I feel like stuttering is a disorder that has not received the attention that it deserves. There are roughly 70 million people in the world who stutter. That is about 1% of the world’s population. And yes. In case you didn’t know. I am one of them.
I have lived with this speech disorder my entire life, and I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t come with a plethora of issues and concerns. I think about it before I call someone. I consider it before I speak. And goodness, gracious, in the era of the pandemic and mask-wearing, well, yes. The difficulty of trying to speak with a mask plastered on my face is exacerbated.
I could go on and on about my stuttering woes (and boy, do I have them), but in this blog, I am going to name three ways that my stutter has actually empowered me. Yes, you read that correctly. Empowered. Somehow, through all of the tears, fear, and the perpetual clamming up, I have found ways to feel empowered through my speech impediment.
1. I teach people to be patient.
We live in a very fast paced society where we want everything at the snap of a finger, including responses when speaking to someone. Well, as a person who stutters, I will tell you this: you will not always get those responses quickly. I have dealt with people being impatient with me when I am not able to deliver lightning-speed responses. In these moments, I have the opportunity to inform the individual that I am speaking to that I stutter. Thankfully, this is not an issue that I have too often; however, it is an issue I deal with on occasion.
2. I am always pushing past my comfort zone.
Did you know that I was a Theater Arts minor in college? Well, now you know. And do you know what that means? A lot of classes where I had to speak. I have also done community theater and auditions after college. I consider myself to be a “part-time actress”. I absolutely love acting, but I often shied away from it, due to my stutter. Strangely enough, I do not stutter during my performances (but boy do I struggle in rehearsals and table readings). Anyway, I am getting off track. The point is that I am always finding ways to push past my comfort zone and conquer activities that I thought I wasn’t quite capable of acheiving.
3. It helps me truly see the beauty in uniqueness.
People speak about this concept of being “unique” a lot, nowadays. Yet, when someone has a unique trait (such as a stutter) it is, more often than not, scrutinized. While living with a stutter has its ups and downs, I will honestly say that over the last year or so, I have learned how to find the beauty in the uniqueness of my voice.
Well, that’s all for today folks. If there is anyone reading this who stutters, I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you and the way that you speak. While society has convinced us that our voices deserve to be mocked or silenced, I want to encourage you to use your voice, even when it is scary to do so.
To those of you who do not stutter, but you know someone in your life who does, always make sure that you are being encouraging towards them and ensuring that they know that they are heard and that their voices matter, because sometimes, we definitely feel overlooked and unheard!
By the way, Happy New Year! I hope 2022 is all that you want it to be! Thank you for supporting All Things Allyson!