I remember vividly my father reading me books at night as a child. The way he emphasized every reaction of each of the characters in my stories while reading in a smooth uninterrupted rhythm. I remember being asked to read aloud for the first time in class, and constantly getting stuck on a word. From a very young age I built an anxiety around speaking out loud or reading aloud around anyone. No matter how hard I tried to say a sentence that sounded perfect in my head, it would always come out stuttered. I struggled making friends throughout grade school, because of my fear of being picked on or bullied because of my disability. My confidence and my entire mood were dramatically affected because I truly felt I would never be normal and get the right words like everyone else around me. I fell into depression in my teenage years and became a loner. People would whisper hurtful things about me in class, but I did not even care at this point. I was already my own worst enemy and no one was harder on me than myself.
I sought the help of therapists and counselors to help. Most of them tried hard, but they were no help to me. Until I met one woman who suffered from the same problem as me in her younger years. Her speech was superb. I remember listening to her story for the first time in disbelief because she told it flawlessly. She told me a secret that would become like a miracle cure for me. She told me to practice everything in the mirror before you say it. Think about what you want to say 3 times before it comes out of your mouth. In the beginning this made my responses very long and drawn out, but her story inspired me so much that I kept trying and practicing. Not too long after I was cured. My confidence was back, and I began forming new relationships that I never thought were possible. The heavy weight of anxiety and nervousness around groups soon faded away and I saw life in a new way. I am so hopeful for the future now because I know there is nothing I cannot do.