“I do not stutter because I am scared; I am scared because I stutter.”
Growing up with a speech impediment has been one of the toughest struggles I have had to face in life. I felt very different from the other kids at school. They always talked so perfect while it was hard for me to get even one word out. I got picked on a lot at school and was even mocked by the other kids.
Talking in front of other people with my stutter is always embarrassing. I get weird looks and people think I am crazy. I learned in elementary school that if I just don’t talk than I don’t get all of the weird looks and stares whenever I do.
So, I stopped talking….
I only talked when it was completely necessary. Kids would come up to me asking me what I sound like cause they haven’t heard me talk in a while. I would just stare at them. It was always hard not being able to talk cause I had so much to say to my friends. I felt like a complete outsider and wanted to be like everyone else. I never knew how they were able to just talk. My friends never understood why I talked weird and why I don’t talk a lot.
Presentations in school were always hard. The teacher would always call me out on it and would tell me to calm down and breathe. How could I calm down and breathe when everyone is laughing at me? It got to the point where I would fake being sick so I could avoid doing my presentations. I would always end up doing it after school in front of only my teacher, which made me feel better. Once I got into the 8th grade I was excused from doing them completely and would have to stay after school and do them in front of my teacher.
When I was in middle school my mom put me in speech classes. It was always me and my speech therapist alone in this tiny little room at school. I was always embarrassed to tell people where I would go for thirty minutes of the day. I just told them I was busy doing stuff. I learned a lot in speech classes. I even met someone who was in high school at the time. She came and visited me and at that moment I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
I learned a lot in speech classes. I learned that my speech all depends on if my anxiety is high or low. If it is a stressful day than I stutter; non stressful than I do not. Some day are good and some days are bad. When I talk, I do not breathe. I know weird right? I don’t know how to talk and breathe at the same time. When I can’t get words out I develop what is called a block. It’s like the words get stuck in my throat and they won’t come out. When I don’t have a block I start saying what is called “filler words”. I say the words like or um to say until I can finally get the words I want to say out. When you meet me you won’t even know that I have a speech impediment. Yeah I’ll stutter but you will think its just a normal one that everyone does. When you get to know me you will definitely start to see it.
Now that I am a senior in high school, I have learned to slowly accept that this is something that I will probably have to face throughout the rest of my life. I have learned that it is okay to be a little different from everybody. I learned that I am not the only person in this world with a speech impediment.
“The whole point is to make dull repetition fun. You need that repetition to build muscle memory.