A Letter to Me at 16 years old

Dear 16 year old Joanna,

You may be smart, but also dumb.  Be straight with yourself, you will struggle through your journey, questioning the human mission that placed you on this earth. What you dream is a journey, your sixth sense telling you what may come and reality is as it is.

There will be things which are distasteful to you but you will strive.

There will be good times and bad times. Do ask for help, swallow that pride! You will learn that there are two sides to everything, a gray area in life. You are and always have been a teacher, no matter how exhausting it can be – keep on being a student of life.

At least, what we will agree on at the age of 16 and 40, life is learning and learning is life – we go forth and play. Education is varied, personal or professional.  We agree that people are cool, has potential and are just simply human.  Technology is a tool, just a tool.

We are still a tree hugger and I still believe in the best of each …. only to add, also the worst in each.

Remember – life is a journey. Smile a lot and have faith in yourself.

Joanna from about 25 years later.



It is okay to be different. It is okay to share. It is okay to ask.

Sometimes we need to accept because we need to experience something bigger than we are. It is a journey we all take.

I will be there with my hand out.

via Daily Prompt: Acceptance


Life without technology or global communications would be as complicated as it is now.  Dying one day without knowing why allows us to revere the natural world and our part in it, as well as resepcting the inclusion of our species within its circle of life.

why am I being fatalistic today?  The ways of the world for a long time has weighed heavily on my mind and my soul.  I fear nothing but death. Death, why? I do not like missing out on anything, thanks to my experience and an aspect of myself – curiousity.

April’s National Geographic covered the topic of future of humans, climate change, degradation of natural resources (due to climate change, human practices and behaviors).

Changes have been coming and they still will be coming. Genetic change? Here. Bionic implants are already here. Superiority, thanks to Darwin, already been here for a thousand years thanks to European “civilization”. Thank you, Charles Darwin and the scientists whom have followed afterwards.

Most of the time I wish Darwin never got anywhere.  The survival of the fittest doesn’t mean humans should go willy nilly on making changes on a genetic level that will impact our species and the world in so few generations.  Well, that’s already happening despite what Congress or the climate change naysayers are telling us.

Being deaf is a way of life just as being a short lady with curly hair and blue eyes. Despite the gains that we bring to the world, we still will be eradicated.  Someone who is colorblind appreciates what life has to offer until an implant allows them to ‘see’ beyond.  The gap will continue widen between people as they have done today with wealth and intelligence.  The next gap is between those who choose the natural path and those who choose bionics.

Bionics are just tools that will take the human extreme of ‘survival of the fittest’ to a level where ethics will ignored, be damned the human species.

With what we are doing to the world, ourselves with technology and war, has not life become meaningless?  Am I raising my children to value life, only to have it turned back on me just because I happened to be different from them? Am I teaching children to value the world more than technology only to have them make the decision to support linguicide as well as genocide?

I will continue to live…when death comes at my door, I welcome it.  No longer shall I look to the future with such curiousity.


Drawing by my soon to be 8 year old. 

via Daily Prompt: Meaningless


I am not colorblind. I see color. Color all around me, how can I be blind? I see you, I see rainbow-mushroom-eye-webyou, you, you, you and you.  Oh, yeah …. you too!

Biologically colorblind folks I respect. Unique experience is theirs, yet not mine. I cannot lie, I see color. Blind I am not, you ask me to dare not see color, I will not lie.

You, you, hey you, yes you! I see your color. Do you see mine? Same, different or a mix, no matter. You, me, beautiful colors.

I. am. not. colorblind.


Jumbled Thoughts Now


Personal photo; Instagram

I voted. Yep, I did. I voted in both parties.

I am a moderate. Each party has its own values and perspectives. I can get and support fiscal responsibility and I also see the importance of hiring qualified people with disabilities.

This is an election that I have never thought to fear the outcome…either way.

Fear for myself, a white woman who is deaf and a bilingual speaker (American Sign Language and English). Fear for my husband, while a white male, is also a deaf person of second generation and a bilingual.

Fear for my bilingual children, who will take upon themselves the responsibility and burdens that we leave with them after our decisions. Our decisions as Americans through election of representatives.

I voted.

I shared my thoughts in person or on social media. I respected others’ thoughts and I tried to understand from their perspective. This is where we are stumped. We all have perspectives; however, our life’s journey are not the same way. We will share some same qualities that provide similar perspectives, yet be on polar opposites because of our personal experiences.

I woke up Wednesday morning as it was any other day, but creeping within my thoughts was the outcome of the election. Not only the Presidential race, also the Congress and my lovely State of Indiana. Turns out…America bleeds Red.

I spent the day distracted, checking Facebook and news often, to get the pulse of the nation, at least amongst friends and family. I look around my classroom and the hallways and wonder what they think of me now. Now that the country bleeds red, Republican red – not human red.

Now it is the second day after the election and news are not looking good. Trump finds out that the Congress may even block his actions. I said it before and I will say it again, it is not only the Presidential race we should have been watching, but the Congressional races. There are stories of parents who had to pick up their kids earlier in the day because white kids decided to tell the black kids that they should not be here or tell the Latinx that they will be going home.

So when would it be our turn? Yes I ask that because recently I presented atscreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-59-15-pm TEDxValparaisoUniversity about being a part of each other’s communities while retaining our own values, languages and cultures, mutual respect. More people have communicated with simple THANK-YOUs when we go elsewhere and it is appreciated. Now I have to look over my shoulder and wonder… guess what, it already came.

