When Words Do Not Work
Stuttering has always been a part of my life, and I cannot pin point the exact moment when I realized that I was in fact a “stutterer”. My grandparents had me in speech classes, I went to a special center on the weekends for support, and I eventually stopped caring as to what other people thought about me.
Stuttering is defined as a speech disorder where you have involuntary repetition. Sounds especially the first few letters are often repeated. Some people stutter all the time and others like me find that it comes and goes. I have never fully understood the science behind it, but I am perfectly okay with accepting how I am.
As a child, I was terrified to read in class. I hated talking to other people, and never picked up the phone at home. During my first real job, I would always try to hide when the phone rang. People who speak differently may live in a constant fear because of their speech.
Years later, I worked on turning what some may perceive as my greatest weakness into my greatest strength. I got involved in Key Club International where my advisor encouraged me to run for a statewide position at the convention during my sophomore year of high school. I ended up running for District Editor, and won. I had to speak in front of eight hundred high school kids, and was scared to death. I pushed through, and that year was one of the best experiences of my life.
The following year, I was encouraged to run for Key Club International Trustee. For the campaign, I had to give a speech to over a thousand students from across the world. We also had to caucus where we spoke to smaller groups. While I won the election, a few weeks later somebody listed on her social media “Chuck Black speaking” as one of the funny memories of the convention. I was crushed.
I thought my generation was supposed to be more accepting. Her comments only made me want to keep pushing forward. My grandmother had always wanted to get me a device to help me speak more clearly. I always told her that I was perfectly happy the way that God created me, and I was not going to let a machine become a part of my life.
Stuttering should not ever stop you from becoming the person that you want to be. Many famous people stutter. The famous list includes actor Bruce Willis, golfer Tiger Woods, Vice President Joe Biden, singer Elvis Presley, and so many more.
There are so many resources out there for help, but everyone has a different path to finding what works for them.
I know my grandparents had so many questions as this was something new for them, and they wanted what was best for me. While I am not a parent yet, I understand the desire to make sure your child is supported with all aspects of life.
I share my story because even when your words do not work, your life should keep moving forward. We all have the ability to change the world, and nothing should stop us. Just be yourself.
Chuck Black is an activist, educator, and aspiring writer. He holds a Master of Science in Project Management, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Chuck is employed as a School Age Child Care Teacher. He can be reached at ChuckBlack89@gmail.com.