that I value just as much as I do being Deaf, such as my being genderqueer, Queer, a white Latinx, a mother, a partner, a Pisces Sun, a Capricorn Moon, a Libra Rising, and more- and all of these identities have their own complexities. And with all these going on, this blog will spotlight my being Deaf often. My personal experience of being Deaf comes with being sighted and abled (meaning I have the privilege of having different abilities). I absolutely must acknowledge the fact that I am not DeafBlind nor DeafDisabled, and I hold the responsibility of not “speaking” for these people or communities, and also to name their experiences when appropriate. This is the responsible thing to do, rather than to totally exclude these experiences and to focus on only Deaf sighted and abled narratives. At the same time, being sighted and abled is who I am, and is the starting point of my personal experiences and I need to be responsible and transparent about that. 

The reason why I will often center my Deaf experience (which comes with its own complexities, of course) is that throughout my experiences, my journey, my observations, I’ve come to realize our Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled lives and experiences are completely hyper-marginalized. This is so because of our access struggles, language barriers, society’s negative, patronizing perspectives of us and our bodies (and their lust to control us, too), which makes us extremely marginalized. For instance, I often point out that in movies, I rarely, if ever, see any extras in the background just being Deaf and signing on- maybe that happens in movies where there is a reference to or plot based on Deaf people, but other than that, there’s nothing. So that’s one example of our hyper-marginalization. So that added to my desire to “leave evidence” as a Deaf person with many other identities and my own life experiences. [Video changes frames.]

My Deaf identity age is young, very young, compared to my physical age, and throughout time, I’ve gotten to a place where I really value signing. Before, I’d write way more in English, but nowadays I really do value expressing my thoughts through ASL. With this blog, I’m looking to experiment with expressing my thoughts in both ASL and English, beyond the sort of dry approach of vlogging and then simply doing a transcript- I’m looking to try to do something more than that, and will play around and see what comes up! And in experimenting with different approaches, I’m also keeping in mind how to make everything as accessible to as many community members as possible.

I also would like to increase opportunities to have community discussions outside of academia. I used to be in that world, and I do not want to be in that world. Oftentimes academic discussions are relegated to a small circle of people who rapidly exchange ideas, but those ideas do not often spill over to the community level. So I want to do away with that, and to challenge myself us all to share more analyses, more content about self-awareness and community awareness, and to really engage in different discussions together. And having discussions are very nice and important and all, but lately, I’ve been compelling myself to make sure that when I engage in such discussions that I also bring about changed thoughts and changed behavior as a result. That is definitely an aim in this blog, rather than just dishing out content. Instead, I truly hope to engage many of us to see what we can do together. Do what exactly? In the past few years, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of community health- how a community is made up of individuals, whose individual health will influence community health and vice versa. And that interest is rooted in my reading about Emergent Strategy, or the concept of the small, everyday things we can do persistently, with dedication, to build a world that we did not even imagine possible. The idea that our consistent daily actions could bring us to a new, imagined world. And the world I am imagining is a healthier, thriving, interconnected community. I’ve really been thinking a lot about this, and my own role throughout my life struggles and how those personal struggles caused specific disruptions in the community and within personal relationships- and how these situations caused me to back up and work through a lot of stuff. And in that process, I’ve realized that there are many things I’d like to share, many thoughts and concerns about what I’ve been observing that I’d like to share as well- and how we can shift to a re-imagined world for all of us. I have many topics in mind, but I wanted to share just a few things with you all about this blog in terms of what you can expect. If you’re interested in following this journey with me, come along! Through this, another value in this blog is my being open to discussing, sharing, and engaging with you all here on out. Thank you and I look forward to connecting and engaging together.