By Yasmine Amin

For a long time I felt as though my stutter was robbing me of the person I wanted to be; I was the shy girl who didn’t really say much, which in today's world is somehow synonymous with not knowing much, and I was always viewed as less capable than others.

My stutter has accompanied me throughout every inch of my life. It never gave me a break; I chose my food at restaurants based on what I could say during that specific moment, I spelled words out sometimes because I couldn't think of a different way to say something (this got me some questionable looks), and I became so used to hearing the infamous, ‘Oh it’s just nerves, I also stutter sometimes.’ This frustrated me because people didn't realize is that there is a huge difference in between fluent speakers who stumble sometimes due to nerves or anxiety, and those who stutter on a daily basis- even when speaking with a sibling or parent.

Although I do have some resentment towards my stutter and the hard time it continues to give me, it is actually something I have come to view as a blessing.

My stutter made me wise. When you stutter you tend to speak only when completely necessary and that has its perks. All the times I spent silent, I was observing the world. As a result, I was always more wise than most people my age.

My stutter made me a better listener. By learning how to control the urge to speak, I have naturally become more interested in what others have to say. This has increased my curiosity and expanded my knowledge. Susan Cain puts it perfectly, “We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.”

My stutter made me a better writer. Whenever I couldn't speak, my journal was my best friend. I wrote and wrote and wrote, until I had nothing left to say. Theres something about putting your words down on paper that makes you grow (both as a writer and a person.)

My stutter made me more understanding. Whenever I see anyone struggling, I sympathize with them because I struggle every day. I know what it feels like to give it your all and fail, I know what it feels like to get bullied, and I know what it feels like to be misunderstood. Helping people feel less alone has always been rewarding.

My stutter has expanded my vocabulary; I’m a walking thesaurus. I am forced to replace certain words I can’t say during a conversation with other words.

But above all, my stutter taught me the importance of proving people wrong through actions rather than words. People have always viewed me as less capable because of my stutter and I used that as a catalyst to prove them wrong. I couldn't tell them that I was capable. So instead, I showed them. Through this I have learned the most important lesson: let your actions speak for you.

My stutter has given me more than it has taken away. I hope everyone who stutters can get to a point where they can confidently say that.

Posted Oct. 19, 2015