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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

My first riding experience..!!!

Stuttering made me avoid so many things in my teenage life,things that even remotely involved talking. One of those things were learning to ride a motorcycle. I know that you don't have to talk to a motorcycle in order to ride it, but i had negative thoughts crawl into my mind every time i thought of riding, like "its not like i'm going anywhere,even if i know how to ride" or "i dont have any friends, who will i go to on  a bike?".  (it would look weird to my neighbours and family if they saw me talking to a bike, they would think that i like to talk to machines rather than people or that i'm crazy).
But recently , i decided to get over this fear or false beliefs of mine, i decided i will learn to ride finally, i will face these thoughts and check out their viability.

So, it was early morning yesterday, that i took the keys of my brother's bike, and went outside. i had never rode a bike before, i did have a minor accident on a scooter once, and that too made me averse to bikes. My experience of driving a car helped me greatly to get used to the bikes gearing mechanism fairly quickly. I was really anxious at first but as i rode on, i got more and more comfortable. I rode for about half an hour.

I wondered in my mind that if i thought earlier that i would be too weak to do this, that i would fail, and i proved myself wrong, i could as well change or prove wrong my beliefs about people's reaction to my stutter.

When i came home, my dad asked me "did you ride?"..i said yes,, i thought he would be angry,,but he was'nt.
More or less , i was so happy that i faced this fear or passivity of mine, and that i am facing my "stuttering mindset", by writing in this blog. The credit for this change in me goes to TISA.....thanks again..!!!
But as i said before , there is a long way to go.....

Monday, 14 May 2012

Living in a shadow of a doubt

The earliest memory i have of an "incident" involving my stutter was way back in kinder garten (KG). I remember that all the kids were playing some game ("chidiya udd", all indian kids must be familiar with it), and i could'nt speak some word. Everybody in the room cracked up and had a long laugh. I felt bad.
The most recent memory i have of another such "incident" was in college, a few months back, when i stuttered and a jerk classmate of mine, made fun of me by imitating my speech. I felt bad again.

Through these twenty years of life that i have lived, my days have been full of such incidents and me feeling bad about them. Yes, i stutter. Stuttering has been a part of me since i can remember talking. I cannot begin to describe how it has affected my life, what it has taken away from me, and what it has made me. Upto the age  of  nineteen, i was a helpless kid, with no self esteem or confidence, very few close friends, almost no interests,and my life was full of doubt. Stuttering had cast upon my life a shadow of uncertainty and doubt, that prevented me from having a full life. I do not say that I was given a raw deal or an unhappy childhood, there were good times too, but what use is anything if i could'nt say anything.

I had all the classic symptoms of an adult stutterer viz guilt,frustration,low self esteem,self hatred,anger,misconceptions about people judging me by my stutter. Because of my stutter, i always avoided people or situations where i was expected to speak, and also other things that i would otherwise have dine and enjoyed doing. My life was a dismal story, like an empty piece of paper.

This was until i got myself a much needed intervention. I came into contact with "The Indian Stammering Association" or TISA, which is an organisation consisting of indian people who stutter (pws). There i met wonderful people, people who amazed me with their level of confidence and zeal for life. Through somebody at TISA , i got hold on the soft copy of a life changing book by Malcolm Fraser called "Self therapy for the stutterer". It contains all the necessary speech modification techniques that a pws can use to control his stutter. It is a must have for any stutterer. The amazing change i see in myself since this intervention, efen surprises me most of the times. Though i'm not fluent all the time, i feel that i have gained much confidence and positive energy from all the positive people that i met .

Having this speech disability forced me to live in the shadows of my parents , my brother and i used to use it as an excuse to myself, for not doing things, for not speaking up when i should have, for not "participating in life". The biggest loss for me is the loss of the precious moments that i missed, the opportunities that i let go out of my hands, the people i did'nt make friends with, and the experiences that i never had.

However, i feel an inner conviction now, to change the way i presently deal with things,including my stutter. As someone rightly compared stuttering to an iceberg,, i feel that i have begun to attack the hidden portion of my iceberg, but it is only a start and there is a long way to go.