Our World

To my daughter:

My love, I want to talk to you about something called "Our World." Though a vast array of components combine to make up "our world," I want you to think of the parts that pertain or are directly affected by stuttering.

From early on (and I can only see this by looking back), I began a habit of staying within my "comfort zone." And I'm not referring to my speech at all. I stuttered on every word.

I found myself developing "habits," with regards to socializing, secualiarly, recreation, and my free time in general. It seemed I remained in my "shell" of activity. I would go to the same restaurants, eat the same food, play the same sports, hang with the same friends. When I dated and socialized during my late teens, I found this to be especially true. You are quickly approaching this period in your life, and I want you to enjoy this special time to the full!

One of the greatest pleasures in life, is entering and "discovering" someone else's world! Although there may be a tremendous amount of fear, and apprehension with regards to stuttering, you'll never regret venturing out beyond your "realm" of existance. This tendency in my life never really dawned on me until recently.

Remember that newspaper article that came out about us? I have become good friends with that reporter, and accepted an invitation to socialize with a group of "news" people. We met in a part of town I've never been in before, the "artsy" section, ate at an Indian restaurant (1st time! .... be sure not to tell them you like it "hot", btw!), and I spent the entire evening listening (and learning) about deadlines, formats, past editors, present editors, etc. They asked me a few times if I was bored with all this "shop" talk, and I told them I was quite fascinated!

I enjoy greatly being a "fish out of water"! I thought, as I drove home, that I would have NEVER had that experience in my late teen's, or early twenties! What you decide to do, is up to you, my love. I just want you to know how I feel.

Someday you'll meet a guy named Michael, that I just met at the Seattle Convention (1999). On Sunday night, we took the convertible Mustang I rented for the day, and drove around downtown Seattle. I let him drive, and we ended up wherever he turned. We talked about our "world," and he too, agreed that this was hard to do. Venturing and "exploring" new "worlds," which, after your accustomed to doing, you learn to savor the opportunities, fully enjoy the moment! We saw Chinatown, the waterfront, the Space Needle ... had a GREAT time!

Is it the fear of asking directions? The fear of something going wrong? Could it be the fear of sudden reliance on a total stranger? You'll only know by looking inside, my love. Always remember ... perceived fear can be a habit. Like negative thinking, or complaining. There's a difference between actual fear, which is a protection, and "invented" fear. Only YOU can distinguish the difference!

Now, one of the most precious experiences in my life, is to grab a map, and begin a direction. You may just find a place of beauty, or an incredible small town, with a quaint little restaurant! It may just end up a circle of travel, but I love going to a new place, and FEELING a new "world"! I hope you do too!

(Just leave Dad a note where you're going! :-) )


added July 19, 1999