This I Believe
This I Believe. I wrote this speech for my community college public speaking course in high school.
My name is Grant, and I’m a person who stutters. I consider my stuttering as a gift because it allows me to interact and see the world in a different way than I would have been able to if I were fluent. For, only 1 percent of the population gets the chance to see the world through a stutterer’s eyes. But there’s also a flip side to being a part of the 1 percent who stutter because sometimes I can feel like I’m the only one. Though stuttering has presented me with some unique challenges, it has undoubtedly helped shape the person I have become today, and I believe ultimately helped show me the importance of empathy, vulnerability, and understanding.
The challenges that I face being a person who stutters are unique in themselves and would probably seem benign to the normal fluent speaker. But to me, being a person who stutters, it feels like a life-or-death situation. The red sirens go off in my head to get the word out, and then I start to push. The flight or fight mechanism gets triggered, and I then just want to escape from the situation. At one point in time, just the act of having to raise my hand or speak in class produced anxiety originating from fears of being ridiculed or being made fun of because I stutter.
The toughest thing for me now is having to tell people that I stutter and that I have a speech impediment because having a stutter and being open, talking about it, and letting my voice be heard opens up a window of vulnerability. And sometimes, that vulnerability can get tiring when I have to explain myself to people all the time. But when you stutter, there is not really another option. I can either be open about it and use it as an asset to connect with people. Or I can choose to be silent and suppress my voice. I’ve tried both of these options, and I can say being vulnerable is the best option. Though it does get tiring to have people see ‘’all of me’’ and one of my deepest insecurities that I stutter, I still believe the positives outweigh the negatives. For, being vulnerable allows me to connect with other people on a deeper level because I’m already willing to put myself out there first.
Besides how vulnerability has helped draw me closer to certain people, I believe stuttering has, more importantly, made me a more understanding and empathetic person. Stuttering has a unique ability to shape a person’s character and what they value in life. Given my unique experiences and challenges in life that being a person who stutters has presented me with, it has led me to believe that empathy and understanding are the two greatest characteristics that a person can encompass. For me, there’s nothing truly like a person who honestly tries to understand my struggles and what I’m dealing with. For, that is the type of person that I strive to be someone who is accepting, empathetic, and understanding of all people’s unique vulnerabilities.