Over the past year and a half, I’ve had the opportunity to appear on a couple of podcasts to discuss my journey with stuttering and my book. It hit me recently that these appearances are another sign of me embracing and accepting my stutter.
If you had told my 21-year-old self, or hell my 23-year-old self, that he would be appearing on podcasts to openly talk about stuttering and openly stutter on them, he would’ve laughed at you. Twenty-one-year-old me would never dream of openly talking about stuttering to his friends and family, much less strangers. Twenty-three -year-old me would’ve hesitantly done it, but would’ve hoped and prayed no one he knew heard it, nor would he have shared it on his Facebook page. Today, at 26, I’m constantly looking for platforms to share my voice and my story. Although I’ve only done two podcasts, they’ve given me the biggest opportunity to get far out of my comfort zone and further embrace my biggest vulnerability. Let me explain how.
My biggest insecurity was — and if I’m being completely honest at times still is — the fact that I stutter. It quickly introduces itself whenever I talk, and in that moment, my audience is seeing me at my most vulnerable. Yet, during the infinite times my vulnerability is quickly introduced in everyday life, it’s to a small audience and they can tell by my facial expressions that it’s no big deal. That’s clearly not the case with a podcast.
On a podcast, the listener can only hear me and every fine and intimate detail of my stutter, without my facial expressions saying it’s OK. On a podcast, my audience isn’t the one to few hundred people I’m talking to, but rather the entire population. On a podcast those intimate moments aren’t gone in an instant, but rather are recorded for posterity. That’s a concept I still grapple with — my biggest vulnerability is now recorded and will be available for all to hear.
However, this is a good thing. It allows me another opportunity to grow in acceptance of my stutter. It allows me to further embrace my biggest vulnerability. It allows me to show other people who stutter they are not alone. It allows me an opportunity to use my voice in a way I never imagined. It allows me to another opportunity to become more secure in what was once my biggest insecurity.