Stuttering is a journey through suffering, fear, and loneliness. But as I learned this past weekend, it doesn't always have to be. I traveled by myself to Chicago for the four-day National Stuttering Association conference knowing almost no one and left profoundly changed, connected, and accepted. I've always been fortunate to have family and friends who have been supportive through my struggles, but never anticipated what this community would be like. Meeting hundreds of people who stutter was like coming home after being away for 28 years. There's a level of peace that can only be found when you are fully vulnerable and find nothing but unconditional love, acceptance, and most importantly, understanding. It's hard to articulate (ha - get it?) everything I'm feeling after such an incredible experience but after some reflection here are some thoughts.
There's a popular saying along the lines of it may not be your fault but it is your responsibility. This weekend has shown me I am whole the way I am no matter if I stutter, and that with intention and taking control of my actions there is a bright future ahead. I am incredibly thankful and blessed to have met everyone I did and look forward to continued adventures through life.--The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.