When a person finds their voice, they take on grace.
For years, I lived in a self imposed silent prison, cloaked in veils of shame, rarely allowing my voice to be heard.
I am a woman that stutters. My words are sometimes broken, halting, or pushed out. Or sometimes they don’t come at all. By the tender age of five, I learned how shame felt. It was reflected in the eyes of my listeners – my father, teachers, and peers. I didn’t measure up. Their shame became my shame.
So I took up a life of hiding. I learned how to switch words, even when what I said made no sense. I avoided speaking and let people believe I was nervous, shy, scared and not very smart.
But that was so far from the truth. I talked to myself all of the time. I had so many things to say. I knew the answers in class, but never raised my hand. I couldn’t risk exposure, because they laughed and pointed. The few times I dared speak and was mocked, I pretended it didn’t bother me. The saying, “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you” was not true for me. The stinging words of others who teased me hurt. My own broken words hurt. I cried inside.
Stuttering became my shameful secret. I got so good at hiding it that no one in my adult world knew I stuttered. But they also didn’t know ME. Inside her was a strong, gifted woman with a voice that needed to be heard, that clamored for release. I began searching for a way out of my silence. The way found me.
I was fired from a long-time job because of stuttering openly. That was all it took. My inner voice screamed to my outer voice. I no longer wished to hide my authentic self. I started talking, to everyone who would listen. I shared my story. I met others who stutter, even women, shattering my belief that I had been the only one. I was finally alive!
Communication is more than just perfect fluency. It is connecting, sharing, standing up and speaking up. I have a story. Everyone has a story. And so do other women world-wide who stutter.
Listen to “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" at www.stutterrockstar.wordpress.com.
Hear my voice! Hear our voices! I am graceful!
Take action! This post was submitted in response to My Story: Standing Up .