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Read on to see how Jacob's relationships stand as a testament to his resilience and an example to us all. First, I was socially inept as a result of being deaf.Then, when I was 14, I asked my mom if she would drive me into town so I could hang out with a girl I liked.My deafness made it hard to interact with others, so I had to get creative. For instance, I thought it would be a good idea to let people know right off the bat that I was deaf, so they'd understand why I'd need to communicate with them in a different way.Problem was, girls always thought I was trying to play them.Anyway, my social experiments in Vegas ended quickly as I actually met an amazing woman within a few weeks. Jacob: Funny enough, I actually have an easier time communicating with hearing girls. I'm comfortable with both sides, but I think I prefer hearing girls because that's the culture I grew up in and am most comfortable with.We spent all our time together for the next three years. I didn't learn sign language growing up, and though I took a year of it in college, I rarely come across people I can converse in sign with. For some reason, I've never felt like I really belonged in the deaf culture, at least less so than in the hearing culture. How does your deafness make your relationships different from those between two hearing people?That was mostly because I can speak so well, and I can also dance well. Music vibrates, and the beat is the strongest vibration, which is great for rhythm.So lots of people thought I wasn't really deaf.
You talk about having a social and romantic "reawakening" in college.
Read on to see how Jacob's relationships stand as a testament to his resilience and an example to us all.
Jacob spoke to me about his romantic life, from his isolated childhood in Alaska to the wild times in the mega-clubs of Vegas, and how, despite growing up without sign language and battling depression, he's filled his life—and the lives of others—with expression, affection, and humor.
I didn't finally overcome those feelings until I was 21, in college.
I don't remember exactly what she said, but I do remember feeling deeply sexually shamed. In fact, I didn't really talk to another girl for years.