Jacob: I had hit rock-bottom shortly before, so I decided I would try one more time, doing something big, and if that didn't work either, I'd end my miserable life.
I picked a place I had never been before, had no family, and knew no one.
Problem was, girls always thought I was trying to play them.
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.
Jacob: Vegas has 40 million tourists every year, which meant if I made a complete fool of myself, it didn't matter because the next group had no idea who I was.
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.
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.
I chose the Rochester Institute of Technology because it had a sizable deaf and hard-of-hearing population., which is all about being present.
Combined with my newfound love of massage, I took on a completely different personality when I arrived. I was just naturally touchy-feely in a good way, as opposed to how I was raised, where hugs and physical contact were weird. It was a natural expression of the love and contact we all crave.
So lots of people thought I wasn't really deaf.
Anyway, my social experiments in Vegas ended quickly as I actually met an amazing woman within a few weeks.
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. 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.