Most of my life I self-identified as a stutterer. Today I see myself as a writer. Apples and oranges, you say? Perhaps. Today my drive for effective communication may be derived by limitations imposed on me by my stutter. As a child, I was simply not capable of effective oral communication. Today, hopefully, I am able to effectively communicate by writing.
To be clear, as a child, my stutter was so pronounced my blocks might last a full minute. The facial expressions on those in my audience were compelling. Mostly, those faces reflected disgust and pity. Those seemingly incapable of pity reflected confusion.
Within the context of my current stutter, my near fluency today is a byproduct of mental gymnastics in choosing words and formulating sentence structure. For most, the mental process of word choice and sentence structure formulation is a learned discipline. For me, it is second nature. No, more apt is that it has become a core characteristic of my nature. As natural as is breathing.
My mild manner is also likely a byproduct of my stutter. Treated unfairly as a child, I learned anger was not helpful. Perhaps, anger was not even justified. Compassion for the plight of my audience may well be a gift from God. Whilst stuttering, I felt as bad for them as I did for myself.
Of all the examples of unfairness in the world, few are starker than the meanness of a child. Life has yet to impose on them a filter between mental processes and vocalization of their thoughts. They do not possess sufficient perspective to allow them to anticipate the impact their behavior will have on others. Nor do they see their impact as a reflection of themselves. When it comes to meanness, they will give as good as they get. Their emotional outbursts are spontaneous. This is not a fault in their character. They are not bad, wrong or acting improperly. They are children, expectedly acting childish. The first time a child hears a stutterer, it is appropriate for them to laugh. Stuttering sounds funny! Though rarely will a child laugh at a stutter a second time.
As a child, when I was around physically impaired people I was embarrassed and was shy to be near them. Especially, I was fearful of interacting with them. My stutter may have influenced my feelings for the impaired, but I expect my emotions were actually on par with most other children. I believed then that people viewed me as I viewed the physically impaired. Today, I feel no unease in these situations. In some manner we are all impaired. Are we not?
My stutter is a blessing to me. It helped me become a writer. Writing helps me better know myself. Knowing myself helps me better understand others. Being understanding and empathetic of others helps me be a friend. My stutter has made me a better person, than I might have otherwise been.
We all have potential to burst forth in Glory provisioned by a loving God. We are all children of God, from Whom all Blessings Flow.
So sayeth Wint, the stutter!
No parent would want our children to suffer as we have, but life has a way of putting obstacles that we have to gird ourselves to overcome. Those that have striven in an area of life and have overcome; Those are the strong and wise ones, that are qualified to teach others.
We, thee and me, have overcome much. Thanks pal.
…And what a writer you’ve become! I so enjoy reading your words of wisdom. Personally, I always enjoyed our conversations and never took into account your delivery. Please keep writing and enlightening the world.
Your comment is timely, as I needed a bit of inspiration at this time! Thanks Juan …