Jehovah has such a sense of humor and he often loves to humor me. Have I told you before that every time I say “I can’t/won’t do that” I end up doing it? Well, once again this seems to be the case with the new kind of profession I have begun to pursue: Interpreting.
It all began when I was just a child:
Spanish was my first language, however, it is not my dominant one. I learned Spanish because both of my parents are from Mexico and it was what they spoke to me most. I struggled a lot in Elementary school and for many many years, I sincerely believed I was dumb. I couldn’t read, my penmanship was horrible and for a moment there, many thought I was dyslexic because my letters and numbers were backwards. I remember always being distracted and struggling to pay attention because I didn’t like being at school and I didn’t like the other kids either (they were pretty mean). I spent most of my school hours in my own imaginary world until I’d snap back into reality because of an angry adult crying out to me to pay attention.
Over the years, I got better and I really improved both my English and Spanish skills greatly. By the time I was in Middle school, I knew both languages pretty well and I was doing much better in school. By the time I got to High School, I absolutely loved learning! I took on difficult AP classes and one of them was an advanced Spanish class. It was in these advanced Spanish classes where I improved my grammar and learned a more formal Spanish.
Fast forward to after High School, I joined the local ASL congregation in 2012 and learned American Sign Language. I absolutely fell in love with ASL, the language, the culture and the people. When you learn Sign Language in the truth, there’s like a completely new realm involved! When you travel and meet brothers and sisters from other countries and hear other languages, you can also SEE other sign languages and that’s a whole new rabbit hole! It’s very exciting and sometimes, although Sign Language isn’t universal, you can still manage to figure out how to communicate.
At one point, before joining ASL, I wasn’t interested in ASL and said those “I could never” statements… then Jehovah accepted the challenged and it was because of him that I learned it. It was just what my heart needed at the time to grow spiritually and to be in that environment that would challenge me. That was all it was going to be for me: a skill that Jehovah gave me so I can tell more people about him and nothing else.
Being a Sign Language Interpreter never ever ever ever ever ever crossed my mind. Besides, that’s a lot of years of training and experience and with the amount of focus and attention you have to give in that profession, I always assumed that I simply wasn’t good for that.
“I could never be an ASL interpreter”…
Moving to New York has been a whole salad of new flavors! I could tell you more about that to give you a better idea and be more detail specific, but I will just leave at this for now because then I’ll end up going on a whole different tangent that will pull me further away from the point of this blog post, and I really need to get better at focusing gosh darn it!
One of the challenges I’ve had was finding the ideal job: One that would only be a few days a week, maximum flexibility and would pay enough to live off of. As I eliminated many options and completely ignored the fact that New York isn’t as strict as California with the requirements to be an interpreter to do a job, I scanned every other possibility. After I failed, I decided to give ASL interpreting a chance. I applied to a virtual remote trilingual position because a friend told me about it and well, I know three languages.
I completely bombed the evaluation. What was going on in my head? What in the world was I doing? Who do I think I am? Do I really know ASL or have I fooled everyone into believing I did including myself? Imposter syndrome came and punched me in the stomach and the disconnect happened.
I learned something difficult about myself; something I never really realized before. This whole journey and experience in Interpreting has brought to light new weaknesses of mine. There are two options: allow these weaknesses to take over and justify the negative thoughts my mind tells me, or I could really put myself in the most vulnerable of situations to push myself and truly prove to myself that this is in fact something I can do.
This new challenge is was not only found in entering a new secular field, but in completely trying to change a deep rooted view of myself and how I approach new life challenges.