Blog by James Hayden
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word overcome as, “to get the better of; to succeed in dealing with a problem or difficulty.”
What does it mean to overcome stuttering? Some might say the only way to overcome stuttering is by becoming fluent. Others might say that overcoming stuttering means not letting your stutter mute your voice. While others might say it means making the best of the situation. Yet others may have their own definition.
For me, my definition of the phrase has changed over time. A few years ago, I would have defined overcoming my stutter as being fluent. No alternate definitions were possible. If someone tried to provide an alternate, then I would’ve looked as if they had said the referees made the right decision in not calling pass interference or helmet-to-helmet on LA Rams corner Nickell Robey-Coleman’s hit on New Orleans Saint Tommylee Lewis (Yes, I’m still not over it). Currently, I define overcoming my stutter as not letting hold me back from what I want to say. I define overcoming my stutter as not letting it hold me back from doing whatever I want to accomplish and seeing the beauty in it. The beauty of my stutter has brought me things I could never imagine. Because I stutter, I'm an author. Because I stutter, I'm given the opportunity to talk to future SLPs about stuttering and my journey with it. Because I stutter, I have opportunities to be the person I needed when I was younger.
In short, I think I have overcome my stutter. Every day, I make the best of situation, use my voice to say what I want to say, and accomplish what I want to accomplish. For that, I am a better person. To paraphrase the great Dr. K, "I've turned a sour lemon into something resembling lemonade."