|About the presenter: Chris Roach - Entering his 34th career year, Chris has had robust experiences in crisis management, financial institution failures, banking, and in the litigation consulting cultures, now contributing to the national economic bank failure crisis with a federal agency in a managerial role. He prides himself most as a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend to many. He's chronicled his lifetime stuttering journey in other ISAD papers that now finds him at a new epiphany of awareness and liberation.|
"The most painful decision, the one you don't want to do....is always the right decision of what you should do," I taught my daughter. Sadly, it took 55 years to convince myself of the same.
I've shared with many audiences my lifetime struggles as a covert stutterer, living with interiorized self-torture of fear of humiliation, quests for perfectionism to achieve "perceived normalcy," and exhaustive masquerades of tricks to mask my speech flaws. Capitulating to external negative messages, I fretted the impact of my stuttering on others' wellbeing at the sacrifice of ravaging my own insides. . .minute to minute, year to year. . . . Enough! I said.
Enough chronic gnawing of worry in that buried intestinal spot that's housed years of putrid fear, robbing me of restful nights, normal digestion and critical life decisions -- shunning the profession I truly wanted but could not pronounce. Enough of desperate attempts to control others' interpretations to those ugly escapees of stuttering words despite efforts to keep all disfluency hidden so others would feel better about themselves and therefore better about me. Enough channeling my true contributions of a blessed intellect and robust life experiences solely through the written word in lieu of my verbal capabilities, for fear my honest talents would be discounted by listeners who only heard the flawed sounds.
That painful decision I'd avoided over a lifetime? Honesty. Honest depiction of what I'm about -- my feelings, values, dreams. Honesty of how to share experiences with others to lessen their burdens, offer career advantages from my years of lessons learned honed from scars and triumphs, and most importantly, encourage all I encountered to nurture their talents and dreams. That's how we imagine our finest Legacy -- our life makes a difference for the better to all we touch -- a feat only possible through honest sharing of who we truly are -- uncontrived, unstaged and with no excuses necessary.
How did I answer this sudden urge for honesty? By making that painful decision I didn't want to, but knew was the right one -- I became open and upfront about my stuttering. To executive audiences or a sea of competitive colleagues of high expectations, in an environment of high economic stakes impacting many, I found a confident voice to introduce myself as a stutterer in public presentations of important mission-critical content, innumerable events over the years I'd exhausted Uba-energy into manipulating a perfectly fluent performance at the expense of poisoning my body and soul.
My disclosed stuttering to audiences is strategized that due to my intermittent stuttering (humorously accompanying my fast-paced, Texas colloquial accent), they should feel comfortable asking me to repeat any words they didn't understand so I can ensure an opportunity for them to hear again, for the sole important goal that my content -- what I have to say -- is clearly understood.
The paralysis of "fearing stuttering" soon dissipated, while my natural message reigned -- without filter, contrived scripts or limited scope. Blocks still followed but my intended message prevailed.
In the wake of that decision, what did I ultimately discover? The painful, but true, reward of honesty.
I truly no longer care about the misperceptions of others that I cannot control. I've ceased suffering that gnawing worry gremlin in my guts, costing me sleep, healthy nutrition and stained shirts, months in advance of the dreaded event. And I've truly begun to care exclusively about what I have to say -- not how I am going to say it. The honesty of my message trumps!
I now have an unbridled chance to make a difference to someone as a result of our lives crossing momentarily -- of sharing my life and career experiences of what helped me that can hopefully aid them. I only have that chance because I cherish these precious moments of communicating -- honestly, without fear.
As I love to tell my precious daughter and now beautiful grandsons, please learn from me. If only I'd been true to myself, my life, though truly blessed and great, would have even been better. And for the next fifty years, it will be!
Now as an odd aside, remember that resident demon inside my guts which housed my stuttering worries and consternations over these many years? That caustic intestinal spot where anxiety landed? That same domineering culprit that hijacked sleep, digestion and calm?
It's gone now!
Literally. Thanks to the medical miracle of Colectomy, a foot of my relentless rebellious guts were evicted this week, resectioned and primed for a healthier path ahead.
Hum? Makes me wonder if I had found honesty earlier in life, would I have been spared from this unwanted painful destiny? If only someone would have been honest with me years ago. . .perhaps like myself. . . .