From a stutterer’s point of view
By Zubin Mathew Joseph | Published: 01st July 2017 04:00 AM |
The definition of stuttering is, “To speak in such a way that the rhythm is interrupted by repetitions, blocks or spasms, or prolongation of sounds or syllables, sometimes accompanied by contortions of the face and body.”
Nearly 70 million people in the world suffer from this speech disorder—1 per cent of the total world population are affected in which I myself am included. It has been both a curse as well as a boon for me.
Growing up I always used to think, “Why me? Why should I do reading exercises while all the other kids were out playing?”
“Why couldn’t I talk normally like them and not be made fun of?” It did make me feel inferior and insecure.
Stuttering is the only disability which is openly laughed at by the society. I don’t see anyone laughing at someone who is blind or has a withered arm. Stuttering can lead to low self-esteem and low confidence. It can mentally destroy a person, but only if you let it.
Soon enough I’ve realised it has taught me things which I would never have learned if I didn’t have the problem. It gave me insight into other people’s pain. It kept me grounded.
Who knows if I didn’t have stuttering, maybe I would have gone on to be a pompous arrogant prick who would have had no compassion for other people’s troubles and suffering.
Many famous personalities like Winston Churchill, Joe Biden, Hrithik Roshan, Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis and Ed Sheeran have all overcome this speech disorder giving hope to stutterers worldwide that one day they too can.
King George VI never got rid of his stutter, but he didn’t let his nation down when they needed him the most giving a morale-boosting stutter-less speech at the outbreak of the Second World War.
American actor James Earl Jones who voiced Darth Vader in the Star Wars films overcame stuttering and even become noted for his powerful voice.
Stuttering is not a thing to be embarrassed about, no disability is. As Ed Sheeran once said in his speech at the Stuttering Foundation Gala, “Embrace your quirks and weirdness, no one can be a better you than you.”
A person is not defined by their disability, but by the life they have lived. It is the impact that they have had on others that defines them.