When I Was Home


During my teen years, I would go home from deaf school for the weekends, holidays, and summer.  Everytime I went home, I felt such a heavy dread. Why?
My home was in a small town out in the country where I felt very far from the world.
I lived with my hearing family who did not know American Sign Language.
I lived in my bedroom upstairs.  Feeling isolated and always excluded from my family from the other side of the house.
When I was at home, I became like an alien.  Being isolated, my brain was small like a pea that barely thrived.  My heart was barely thriving too. 
Communication is essential to unlocking mental and emotional intelligence to help a human being thrive.  
When I was at home, who was I?


James Cooley


When I Was Home




Mixed media


Sitting on a hand with red fingernails, a green alien with blond hair has a tube coming out of head and ending into a tiny object surrounded by light. Behind the alien, there is a figure that appears to be a house with a brown roof and blue walls with floral patterns. On the roof, there is a gray circular object hidden into the roof. Two eyeballs with red stalks peek from behind the house. In the upper left corner, a hand starts with “L” upright then moves downward, appearing to draw attention toward the alien. In the lower right corner, an image of Earth against a black background.


James Cooley, “When I Was Home,” RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center , accessed June 30, 2022, https://dyerartscenter.omeka.net/items/show/729.