In 2005, I had a sudden drop in hearing and it progressively got worse and worse (and is still dropping!). Currently, I have lost about 90 dB of my hearing. Let me make it clear beforehand, before I jump in on this story, that I was mainstreamed as a) the hearing loss wasn't fully "recognized" by the school until I was a senior in high school (they thought I was just being rude) and b) my parents did not want to push me back two grade levels so I could learn ASL (which I am now regretting). I have, however, taught myself to read lips rather fluently (as such, I benefit heavily from services like an oral interpreter).
Anyways, I started a hearing loss awareness campaign for my senior thesis and bravely stepped into my local club for the Deaf. Much to my dismay, as soon as I signed, "I don't sign well. I'm learning to sign. I prefer to read lips and fingerspell," I was quickly given the cold shoulder for an hour until someone who could voice and read lips took pity on me and began helping me out (and then
everyone started trying to communicate with me). Granted, at 21, I was the youngest one in that club, but honestly, it's made me very scared to go back into that club, even though I'm actively learning. I realize you can never fully learn about a culture until you experience that culture, and even before entering I did my research. It certainly makes me feel like I don't belong (and perhaps I don't)!
I'm currently working with a school for the Deaf near me, and I was immediately lambasted for not knowing ASL not by the Deaf, but by the hearing
instructors, like my knowing to read lips and being mainstreamed was a bad
thing. And honestly, it made me feel very, very guilty, indeed.
Currently, as a deaf girl who is not Deaf, I'm trying to find a happy medium in between the two cultures (Hearing and Deaf) because I feel, sadly, I don't fit with either (as much as I want to belong).
And yes, I am actively learning ASL, and why the Deaf club did scare me with the cold treatment, they aren't going to get rid of me until they forcibly kick me out. I'm there to learn and improve! For me, it's an inward struggle to get over my awkwardness on not being very fluent in the main mode of communication there.