“Okay sir, and what is your name?” the changing room attendee questioned. “Oh it’s Ch… Chrr…… CHRRR…. Sam.” Once again I have created a new identity. To my friends and family, I am Christian, but to store associates and other inquisitive strangers all over the world, I go by many names. There is a strong possibility that I have unknowingly set a Guinness World Record for most personas held by one human being, narrowly beating out Ted the schizophrenic (a.k.a. Stephen, Tom, Alfred, and Sebastian).
I have had a stutter since the age of 7 and it has definitely complicated life for me. Things that seem very simple to others can make my life a living Hell. Communication is one of the most beautiful gifts that we have been given as humans, but it is one that is so often overlooked and seen as a given. In my personal opinion, stutterers have one of the most humble and unique outlooks on the world and on the fragility of the human body. We can also be the most influential speakers of all, because each sentence that is uttered from our lips was fought for with every iota of strength and will our frail bodies possess.
Speech therapy was the first solution that my parents decided upon to help my inhibiting condition. After 6 years of uttering the exact same sentences back to a therapist and playing the same God-forsaken games created to thinly veil the monotony of the work, no major progress was made. My mother then heard about a program at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, which was created by a former stutterer and PhD. His system revolved around a small metal box at a table in a small, white walled room that recorded our voices. For 6 hours a day, we sat at the tables, alone in our bleak rooms, and recited vowel and consonant sounds over and over into the steel box that I was almost certain had been crafted by the Devil by the end of my two week session.
After attempting to fix my stammer for nearly all of my life, I finally decided that I was going to accept myself entirely, strengths and debilitating weaknesses alike. I realized that my stutter is merely one of the things that sets me apart from the rest of the world, it makes me who I am. Nobody on this earth is truly at peace until they are able to laugh at their own faults and accept every fiber of their being, no matter how gut-wrenchingly difficult it can be. I used to cry myself to sleep wondering why I would have this thorn in my flesh, but I am finally content and even overjoyed that my affliction just makes me human. Now, I enjoy being able to laugh with my friends about my stutter, some people are not lucky enough to have an incapacitating ailment that possesses a funny side. Everyone has a burden to bear, mine just happens to make people laugh.