To The People Who Make Me Feel Powerless Just Because I Stutter, Imagine If People Laughed At You, Too

To The People Who Make Me Feel Powerless Just Because I Stutter, Imagine If People Laughed At You, Too

And as I sat there all those times I slowly felt myself asking why did I even speak? Better yet, why did I even think I could?

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I know now that you didn't know, I know now that you thought you were just being a "cool" kid who wanted to pick on the kid who you found weak, I know now that you thought you were just trying to help. I can never go back and change those moments but I can sit hear, type, and one day say to you that I forgive you. As much as I bottle this in, as much as I don't want to remember... I remember. I can never erase when my stutter and you made me feel like. You both won. When I was just this person trying to be a normal human being you took that away from me.

Imagine sitting in a room with 80 students and a substitute teacher pulls out the
attendance sheet.

She then says "Please tell me your last name also when I call you," You hear names called one by one by one, everyone is just saying their name so smoothly. But then you hear your name called. "Allyson...K" as she stops with confusion on her face. "How do you say your last name?"

I think to myself "Why in the world does she want to know my last name? Just know I am Allyson and move on," I start to say "Kauzlarich" and I can't get from the K to the A. I am stuck. I am so stuck that the whole room goes silent. Silent in a way I absolutely hate. Silent in a way my anxiety is shooting up to my brain telling me to escape somehow. In this block, I stop and start again.

All of a sudden she says "What...you can't even say your own last name?" she says loudly with a laugh. I stop, my eyes get big, I am so in shock that this lady had the audacity to even say that to me. As I look around everyone is staring at me. Like they were waiting for me to say something or maybe I had a good comeback that got me sent down to the principal's office.

I sat there waiting for someone to stand up for me. I sat there waiting for my so-called friends to say something. But no one did. No one did anything and in the silence, I was forced to bottle my emotions until that bell rang. I just looked, smiled and said "yeah I can't", looked down, and let her move on.

The bell rang and I dashed out of that room. I felt the tears just pour out of me. As I walked out of that door all of my friends asked "Ally are you okay?" and I really wanted to turn around a yell and scream at them. However my go to line "I am fine" came slipping out. I felt so angry at myself for stuttering. I felt that this lady caused me to feel like my voice wasn't even worth defending. I felt no one could stick up for me, even myself.

Imagine you are playing the game "popcorn" and someone calls on you...

Think back to your younger school grade days. You are in class and the teacher wants us all to read a paragraph. As she tries to find volunteers she says "actually let's just do the game popcorn. One reads and then after they are done you pick and etc etc."

One boy starts reading and internally I am screaming, I want to walk out of the room, I want to literally die because I don't want to read or have anyone choose me. I hoped no one picked me. As time went on and other picked others to read I felt a sense of confidence, sometimes it's like a wave. But then suddenly I hear "Ally,"

I cough, "hmm", and find where they left off and the sentence began.

As I start the first word I get stuck right there, my inner critic who I didn't know at the time starts yapping saying "just stop" but I keep pushing and thinking "maybe I can do this."

As words come and get stuck and I keep on pushing through all of a sudden my teacher starts reading. Yes, you read that right MY TEACHER STARTS READING THE WHOLE SENTENCE. I stop, look up, and she just reads what I would of read and then picks someone. Was I a ghost? Did I not even read and I was playing a game in my head?

I start to cry, I felt like I totally got pushed down and that a voice like mine never deserved to read.

Imagine sitting in a room with your classmates and you go to answer a question...

I accepted I knew the answer...accomplishment. I put my hand up...bigger accomplishment, heck that is freaking brave! I started to answer: YOU GO GIRL...

Bless my teacher for being ever so sweet to have me answer, but little did I know I would get those reactions with the "popular girls." I go to start speaking and I then hear those laughs. I hated them for laughing at me. And as I am still trying to explain my answer my stutter is very present. I then told the teacher I forgot the answer and as I sat there all those times I slowly felt myself asking why did I even speak?

Better yet, why did I even think I could? They took my power... they made me feel like I was nothing. They made me think I had no right of even being a human being who just wanted to talk.
Imagine that. just imagine.

All those times I had to introduce myself to the class, always try and avoid this because of these horrible situations. And I don't really want to go into a lot of detail in this section, but there's one that will always stand out.

Some people don't understand and it's not their fault but this was just downright rude.

It was the first day of 8th grade, and I was in my new class. (The first day always terrifies me because I know we will have to introduce ourselves.) The teacher greeted us all with a smile and says to us that we are going around to room, standing up, and saying our names. I say back in my chair wishing I was invisible, as usual. Then comes my turn, and I get up off my chair.

"I.... I am... A- A.." I stop and I look down and think "crap crap crap that was so bad I gave my stutter away..they know something is wrong."

As I go back and retry one student then begins to laugh, and I mean obnoxiously laugh and points his finger at me. And this laugh was just the laugh that ended that trying to say my name. I started to cry, I walk out of the room and the teacher took care of that student.

Now, there are a lot more situations I didn't go into or didn't mention. I wanted to bring to light these in specific.

I know as people who stutter we all had our horrible and traumatic situations. I know it hurts to go back and say that is really where that root comes from. And if you are a person who stutters and is reading this know that we can overcome it all, and we can go from being afraid of this all happening again to saying "you know what, I may stutter but I am going to own it and if someone wants to make a scene and make us feel like a little fish in a big sea, they don't get to steal me being me anymore." I think these situations made us realize how strong our stutter can control us but also how many people just are rude, and as much as we want to we can't change that.

-AKay

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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