The posting you see to the right was posted by someone who I know and respect and was shared by a friend on Facebook. The irony in this is the person who was yelled at is a hearing person whose parents are deaf. An ally and a dear friend of our deaf community and this is what she gets.

It has arrived. I voted.

As a white woman who is deaf and bilingual, my life and those whose threads go through me connecting, the fear is real. My stomach still hurts and no, it is not ulcers…yet.

At least America agrees with this:


Resources: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/11/10/white-christians-who-voted-for-donald-trump-fix-this-now/

Good News: http://www.cracked.com/blog/dont-panic/


Daily Post Connection Themes: Smoke, Banned, Transformed, Urgent, Trust, Test.

Disagree with #hearing privilege?

The last week in September is International Deaf Awareness Week and a new hashtag came up: #hearingprivilege. Naturally, people reacted. The way of the world today is to react as quick as you can and regret your thoughts later.

Most deaf people are not complaining, just showing a way of life that we cherish and at the same time can be negative by outsiders’ perspectives. People think we’re complaining because life is not fair. Hon’, we all know life ain’t fair most of the time. That is why it is a journey that we travel throughout our life.

That is why it is okay to agree to disagree; however, I digress. If one disagrees on basis of not understanding why they disagree, then we cannot agree to disagree. The purpose of #hearingprivilege is to enlighten people about the struggles we go through daily. Many people will have never realized this behavior because they did not have the opportunity to be aware of it.

Examples of the hashtag available on Facebook and Twitter:

#HearingPrivilege is never having my intelligence or work ability questioned based on my language modality. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hearing-privilege_us_57ebd4c5e4b024a52d2bb142?section=women& This article has more hashtags.

or #hearingprivilege is never having to hear the words, “Never mind”, or “I will tell you later” during family dinners and conversations.

This is an opportunity to personally analyze the response we see and react to when we see words that challenge us on a daily or frequent basis. This opportunity I presented to my students with varied responses, average result would be opening of the minds, yet there are some responses where “Hearing Privilege” does NOT exist.  Hon’, this is the real world – not the ‘hearing’ world – the REAL world. Privilege exists and will always exist. How we respond to the privilege is what will gain the most in the path to enlightenment.

Sorry, if one does NOT believe in privilege, the ability to be open about the paths that the world turns on will be a narrow one. Even, I as a deaf person, took the time to analyze what #hearingprivilege means because my experience as a deaf person is not always the same as the other deaf person. I will be grateful for those opportunities because of parents who were opening their world to include their children’s worlds. That was why I try to add #deafgain, which is how deaf people contribute to the world through our differences to positively enhance the real world, benefitting others who are not deaf or sign language users.

Sometimes it is hard to accept that privilege and even harder to change, remember it is better to have tried than never tried. Imagine how many new relationships one will have with a diverse group, just because one began to understand and will be able to agree to disagree.

Below is a good video of an explanation regarding #hearingprivilege.

via Daily Prompt: Disagree

Daily Prompt: Tree


Snapped on iPhone6 and edited/posted to Instagram a month ago. Trees have always fascinated me because of their strength and ability to encompass different parts of the physical world such as roots for underground, branches and leaves reaching to the sky and the trunk being the balance between both. Trees among many are our lifeblood to the world. Without them, we would not exist.

via Daily Prompt: Tree

Does Breathing Matter?

Today I find it frustrating that people can twist the definition of a movement or a word to fit their own idealistic framework without truly understanding the heart, purpose and drive of the people at the core of the meaning of life.

Do all lives matter – yes; however, lives should not be weighted against who is popular, who is in the majority or because the situation deems it should be.

If Black Lives don’t Matter, when does All Lives Matter? Why should we shut down Black worldfolks because we value our lives more than they value theirs. This is total bullshit. Absolutely against the biological and chemical structure of our human beings. It strikes a stake into the very heart of the world we live on. This throws chaos out of balance with no balance in sight.

If Deaf Lives don’t Matter, when does Hearing Lives Matter?  One cannot exist without the other, nor can it exist without the underlying biological definition that defines us as humans.  Telling us that Sign Language doesn’t Matter is like telling yourselves that your Spoken Language doesn’t Matter. That is what Ms. Meredith Sugar tells people in America.

statue consecratedWhen this picture surfaced, it is like telling me that Black Lives don’t value Military Lives despite the history of discrimination and slavery.

Really?! Whomever did this (doesn’t matter what color), you would think it was easy to say “Well, ya know military lives don’t matter. Maybe they fought in Civil War, World Wars I and II all the way up to the ISIS situation, but ya know what, military folks, they don’t matter.”

So does any life on this damn beautiful, minuscule, living and breathing world matter? Do All Sea Lives Matter?  Do All Trees Matter? Do All Children Matter? Do Australian Aboriginal Matter?  Do All Global Lives Matter?  Does a single orchid matter? Yes, hell yes they do.

Yet… because we disregard those who are equally important to us as a race or as a species living on this fragile world, no lives truly ever matter to us.

So let me end with a bit of ranting.

When will you shut the fuck up, whining about yourselves and start listening with your eyes, ears, hands, feet well every damn part of you to those who are opposite of you.  There would be a damn whole lot you could learn on your journey to ‘enlightenment’.