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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

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


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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11 Things You NEVER Say To A College Girl Trying To Get Into Shape

Just never talk about a person's weight.

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When my family and friends joked that I was going to gain 15 pounds in my freshman year of college as a result of the "Freshman 15," I thought it was what it was supposed to be: a joke. However, as the year has come to an end, I realized that I actually did put on a couple of pounds, albeit it wasn't the predicted 15.

As I told those that I wanted to get into an ideal shape for my body, I was met with some insensitive and ignorant remarks. Everyone thought that I mean just losing the weight I had put on.

1. "You walk to all of your classes, why aren't you losing weight that way?"

My legs are more toned than they ever have been before. However, most of the weight I have been gaining has gone directly to my gut (annoying!) and walking does not remedy that. Unfortunately, I have to stick to ab workouts.

2. "But you look fine to me!"

I don't feel healthy to myself. I'm not trying to stay in shape for anyone else, just myself, thanks. I appreciate you trying to make me feel better about my body image but I know something has to be done.

3. "I didn't gain any weight in college."

Good for you. I did. I'm trying to do something about it.

4. "Just stop drinking."

I don't drink. Really, the only liquid I consume is water or iced tea. I don't like soda and alcohol makes me nauseous way too easily.

5. "Isn't the gym free on campus for students?"

Yes, but some people don't like working out in front of others. I am one of those people. My friend lives in an apartment complex that has their own gym and almost no one is ever there but not everyone has that luxury. Also, some are busy and do not have time for a quick jog or to stretch.

6. "You should try this diet/pills/exercise routine."

I am thankful that you are trying to help but my diet is just eating healthy and having a few cheat days in between. I know what exercises work best for me and I am just not taking pills. Bodies adjust differently.

7. "Don't starve/force yourself to throw up."

Trust me, I know. I'm trying to lose the weight healthily. If you do find yourself practicing unhealthy eating habits or realizing your body image is deteriorating, the NEDA Hotline is (800) 931-2237. Please reach out if you are going through hardships.

8. "Won't you have to buy a whole new wardrobe?"

If I drop (or even add) a size or two. We grow out and grow tired of clothes on the regular, what's the difference if you have to buy some because of a weight change? Plus, who doesn't love buying new clothes?

9. "Just eat healthier."

Didn't think of it! Options are limited at college where the dining halls don't offer all that much that is actually good for your body. Now that I'm at home, it's easier. But I'm already trying to eat healthy.

10. "You've evened out since the last time I saw you!"

This is code for you've put on some weight. I hear it mostly from older relatives because my friends will flat out tell me if I've gotten a little chunky.

11. "You're just stressed."

Personally, this one gets me livid. I do admit that when I am stressed or anxious, I do turn to food for comfort but when I am delighted and genuinely happy, will my body magically revert into a fit state?

Sadly, no.

Honestly, I am just trying to get my body back into shape. For me, that means cutting back on greasy foods and kicking a bad habit of sitting on my butt all day. For others, it could mean more or less. As long as your body is in good physical condition and you are content, the number on the scale and others' thoughts shouldn't matter. Take care of yourself.

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