Orange County, California
I have had my stutter for as long as I can remember. I consider my stutter as severe and it manifests as a speech block. When I block, it’s as if my body has a mind of its own; I couldn’t breathe, my blood rushes up as if I just did the most strenuous exercise, and I just couldn’t begin or utter a single word.
It wasn’t easy growing up with it especially in an environment where most people don’t even know what it is or how to react to it. For the most part, people were compassionate and understanding whenever I block in front of them, but I just couldn’t help but feel embarrassed, shameful, and inferior; I couldn’t help but compare myself with most people around me whom I observed were able to converse with others effortlessly. The severity of my stutter led me to a point where I resorted on using my phone to type what i wanted to say and show it to the person I was talking to. I thought I was being sneaky and resourceful at the time, but it just stunted my overall growth; I used it as a crutch, so I didn’t have to struggle as much.
It wasn’t until I met my speech therapist and friend Loryn Mcgill that I started my journey towards self-acceptance. She also encouraged me to partake in an intensive speech program in Idaho led by Dan Huddock, who also is a person who stutters. Both where instrumental in reframing my thoughts and feelings about my stutter. I made serious progress when I started to accept my stutter, knowing I have family and friends who love me for who I am as person. The realization that people don’t care at all that I stutter is huge for me.
I’m also a singer/musician who’s trained in operatic and choral singing. I got into singing, because I never stutter when I sing. Singing gave me an outlet for self-expression, which is very important for me since I grew up having a hard time expressing myself verbally. It eventually became my passion and pursued it. Through music, I was able to meet wonderful and talented people that accepted me for who I am; they gave me a positive and healthy environment outside of home, and that helped me to be more outgoing and not afraid of my stutter anymore.