My Stutter has been the compass of my life. It has determined how I navigate situations, conversations and opportunities. I used it to directionally let it control my destiny and now it just supports me getting there faster, better and in a happier state of mind. Sometimes I still get super frustrated and embarrassed but those times are fewer and farther apart. And they only make me stronger.
Growing up, I remember I would always raise my hand first when the teacher asked a question. No one calls on the kid that knows every answer. This was my dodge tactic for having to speak in front of my peers. I remember focusing on my passion for violin and practicing hours a week because I didn’t have to talk when I played. I was also a decent gymnast, and went to practice and meets every day because again, while on the beam or the vault, I never had to speak. Just perform. My stutter followed me everywhere I went, even though no one could see it. And because I silenced myself, most people didn’t have to hear it.
I have my stutter to thank for blessing me with a successful career. I feel that because of my stutter I have been a strategic thinker and a strategist my entire life. I always had to plan which words to say or not to say so that I would stutter less or not get stuck on a particular thought in the middle of a boardroom conversation.
As a public speaker, I learned to have confidence when standing in front of an audience of 5 or 500 because everyone is scared of public speaking. My stutter forced me to become an expert in the content that I present, and know exactly what it is that I am going to talk about so that I feel more comfortable and at ease. My stutter has actually helped me coach others on how to be more mindful and successful at presenting. The irony…
As a mother who stutters, I wonder what my kids think when I get stuck on a word here and there…they don’t care. They probably don’t even notice it. I do. But they don’t. They probably think that’s just how mommy talks. They love me unconditionally and listen to me (for the most part, ha), regardless of my stutter.
My stutter is a part of me. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Being a part of SAY:org has been another unexpected blessing in my life, similar to my stutter.
I stumbled upon this amazing organization when it was still Our Time and have now been a part of its evolution into The Stuttering Association for the Young. The fact that so many more people will now have a channel to voice their thoughts and pains, triumphs and fears, is just incredible.
No other organization is matched with such kindness and intent.
So SAY what you want, when you want to, and to whomever will listen. Cause everybody deserves the right to SAY what’s in their mind and hearts, regardless of their stutter.