My Stutter Is A Monster And A Teacher All In One

My Stutter Is A Monster And A Teacher All In One

Maybe if I didn't stutter people would be more proud of me...

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Imagine sitting there, silence fills your head like the biggest noise, and you wait for the endless block to break. You are begging the air to finally escape so the word can come out and you can catch a semi-break. Imagine having to walk out of the classroom and go cry in the bathroom stall because you couldn't face the stares and what people thought as that moment went on. That was when stuttering won, took over and made me into someone who tried as hard as she could to not say a word.

Back in sixth grade, I hit what we all call "rock bottom." I was depressed, afraid, and I hated each word I ever wanted to say. So I thought since my voice was this ugly pile of God knows what, I made a choice. For a year I was mute. I wrote down what I wanted to say. I would have a pencil and pen always with me and a notepad. In every conversation I had, I wrote my reply. Even if it was just a simple "hello" or "goodnight".

My stutter was the monster that stole every chance it got to keep me hiding...to make me afraid of being Allyson.

Stuttering has been the thing that always wanted to be in control. That no matter what I did it was never good enough for anyone. My words meant nothing, I was useless, and I was angry at God for giving me this thing that made no sense. Why was I here if I couldn't talk like everyone else?

The monster made me learn how to avoid scary situations as best as I could. Whether it was to fake a phone call, get up and leave the room before my turn to speak, not speak at all, or try to find someone to speak for me. (Which sometimes you pick your battles.)

It has been the monster that has made me hide and work like hell to not stutter. I always thought "oh no, what if they find out and then they don't want to be my friend?" It roamed my mind always. Stuttering made me surrender to it's never ending empty promises.

Time and time again it took me a long while to realize what my voice truly sounded like. One day it was the monster and the next it was a teddy bear. So I never knew who was who. Somedays I said "this is just who I am", but somedays it destroyed every bit of hope I had. All my life I said that my stuttering was "it."

Sometimes I still slip up and say that two letter word and not say it's true name cause it's hard to accept that I stutter. It's hard to accept I have a speech disfluency that feels like it'll never get better, or if it gets better I will lose who I am. (Wow, did I just say that? I did.)

Do you see the tricky part about it? The word "stutter" triggers that box of real feelings I repressed. The monster made me feel like every shot I ever took, I was going to drown in the unfulfilled expectation and make me feel as if I didn't do my best...that I could have done better and that was a wasted fail of a stutter.

The monster kept me from believing in my dreams that I have, and have had. If I didn't have this stutter I would be thriving at my life and heck I could totally be in France right now speaking fluent French and be able to have a full, nontime consuming, and easy flow conversation with people (also my French teachers.)

Maybe if I didn't stutter people would be more proud of me, maybe if I didn't stutter I wouldn't feel like a burden all the time. Maybe if I didn't stutter I could love myself. Maybe if I didn't stutter I would know what it would feel like to be like everyone else. Maybe if I didn't stutter people would like me more. Maybe if I didn't stutter I could be loved. Maybe if I didn't stutter I wouldn't have been rejected. Maybe if I didn't stutter I could have said what I really wanted to say and things would have changed. It's the monster that has made the mask, made my brain automatically think of the lies that I continue to tell myself sometimes (and that my friends are me introducing my inner critic.)

My stutter has been the teacher that taught me the lessons I hold to this day.

In the hard times and the disappointments that my stutter has caused me to feel, I have had the front row seat to finding that there was a light that shined as I grew older.

My stutter has helped me have a head start into really caring for others.

My stutter has helped me listen attentively to others and what they are going through or saying.

My stutter has taught me how to show empathy.

My stutter taught me how to be strong in the storm.

My stutter has taught me that I can take initiative and do what I want to.

My stutter taught me how I can take any situation and make it something good.

My stutter taught me that no matter what has happened I have made it this far, and I have the ability to keep going.

My stutter taught me to recognize beauty in a world where I looked from a different perspective.

My stutter has taught me that I get to offer this world a new way and a new message.

My stutter became my teacher, it taught me the things that made me see who I truly was in a different way.

The most important: My stutter has taught me how much I still have yet to overcome by every time I look back at the personal struggles and the personal risks I've overcome. To look at the lessons from my stutter and start expanding my newfound knowledge that I know it has taught me, and apply it to the new aspects of my life.

It has been the monster who has pushed me to the ground, forced me to stay hidden, but it's been the teacher that taught me all the life lessons I know now.

My stutter has taught me that the one thing you think defines you fully is the one thing that makes you fight harder for the change you want to see in yourself.

