I’ve always had a stutter, I can’t think of a time when I didn’t, and I think that is really important. I have often wondered to myself “If someone offered me a pill that would instantly cure my stutter, would I take it“? The short answer to this is no, but there is a lot of thought that lead me to that decision, and to be completely honest, that “no” isn’t always as solid as I wish it were, but I’m working on it. My answer to that question and my pathway to get to the “no” involves many switchbacks and u-turns.
There are so many things that make us who we are, and unfortunately not all those things are great in our eyes. It is our abilities to get through those difficulties, embrace them, or use them to excel at other elements in our lives which makes us all the person we are today. For me, my stutter is that negative thing, that thing I don’t always want in my life, but is still there every morning when I wake up. My stutter often slows me down, sometimes holds me back from doing things I wish I could, and causes me stress that I could probably live without. Although I tend to classify my stutter as a negative thing in my life, I work extremely hard at turning that negative into a positive.
To be perfectly blunt, having a stutter sucks. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. My life is harder because of it, but at the same time, my life is better with it. Of course having a stutter makes speaking more difficult but it has also helped so many other elements in my life and has created my own unique personality. I have always considered myself to be a great listener. I don’t listen to people just to be nice, I listen to people to hear what they have to say. I do this because it is what I want out of the people listening to me speak. I am very aware of how my stutter sounds when I speak, and I know it is strange/different from normal, fluent speakers, but my hope and wish is that people are listening to what I am saying rather than how I am saying it. It’s the old “Golden Rule” technique; I treat others the way I want to be treated. My stutter has also forced me to become more patient in life. I always try to channel my inner zen master and just let the little things go because in the grand scheme of things, my stutter isn’t the biggest issue in my life today.
I remember reading articles about sports psychology and how many athletes use past failures or difficulties as a way to motivate themselves to do better now and in the future. I have always tried to use a similar technique to overcome my difficulties and to develop into the person that I am today. I like to talk, I like to give speeches, I like pushing my speech to its limits, not because I enjoy stuttering but because I like to do all those things in spite of my stutter. I refuse to let my stutter get the better of me and I truly believe that my perseverance plays a major role in my willingness to speak publicly or even to be sitting here writing this blog.
So no, if I had the chance to cure my stutter I wouldn’t. In a world where I didn’t stutter I would not be who I am today, and I love myself. I don’t love myself in a conceded kind of way, I don’t think that I am the greatest person on this earth, but I do think that I am seeing success in my journey to be the best me that I can be, and that stems from being okay with who I am – the good and the bad. I urge you all to try and take a similar approach to your self. We all have things we wish we could change, we may wish we were more extroverted, or that we were taller, or that our eyes were blue instead of brown. But instead of dwelling on things that we can’t control, instead, do what you can to thrive on the things that make you the awesome person you are. Instead of trying to be more extroverted, enjoy your “me” time reading a book on the couch on a Saturday night. Being tall has its upsides, but it in no way makes you a better person than your height challenged comrades. The song isn’t called Brown Eyed Girl because Van Morrison wished you had blue eyes. So please, instead of wishing you were something else, try, first, to love all the things about you that make up the person that people love, because you are all awesome in your own amazing way.