The First Time I Said My Name Smoothly

Just recently, something extremely exciting happened that I have been eagerly waiting to share. For the very first time, I said my name smoothly, not just once but several times in a row! For someone who has dreaded introductions for years, the joy that flooded my heart each time completely overwhelmed me. I couldn’t stop smiling. I had never known what it actually felt like to tell someone my name without an intense struggle first.

Looking back on these few instances, I am intrigued as to why I suddenly did not struggle after so many years of fighting to say my name. I have been contemplating whether I did something differently without realizing it — like relaxing my vocal cords more, releasing all the tension in my lips, or sliding into the “M” sound instead of pushing it out — so I can learn from these experiences and try to implement the same strategies in the future. As one individual so wisely stated, people who stutter should absolutely enjoy their moments of fluency, but they must not forget to learn from them as well. Sometimes, studying my fluent speech can provide such valuable insight into why I may be struggling at other times.

If you haven’t already noticed, I couldn’t be happier about this long-awaited breakthrough because it showed me I have the ability to say my name fluently. It will just take some creativity and patience on my part to discover what strategies might help me achieve more fluency on my name on a regular basis. Right as I was starting to lose hope and beginning to fear my name even more each day, I believe God used this wonderful experience to remind me to never, ever lose hope.

I never imagined something as simple as my name could teach me so much about life. Yes, the stuttering journey can bring deep sadness sometimes. After all, communication is crucial to thriving in this world. Nothing currently in my life is more difficult than fighting to order food, or to make a phone call, or to ask a question. However, I would not trade its sadness at the expense of all its incredible joys for the world.

I have not always felt this way, and it would be dishonest for me to claim I necessarily feel this way every moment of every day. Some days, I just want to cry, especially when I feel my fear holding me back in certain situations. But overall… the joys far outweigh the sadness.

Wendell Johnson describes the stuttering journey so accurately in the following quote:

“I am not like other people. I must think differently, act differently, live differently — because I stutter… I have known all my life a great sorrow and a great hope together, and they have made me the kind of person I am. An awkward tongue has molded my life.”

Photo by Ariana Prestes on Unsplash

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Stuttering

drive thru painted on street for directions

A Letter to the Drive-Thru, From a Person Who Stutters

Dear drive-thru, You’re up there with the phone on my list of biggest adversaries. That’s quite an achievement considering we’ve only known each other since late 2010, while the phone has been a constant my entire life. Unlike the phone, I have yet to fully conquer you. I can’t even count the number of times [...]
Elementary school classroom.

My Journey From Stuttering to Teaching

Stuttering is a hidden disability and one which affects 1 percent of the world’s population. For many people who stutter, the world can be an intimidating place to live in and one where a stutterer can feel isolated. Renowned speech pathologist Joesph Sheehan talks about stuttering as being like an iceberg. People only see 10 [...]
Rough waves with view of sunset.

When I Wondered If Stuttering Would Always Define Me

The last time it happened she was a friend of mine. I could feel my mouth contorting. My eyes closed without my consent. The air around me darkened and I couldn’t stop it from happening. She looks at me and waits. The waves of insecurity are at high tide. She’s patient but my brain wonders [...]
Man looking at the ocean and horizon.

If I Didn't Stutter

Whenever someone asks me if I would take a magic pill to eliminate my stutter, my response is 90 percent no. The reasons are: I wouldn’t have some of my life experiences. I wouldn’t be part of a great and inspiring community. I wouldn’t be as empathetic and compassionate. I would be missing out on [...]