“I’m So Sorry.”

Today’s Oh Fabled One post is the first to be co-written. Including co-authors is a wonderful opportunity to give you additional perspectives from people who have diverse experiences and points of view. A little bit about each co-author will be noted at the end of the co-written post.

Jenn and I met through dancing Lindy Hop many years ago. Lindy Hop is super fun to learn — until you accidentally hit someone in the face with your elbow, step on another’s foot, turn in the wrong direction or limitless other mishaps.

In the early stages of learning Lindy Hop (or any partner dance), students generally say “I’m so sorry” about as often as they practice a move.

When offered, it covers transgressions as minor as getting off beat, to those as significant as accidentally sending a dance partner to the ER for stitches. Similarly to life off of the dance floor, when received, it sounds somewhere between superficial and genuine.

“I’m so sorry” may sound kind, but it can be just as silly of a response as “Wow, that must really suck.”

When people find out that Jenn’s young son is deaf or realize I’m visually-impaired, they often say “I’m so sorry” in the superficial kind of way. Seriously, it happens all. the. time. And it’s just weird.

While neither of us take the awkward sentiment personally, neither of us is sorry. To be honest, we wonder what others think they have to be sorry about.

The best reaction Jenn ever received was from an interpreter at an event. She wanted to know where he learned ASL (American Sign Language). When she shared that her son is deaf, he said, “That is soooo great!” with the kind of genuine enthusiasm that comes with knowing the benefits of not being able to hear all there is to hear. (Stay tuned for the next Oh Fabled One post — I Can’t Un-Hear That on a special post date, Thursday, April 13, 2017.)

Jenn smiled from ear to ear and replied, “I know!!”

As they continued talking, the interpreter shared that his whole family is deaf and, to him, it was wonderful. This perspective made Jenn’s day because she is thrilled to be Derick’s mom, knowing that he was perfect from the moment he was born. In an “I’m so sorry “ culture that focuses on limitation rather than ability, someone finally acknowledged how lucky she is.

I totally concur withe Jenn’s point of view. Being visually-impaired has allowed me to develop skills and abilities that 20/20-sighted people just don’t have and often marvel at. It’s good to have unique superpowers and it’s great to fail at being disabled.

People come in all shapes and sizes. Each of us is exactly who we are supposed to be. There is no need to say “I’m so sorry,” especially to someone who isn’t sorry at all about who s/he is. 

Oh Fabled One Co-Author Jenn Pasquarosa is a mom of three-year-old Shane who is hearing and one-year-old Derick who is deaf. She is certified in baby sign language and plans to become an ASL interpreter. She is a passionate champion of her two sons’ participation in all kinds of activities and wants everyone to know how amazing it is to easily communicate with Derick in a super noisy area or from far away.