Throughout every person’s life, there always stands an obstacle to overcome. While some choose to retreat from the challenge, others choose to surmount whatever it is holding them back. I have always believed that if someone wants something bad enough, they will work however hard they have to in order to achieve their goal. I can honestly admit that through years of determination, research, and self-motivation I have been able to prevail over my adversity: stuttering. Many people try to mask this speech impediment with flowery terminology such as “blocking”, “bumpy speech”, or “mild disfluency.” To a stutterer, no matter how specialists or professionals refer to this disability, it is far from trouble-free. Each and every day I deal with stuttering with the conviction and determination to speak well.
I can say with confidence that my stutter has never held me back from doing anything. Even as a young boy, I knew I could not let this road-block stand in my way of success. This isn’t to say that my stutter at times did not go undetected. There have been many moments of ridicule and embarrassment throughout my life, but I have learned to simply brush them off and move forward. Quite frankly, these uncomfortable situations gave me the strength to work harder, attain more, and help me gain a greater sense of compassion. I feel that an important quality is emotional intelligence. For example, as a class representative and peer mediator, it is important to empathize with others and display this sense of compassion. I believe my stuttering has made me more resilient. It has given me the confidence to know that I can prevail even in the toughest of times. Whenever I am presented with something that is deemed inconceivable, I never back down from the challenge. For example, in wrestling, whenever I was told someone was “unbeatable,” I never stopped. In fact, it motivated me to do everything I could to succeed and prove that the title given to my opponent was in fact overrated.
Stuttering can be an obstacle only if a person makes it one. In my case, this disorder has only driven me to become the best I can possibly be. I feel that in many situations, whether it be school or athletics, I have overcompensated for what many may see as a deficiency. I have used it as a stepping stone to success, rather than an anchor to failure. I can remember the countless oral presentations that I would lose sleep over during the previous night. Only a person who stutters can feel the anxiety that one goes through prior to speaking. It was not long after one of my sophomore English class oral presentations that I decided to take an alternative measure.
I was either going to let my handicap take hold of me, or strive to plow through this blockade. For years, I had been researching an expensive device made specifically to improve the speech fluency of a stutterer; however, I was raised in a middle class family, where one does not throw around $5,000 for an “experimental” device. In order to pay for this device, I decided to become a certified lifeguard and work in the summer. I now use the device whenever I have to present anything orally. Stuttering has made me the person I am today: determined, ambitious, and compassionate. Along with the difficulties that I have encountered, I believe it has been instrumental in taking away my sense of complacency. Each and every day I set my expectations high, and know that my tenacity is the essential prerequisite to my future success.