By Lauren McGrath
Maureen “Marzi” Wilson is an author, illustrator, and self-described introvert. As one who goes about life with the tendency to speak less and listen more, she fittingly calls her latest collection of artwork Introvert Doodles.
Marzi does not have hearing loss. “As someone with typical hearing, I believe that I and others like me have a lot to learn from those with hearing loss. We need to pay attention to their experiences,” Marzi writes.
“I’m Deaf/Hard of Hearing” is Marzi’s latest relatable masterpiece about hearing loss in her “I Want You to Know” series. “I Want You to Know” is Marzi’s honest attempt to educate her viewers about hearing loss and other conditions that can be misunderstood or stigmatized. She knows that even the most well-meaning people have misconceptions about what does not affect them firsthand.
Since Marzi does not fully know what it is like to be hard of hearing, her work represents the feelings and experiences of real people with whom she’s connected online. To gather inspiration for her “I Want You to Know” pieces, Marzi engages with individuals who are personally affected. They describe the biases that interfere with their lives and offer practical solutions to their typical counterparts. This process provides “an opportunity for them to voice their experiences—I just illustrate them,” Marzi says, humbly.
In addition to spotlighting hearing loss in “I Want You to Know,” Marzi has previously created doodles on autism, grief, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and plans to craft future illustrations about chronic illness, dyslexia, and miscarriage.
She understands her introverted nature as a creative advantage. In her words, shyness goes hand in hand with being “perceptive, creative, and thoughtful”—the very characteristics needed to compassionately capture important pieces of human experience.