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What I Would Tell a Child Who Asks Me Why I Talk Funny

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If a little kid ever asks me, “Why do you talk funny and move funny?” I hope I respond with this much class:

“You know, I’ve asked that question a lot, too. When I was your age I wanted to be just like the other kids. I wanted to talk as fast as them. I wanted to be understood as well as them. I wanted to be the one scoring the points instead of getting hit in the nose with the basketball. You know?

Mighty contributor, Jason Freeman, when he was in third grade.
Mighty contributor, Jason Freeman, when he was in third grade.

What I slowly discovered is that wanting to be like Tommy, Joey or Dan only took me farther away from me.

Can you imagine spending your life worried and not playing because you wanted to have 10 arms instead of two. That would be goofy, right?

One of the most powerful things in life is to learn to do your best with what you have. If you spend your life wishing for the 10 arms, you will likely never do all you can with two.

I finally have learned to love my voice and coordination and to do my absolute best with them. And you know what, life is so fun! Now, I do the things I want to do instead of being afraid to do them.

As you grow, you likely will find something you wish were different about yourself. Everybody does. That’s OK. This makes you unique. And that’s perfect.”

The Mighty is asking the following: How would you describe your disability, disease or mental illness to a child? If you’ve done this before, tell us about that moment and the child’s reaction. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: April 5, 2016
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