I had my first truly successful sign language conversation this evening. I was attending a school event and happened to see one of the Deaf students on campus also there. I signed hello and we were able to have a brief conversation.
It wasn’t much more than “Hi, how are you,” and “Nice to see you,” but I feel that my confidence is growing and I am able to engage in conversation when I have the chance, rather than worrying about not knowing the signs and letting that get in my way.
I still occasionally struggle to remember correct signs and vocabulary in a real conversation. It is one thing to practice alone or with someone I know well, but when ASL is the primary means of communication, I am more afraid of making mistakes.
I realize that practice and mistakes are part of the learning process, and I am fortunate to be in a place where I can meet and converse with Deaf people and not feel overly intimidated by my rudimentary skill.
I am excited to continue to practice my conversational skills and become more fluent in basic communication so that the signs will come naturally, but I was very encouraged by my brief interaction this evening.