Fighting An Inner Battle

Since I was a young boy, stuttering has always been a problem for me. It runs in my family on my dad’s side in particular. My grandmother had a stutter, some of my cousins have a stutter, and my younger brother used to have a speech problem growing up. I am not sure what it is with this side of the family, but as you can see, there is a speech impairment problem.

Stuttering kind of just made its way into my life as I’ve aged. I never really paid much attention to my speech growing up, and to be quite honest I don’t even recall stuttering as a child.

I began noticing that I have a problem with talking throughout my teenage years. When I speak I sometimes talk extremely fast, which causes me to trip or stumble over my words; in short, my brain moves at speeds that my mouth cannot comprehend and this sometimes makes it hard to express or communicate my feelings to others.

When I stutter, it’s not that I don’t know what I want to say. It’s that I haven’t learned the skill of pacing myself as I speak. The way I would describe my stuttering is like this – I get tongue-twisted a lot when pronouncing certain syllables.

It sucks, quite honestly. I have a fantastic voice, and I cant use it to the best of my ability because of this problem. I let it hold me back and I let it eat away at my confidence. You ever been in one of those situations where you’re with friends busting a joke, and then you stutter, and it kills the joke? Or on a date with a girl, you stutter mid-way through a sentence, and then it kills your confidence? Trust me when I say I’ve been in both of these situations many times.

I don’t know what it is about stuttering but it gives you the feeling of inferiority sometimes. You feel like you’re not equal to others, you feel as if you can’t communicate with others and you just feel voiceless at times because pronouncing certain syllables is a struggle. You feel trapped in your mind, constantly contemplating your thoughts, asking yourself questions like “will I ever be able to talk properly?” “Will anyone ever accept me and my disorder?”

This disorder takes a toll on me mentally. After tripping over a word, I am always in my head thinking about whether or not that person I’m talking to caught onto my stuttering. There have been many times throughout interactions with people where I feel like I can’t talk or associate myself correctly. It’s incredibly annoying too, because I always subconsciously think about it so much to the point where I stop talking or speak very little so that I don’t have to relive the embarrassment of getting tongue-twisted again.

Stuttering has been a real problem for me throughout most of my life, and this is how it has been for most of my interactions with others. But now being of age, I have thought about this problem for a long time, and now for the first time, I can finally say that I am making the necessary adjustments to correct this problem.

I am a Journalist (student) and I also work as a Salesmen. As I’m sure many of you reading may know these are both professions that require an individual to speak quite abit. Whether its with conducting an interview for a school assignment, or selling a wireless service to a customer, I have been making great use of my time both at school and at work to perfect my speech.

I’ve been learning the concept of pacing myself as I speak. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered this skill yet but I have made tremendous progress. Each time I speak now (with anyone) I always make use of my hands to control the overall speed of my speech. Doing this allows me to control my thoughts one at a time. While I have control over my thoughts I’m able to pronounce one word at a time at a steady enough pace for the listener to understand.

I also purposely distract myself to avoid the stutter. All this means is that anytime I think I am going to stutter I just think of something else to eliminate the thought of it. Everything starts in your mind so if you believe that something is going to happen, then it most likely will happen because you’re creating that reality in your head.

These two solutions have been very useful and resourceful because I’ve improved my speech pretty well these last couple of months. I know this because I’ve gained more confidence within myself to speak and I have also received compliments from others who have noticed my growth. However, I never let anything get to my head because I know at any point things can fall apart. So every day I keep myself focused and I try to do something different to improve my speech. (ex: pronouncing difficult words)

At this point, the next step for me is just learning how to control the stutter when I get excited or when I get frustrated. When I am feeling one of those two emotions I am not actively thinking about pacing myself and that’s where the stutter brings itself back to life.

So as you can see, I have made improvements but the job is not finished (R.I.P Kobe). There is still more work that needs to be done. But that is fine. Just like anything in life, it takes time to perfect things and it also takes much practice to get right, so I’ll keep at it. Some day I won’t have to think about this anymore.

The Moral of the story is this – we all face our challenges in our lives and we all have our problems to deal with, but it is not about those problems and those challenges, it is about what we do to overcome those things. It’s about the journey, not the destination and I think people tend to forget about this concept all the time.

In life you have two choices, its either you sit down and complain about why your life isn’t the way you want it to be, or you can get up and make a difference like I’m making. I hope after reading this story you’re more motivated to do better within your life. Thank you for reading.

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