I hope this letter finds you doing well. I have been meaning to send this to you for some time. I was not sure how to frame my thoughts, which led me to put it off until now. I have no specific reason to go public about this. I just wanted to share something with you.
I am proud of you. I am proud of your accomplishments. I am proud of what you are doing for the Deaf community. I proud that you are a role model for many in our community. I am so excited for you. You have done what many of us only imagine or dream about but aren’t able to make it come true.
You are an epitome of the true meaning of hard work. For that alone, I admire you. My admiration is also because of your tenacity – the grip you have on your personal dream to reach the stars and beyond and also the dream of educating the rest of the world about American Sign Language (ASL). I agree with you and your cause and stand ready to advocate for and with you.
You remind me of a lighthouse, that stands strong amidst all of mother nature’s wraths – strong nautical splashes, strong winds, snow, rain, hurricane and almost anything that comes at it. No matter what controversy (a recent one that has me wondering what the world is coming to) is thrown your way, your head is up high and your smile, so bright, causes me to put my sunglasses on just to see. This is the type of strength that every Deaf and CODA child need. It is that beacon of hope that every child needs to see and you are showing that.
I know that I get strength from watching you. I know that I am okay as a Hard of Hearing man. I know that I can keep pursuing my dreams and that all I have to do is keep going, work hard, never give up, and smile no matter what. I know now from watching you that the road ahead may not be easy, but I can keep going because you are doing it and setting an example.
One of my hearing friends texted me yesterday. He asked me if I was following you on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). Of course! We are all following you and watching how amazing you are. We are all in awe and for me, I am full of goosebumps when I watch you bust a move (a great 80s song that Nico, your twin brother mixes with as a super DJ) on the dance floor.
Then when I see you behind the scene practices, I am like, wow! Nyle is working hard! Then I am motivated to work even harder on my own dreams. I am inspired. I know many Deaf children are inspired. I know that hearing children are inspired.
You see, like you, many of us Deaf and Hard of Hearing often question our abilities. Because we are labeled DISabled. The “DIS” part of the word can be discouraging. It can make some of us feel worthless, less than human, and as if we can’t do anything just because we are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or have a disABILITY.
It doesn’t help when some members of our society put a self-fulfilling prophecy (SFP) on us. So strong is this phenomena that many of us could lose hope. We basically accept that we are Deaf because some members of society call us DISABLED. Those people and organizations will go to lengths to do whatever it takes to hold on to that false belief that we are broken and need to be fixed.
That can hurt. The can really hurt.
But now I don’t feel hurt. I feel liberated. I feel like my body wants to crawl out of my skin, out of excitement when I watch you on DWTS. I like many of the Deaf and other Hearing people look forward to Monday nights now – yup, the television won! 🙂 Is it Monday yet?
I just want to let you know that you are my inspiration in the same way your twin, DJ Nico is my inspiration. Both of you broke the barrier like when humans first broke the light speed barrier. For that, I want to say, thank you.
I want to say to you, I am proud of you. I want to say keep moving forward because we are all right behind you. We will not be swayed by some false propaganda or the SFP that ASL is bad for us. We will not settle and accept the “DIS” part of a word, disAbled, that is the golem effect of the SFP to influence us. No, we will not!
We shall overcome anything because what you are doing is telling us that we can. We can and we will! We can’t wait for next Monday!
Thank you and your family for standing up for what is true and right. Thank you for teaching the world out there that ASL is a beautiful language. Thank you for leading the way and for going into the unknown territory.
Thank you, Nyle DimArco. Good luck on Monday!