The first time I realized I had a stuttering problem was in second grade when I stood up and proudly answered the teacher’s question with the correct answer of “Missi sis sip ppi. ” A fellow second-grade student then made this haughty remark, “What’s wrong with you? ” As I stared at the student with a blank expression on my face, I could not even comprehend what my classmate meant. My head was spinning with the letters Mississippi, and I was thinking how can I say this except, “Miss-ssiis-sippi? ” The only response I could muster was “What d-d-do you mean? ” The student teased, “You talk funny. The teacher then called for my classmate to leave the room.
Why, I did not know, but the words of my classmate stuck to me like Crazy Glue. I could not understand why he had said the words he had. When I arrived home that disconcerting day, my words of “Hello, Mom,” were intermingled in my mind with words from my sorrowful question, “Mom, do I t-t-talk weird? ” “Well, Sana,” my mama replied in a concerned voice, “you d-d-do stutter a little bit. ” “Stutter? ” I questioned, “Wh-wh-what’s that? ” “Well, stuttering is go-go-going over sounds in words, like when I pronounced the word, ‘going,'” said mother.
It just makes you unique and very special. Okay? ” I could not believe what I just heard. I didn’t want to be special. I wanted to be normal. My eyes flooded with tears. I felt cold running down through my body. My mom saw the devastation in my eyes and said, “I am so sorry, sweetheart, you inherited this stuttering from me; I stutter too. ” “But I don’t want to stutter. My classmates will make fun of me,” I screamed in a high-pitched voice. “I want to be normal like other kids. Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t… ,” I yelled as my words got blocked in my throat.
My mom put her arms around me and gave me a long hug. “It will be all right,” my mom said. “There are people who can help you be more fluent. ” The people my mom talked about were the school’s speech therapists. I hated going to therapy. For one thing, I hardly saw any progress in my speech; I still stuttered. Another reason I did not like going to therapy was because my “speech time” always occurred in the middle of class. This meant the class attention always transferred from the teacher to me. And once again, the kids would snicker and mimic my stuttering. I felt alienated from everyone.
The teasing did not occur just at speech time, unfortunately, but also during every other facet of my life as well. Every night, I would pray that the pain and alienation I felt would go away. I prayed especially hard that my stuttering would go away, forever and ever. I told God that I would do anything for him, if he would cure me from this horrible disease. Life went on and I was in ninth grade, but nothing else changed in my life except my height; the stuttering was still there with me. I was getting worse and worse in my English speaking as well as in vocabulary too. I was always trying to keep quite in class.
Whenever my teacher used to explain something my aim was the movement of the lips and not the words. I tried my best to escape every difficult word I had in my books, and, therefore, my writing power went bad with the speaking power too. In my ninth standard I had a Vocal Music class, and I did not wanted to take that class, as I knew that everyone will make fun of mine but that class was compulsory. Therefore, I took the class in the evening, when there were not many students; that was the best decision I made. On the first day, I was nervous, but my teacher made that day of my life one of the exciting school days I ever had.
My music teacher helped me to understand the meaning of life, as he saw my passion for music and helped me to solve the stuttering problem too. He told me that I have a different power inside me of making different noises from the throat and that is what is known best in Vocal Music. The best thing that happened to my personality in those days was I got confident. Even though I was still stuttering when answering a question in class, I started to shrug off the incident like a child does a jacket on a warm summer day. I also developed a deep respect for people who have handicaps.
For example, even blind people have had to face not only ridicule but also living without their sight. Finally, I started loving my Music class and I was improving every day not only in music, but I was also gaining faith in life. My teacher is the one who should get credit for whatever I am today. He helped me by giving me words with four to six letters every day and he used asked me to try to sing them, as he knew that I was very good in rhyming. He taught me how to fill in the gap in words with music and style of voice. I started loving to talk, and I was always found trying to rhyme the gaps in my words.
December 15, 1999, was one of the turning points in my life, as that was the day when I asked my mom for a dictionary. The first word I looked up was-Stutter. I loved singing words so much that I increased the length of the words and I started getting up at nights and I used to practice in-front of the mirror. As I progressed, I started reading simple sentences. The main thing I was trying to do was to say a sentence in one breath, and if sometimes I used to get a break, I tried to fill it in with my voice in a manner that did not feel bad. I was just flowing with the waves, as I was getting more and more into words.
I got the CDS of the songs I loved, with the words written on the cover, and this really helped me a lot as it was easy to fill the gaps with music. Unlike before, when I would become an emotional wreck when teased about my stuttering, the snickering and mimicking did not sting so badly now. I did have some little benefit with deep breathing and “turtle speech” from attending the speech therapy classes. In reflection, even though the experience that I had while going to speech therapy was like going to the doctor’s and getting shots in my navel for rabies.
I started reading books on stuttering and came to know that some of the famous peoples who stuttered in the past were Moses and Winston Churchill. Today’s examples of people who stutter include Ozzie Smith and James Earl Jones. The best day of my life was when I was in Junior high school and I gave a speech on nuclear war, though I did not won a prize. That was the day I felt that my mom was right, I am special. I am not like other kids who got everything themselves. I had and will always have to search for things I want.