Name: Djem AhmadAge: 18
Birthday: 14th May 1996
Ethnicity: Iranian on his mother's side, Saudi on his father's
Languages known: ASL, English
Siblings: youngest of 5
Background and personality:
Born into a well-off Muslim family, Djem had a very different upbringing to his siblings. Fairly soon after they emigrated to the US, he was unexpected and unplanned. Neither of his parents particularly wanted another child, and as such his being born caused some tension between his parents, which only deepened when it was discovered very early on that he had been born deaf. Gradually, the underlying resentment that his birth caused simmered into a rather cold, rocky relationship with his father, and an uncertain, distant one with his mother.
His parents were both in full support of him getting cochlear implants in order to allow him to hear - or at least, as well as they could hope for - but, it was their eldest son Yasemin who talked them into waiting a few years at least. Not only was surgery something Djem was terrified of as a child, but Yasemin inherently disliked how he was being treated like he was something waiting to be fixed. When he was signing, he was happy. He didn't know the Hearing world, and Yasemin saw no reason to force him into it when he was fine in his own.
While he was provided with the help and the schooling he needed, neither really knew how to adapt to caring for him as he needed, nor was there much incentive for them - or time made- for them to do so. As he got older, he grew close with Yasemin, and in turn, they became very protective of him. It was when he entered high school that Yasemin moved out, and when he became a junior that he moved in with them, and became far happier and more confident as a result.
Yasemin was the one who opted to learn ASL alongside Djem as he grew up, knowing that their parents would never give learning it their full attention, and that Djem would need someone around with whom he could communicate. Yasemin is the only member of his immediate family that he is close to - and, to be honest, who he really likes. He trusts him implicitly, and holds an enormous amount of respect and love for him.
Generally, Djem's an easy going guy. He has a quick wit and a friendly disposition, preferring optimism to pessimism and loving to fighting. He's the guy who's happy to help someone out at a parking meter, or buy someone a coffee if they're short on change. While he doesn't believe in karma, he knows that small acts of kindness are often the ones that mean the most.
This is not to say that he won't stand up for himself, however. While he doesn't act out when he's angry, he has a fantastic memory for people that have purposely wronged or offended him, and a deep loathing for bigots as a general rule. The only time he will actively act out is when he is seeing someone else being treated badly, or when it's his race or Deafness that's been put on the block. Apart from situations like this, he likely won't immediately show he's upset. However, he's been involved in one or two fights in the past - none of which he's won.
He doesn't have many friends, but is content in his own company or with others in equal measure. Having attended only private, Hearing schools during his life, he's slowly learned to grow a thick skin, and is a good student despite the odds being against him. However, he prefers life outside of his school walls; while he can blank them out and makes himself rise above it where he can, he's not immune to bullying - far from it.
In his free time he likes sketching, graphic novels and comics, reading, and the internet. If there's a social media site, he probably has an account, and much to Yasemin's disdain, he spends most of his time on youtube, maintaining a channel there as well as watching others. It's this part of his life that sparked his interest in social issues - specifically, learning about gender, racism and ableism - audism especially, as well as Islamophobia. He is also terrible at mathematics. Like, horrendously bad. He can write essays well, but numbers might as well be an Alien Morse code. Video games are also something he'll happily spend hours in front of.
He's not a fussy eater and will generally have anything that's put in front of him - the only exception is very spicy food. Because of this, he also loves cooking, and is actually pretty good at it too. He also loves coffee in practically all its varieties.
His plans after high school are pretty standard; University - Gallaudet, specifically. While his school life up till this point has severely put his love of learning to the test, the idea of not needing an interpretor and being around other people like him has been his incentive to keep his grades up.Additional info:
- While he is proficient in ASL (American Sign Language) and it is his first language, Djem cannot lip read well.
- He does wear hearing aids occasionally, but they are usually left at home under the guise of being 'forgotten'.
- His poor maths skills are one of his biggest sources of embarrassment
- He has a tattoo of a mute symbol behind his right ear - it was an 18th birthday present from Yasemin.
- He's bisexual, with no specific preference towards gender. However, he's never been on a date :(
- He's terrified of learning to drive
- He's very good with money, always trying to save half of whatever his parents occasionally send him during holidays, or whatever he earns from commissions.
- He doesn't like sports much, but he enjoys exercising (when he can be bothered/when he's in the right mood)
While he's not much of a believer in a God, Djem does believe in an afterlife of some description. Not Heaven or Hell, but simply somewhere souls go after death.
While he's quite a brave, adventurous person in general, there are exceptions to this; Djem is, and always has been, terrified of the dark. As long as there's a continuous source of light, he's fine - but pitch black, 'can't see your hand in front of your face' darkness, and he's gone. The darker it is, the more he panics.
This goes equally for the idea of losing his sight. Because he relies so heavily on visual cues, going blind isn't a thought he enjoys entertaining.
Oh, and driving. Unless it's a go-kart, he's not touching the wheel of a car.