-AKay

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Goodbye To The Boy Who Sexually Assaulted Me, You Can Never Hurt Me Again

In 30 minutes you turned my life around.

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*Content Warning: Sexual Assault*

You destroyed me.

You took away my innocence.

You were able to take away my dreams and aspirations.

You were able to shut me down in ways I didn't know to be possible.

In 30 minutes you turned my life around.

Broken trust, that is what you left me with. A broken sense of stability and love. Sometimes I sit and wonder why you thought it was okay to take advantage of me? Why it was okay to hit, and belittle me? You had me left feeling foreign to my own body.

But then I realize it is not my fault, it is yours. This is not a cry for help or an avenue to get attention this is me raising awareness that not only did you hurt me but others are experiencing the same thing you put me through.

My innocence was taken by you without consent. I sat in my room for hours after that night thinking of ways to end the life I was given. I spent countless nights waking up screaming with tears rushing down my face. I spent the majority of my future relationships scared of ever letting myself feel again. I was forced to take avenues of help like therapy appointments and trying different depression medicines. All of this resulted from the 30 minutes you could not control yourself.

Yes, you destroyed me. But now I'm stronger than ever, you will never be able to hurt me again.

With all of the pain and endless nights of contemplating my reason to live, I found strength, I found a way to share my voice and help others experiencing this pain. I am stronger now than I ever thought possible.

I wake up every day now appreciating the things in life that matter most to me, like the love my boyfriend has for me, the amazing family I am blessed with, and the amazing friends that helped me through this experience. I have learned that fighting for my life was worth it and I was not going to let you take that away from me.

I will not stop sharing my story, I have learned that sharing my experiences of sexual assault has let others feel less alone in the scary process that you, unfortunately, put me through. What you did to me was not okay. But through this, I have understood and realized my worth in this crazy rollercoaster we call life.

I found strength in the moments you made me the weakest, and I'm no longer looking back.

I have hope that other survivors will understand that their life is just as valuable. There is a bigger fight for happiness and finding it is not always the easiest but the journey getting there is worth it.

You ARE strong.

You ARE worth it.

It's NOT your fault.

You're NOT alone.

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

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The Selflessness Of Self-Care

It is OK to nurture yourself before nurturing others.

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Do you find yourself prioritizing taking care of others before taking care of yourself? I do.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Saiarchana, and I am a nurturer. Nurturing people is something that has almost become second-nature to me because I am so accustomed to doing it. I love uplifting others and being there to give them support when they are in need. I love giving support to others so much that I am even majoring in Psychology. Nurturing is something that is incredibly important to me. I nurture others because I don't want anyone to feel alone or unsupported.

But, sometimes I forget to nurture myself.

I used to believe that taking care of others involved sacrifice. This kind of sacrifice was my own energy and self-care. I lived under the belief that by pulling away and taking care of myself, I would be labeled as selfish. So, I kept on nurturing others around me.

Until I broke down.

I was giving so much support and care to others, that I had forgotten about me. I am also a very important person in my life. My relationship with myself is incredibly important, and I had forgotten that. I was so focused on pouring love and care to others, that I had forgotten to water myself with those same sustaining forces. I was getting drained and worn out from nurturing and giving love to so many people around me because I was neglecting myself.

When I realized what was happening, I finally understood: Love is not starvation. I do not need to starve myself in order to feed others. I do not need to neglect my self-care in order to care for and give love to the people around me. Nurturing others does not equate to neglecting myself. Because, once I neglect myself, I end up not being able to show up fully for the people in my life.

I read a quote by an influencer named Allie Michelle. Michelle said:

"Taking care of yourself is selfless. An empty well cannot give water to a village."

When I read this, it was as if my eyes developed clearer vision. I recognized that I believed that self-care was selfish when actually it is one of the most selfless things I can ever do for this world. When I am able to take care of myself, I am at a healthier and stable position to give care to others. When I give from a place of lack, I end up lacking more. Giving my energy to others when I am in desperate need of recharging my own energy will end up making me feel emptier. It is like the good analogy from Michelle's quote. I cannot give from an empty source. When I forget to give love and care to myself, I reach a point where there is nothing left to give to others, because I haven't maintained a solid foundation for myself.

Giving care to others should be a fulfilling experience, not a draining one. In order for it to be a fulfilling experience, I need to make sure I am not giving from a place of emptiness. I need to nurture myself because doing so will give me a stable foundation. So, I finally understand the key to nurturing others: making sure I am nurturing myself first.

So, what now?

I am going to continue giving love and care to others. But this time, I am going to make sure I am nurturing myself too.

I hope you nurture yourself too. You are worthy of the love and care you give to others.

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