Class Reunions

[ Contents | Search | Next | Previous | Up ]

Re: Thanks for sharing

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 10 Oct 2004
Time: 08:50:13 -0500
Remote Name:


Hi Amanda, Three good questions. I hope I can have three good answers. <smile> 1. How did my stuttering affect my social life in school? Did it prevent me from doing things? Looking back, it probably didn't affect me as much as I thought it did at the time. Dating was always a real trauma. I really wanted to date a girl named Gail and the G sound was just impossible. I tried to call her on the phone a couple of times, but they were disasters. So I didn't date nearly as much as I wanted. However my stuttering gave me the opportunity - or possibly the "requirement" - to go to speech camp for four summers, and those experiences really shaped my life for the better. Not in fluency, but in growing up socially and confidently. (But that's another story entirely!) I was pretty much a "geek" or "nerd" in high school and I probably would have been that way whether or not I stuttered. Academics were my strong suit - at least in high school - and my stuttering didn't play much of a part in that. However I joined the choir because I didn't stutter when I sang (duh! ha, ha!) and that's where I met the girl in the story. 2. How do I feel about knowing how little my classmates thought about my stuttering? Humbled and a little embarrassed to be honest. It's not easy to admit that you're WRONG, especially when it comes to such a fundamental belief in myself. I had always defined myself as "the boy who stuttered" but obviously my classmates didn't. It turns out that I believed something that just wasn't true. I still find that amazing to this day. But when you're obviously wrong, you just gotta admit it. 3. Has it changed the way I view myself about my stuttering? Yes, definitely. Absolutely. Not just my high school experience but my later experiences in life, particularly in Toastmasters (a public speaking organization in which I am VERY active) which drove home that exact same message. My stuttering may be a big deal to ME, but it simply is NOT to everyone else. Today I look at my stuttering as having provided me the opportunity to contribute to life in ways that few other people really can. I speak about stuttering all the time to university classes and civic groups and my stuttering gives me enormous credibility that a fluent person simply would not have. (That's another story too!) Today I am a very confident speaker, stuttering and all. I am a leader in the National Stuttering Association and in Toastmasters BECAUSE I stutter. I am extremely comfortable in who I am and what I am able to do with my life. I am very fortunate to have been so blessed. Excellent questions, Amanda. I hope you are enjoying the conference! Russ

Last changed: 09/12/05