I was asked to present a piece of poetry as a first timer at the National Stuttering Association Conference in 2012. I of course waited till the very last minute to write it and while on the plane to the conference after having writers block I made myself free write for 10 minutes. Out of this came something that I have never consciously thought of before. “Maybe nothing was wrong with me and everything was wrong with the listener. Maybe me stuttering is a lesson for whoever I'm talking to in patience.” I was a little taken aback that I had such a strong opinion supporting stuttering, and I had questioned it a bit, but the concept flowed well with my poem so I kept it. The poem was received extremely well, which lead to the beginning of me taking complete pride in my voice.
The more I explored this concept, the more I understood that 70% of communication is truly nonverbal. If I am telling a person non verbally that I am uncomfortable with my speech and I am uncomfortable with speaking, they will treat me as such. The more comfortable I am while speaking (stuttering included) the more comfortable the listener is. Understanding this then lead me to experiment with different situations and how I could perform my best, and keep myself as comfortable as possible. Through this I then found the power of authenticity. All people want is to connect with another person and an authentic person at that. My goal now in life is to always be authentic, I admit that I change often and my views shift, but the core of me is the same, and I have found my way of communicating through authenticity.
My experience is that people will wait to hear you speak if you think what you have to say is important enough to be heard. My experience is also that the struggle that I had with stuttering is slowly dissipating the more comfortable I become. I still stutter. I don’t mind that. I enjoy being 1% of the speaking population, I think it’s a cool club to be apart of. Does my speech test me daily, yes, but I also overcome it daily, and what better way to build confidence?