Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition, and the pride of kings.
Let us (since life can little more supply
Than just to look about us and to die)
Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man;
A mighty maze! but not without a plan;
A wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot;
Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.
Together let us beat this ample field,
Try what the open, what the covert yield;
The latent tracts, the giddy heights explore
Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar;
Eye Nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise;
Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;
But vindicate the ways of God to man.
Say first, of God above, or man below,
What can we reason, but from what we know?
Of man what see we, but his station here,
From which to reason, or to which refer?
Through worlds unnumber'd though the God be known,
'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.
He, who through vast immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
Observe how system into system runs,
What other planets circle other suns,
What varied being peoples ev'ry star,
May tell why Heav'n has made us as we are.
But of this frame the bearings, and the ties,
The strong connections, nice dependencies,
Gradations just, has thy pervading soul
Look'd through? or can a part contain the whole?
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee?
Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou find,
Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind?
First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess,
Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less!
Ask of thy mother earth, why oaks are made
Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade?
Or ask of yonder argent fields above,
Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove?
Of systems possible, if 'tis confest
That Wisdom infinite must form the best,
Where all must full or not coherent be,
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then, in the scale of reas'ning life, 'tis plain
There must be somewhere, such a rank as man:
And all the question (wrangle e'er so long)
Is only this, if God has plac'd him wrong?
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
May, must be right, as relative to all.
In human works, though labour'd on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God's, one single can its end produce;
Yet serves to second too some other use.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.
When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains:
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's God:
Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend
His actions', passions', being's, use and end;
Why doing, suff'ring, check'd, impell'd; and why
This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Then say not man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault;
Say rather, man's as perfect as he ought:
His knowledge measur'd to his state and place,
His time a moment, and a point his space.
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
What matter, soon or late, or here or there?
The blest today is as completely so,
As who began a thousand years ago.
Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prescrib'd, their present state:
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed today,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore!
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul, proud science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n;
Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the wat'ry waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Go, wiser thou! and, in thy scale of sense
Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much:
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjust;
If man alone engross not Heav'n's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there:
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Rejudge his justice, be the God of God.
In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel:
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause.
Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine,
Earth for whose use? Pride answers, " 'Tis for mine:
For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow'r,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r;
Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew,
The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew;
For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings;
For me, health gushes from a thousand springs;
Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
My foot-stool earth, my canopy the skies."
But errs not Nature from this gracious end,
From burning suns when livid deaths descend,
When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep
Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
"No, ('tis replied) the first Almighty Cause
Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;
Th' exceptions few; some change since all began:
And what created perfect?"—Why then man?
If the great end be human happiness,
Then Nature deviates; and can man do less?
As much that end a constant course requires
Of show'rs and sunshine, as of man's desires;
As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temp'rate, calm, and wise.
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav'n's design,
Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline?
Who knows but he, whose hand the lightning forms,
Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms,
Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind?
From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning springs;
Account for moral, as for nat'ral things:
Why charge we Heav'n in those, in these acquit?
In both, to reason right is to submit.
Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind;
That never passion discompos'd the mind.
But ALL subsists by elemental strife;
And passions are the elements of life.
The gen'ral order, since the whole began,
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
What would this man? Now upward will he soar,
And little less than angel, would be more;
Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears
To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Say what their use, had he the pow'rs of all?
Nature to these, without profusion, kind,
The proper organs, proper pow'rs assign'd;
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beast, each insect, happy in its own:
Is Heav'n unkind to man, and man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all?
The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
No pow'rs of body or of soul to share,
But what his nature and his state can bear.
Why has not man a microscopic eye?
For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics giv'n,
T' inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at ev'ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears,
And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres,
How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still
The whisp'ring zephyr, and the purling rill?
Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies?
Far as creation's ample range extends,
The scale of sensual, mental pow'rs ascends:
Mark how it mounts, to man's imperial race,
From the green myriads in the peopled grass:
What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme,
The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam:
Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
And hound sagacious on the tainted green:
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles through the vernal wood:
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew:
How instinct varies in the grov'lling swine,
Compar'd, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine:
'Twixt that, and reason, what a nice barrier;
For ever sep'rate, yet for ever near!
Remembrance and reflection how allied;
What thin partitions sense from thought divide:
And middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' insuperable line!
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, or all to thee?
The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy reason all these pow'rs in one?
See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progressive life may go!
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of being, which from God began,
Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect! what no eye can see,
No glass can reach! from infinite to thee,
From thee to nothing!—On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours:
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd:
From nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod,
And nature tremble to the throne of God.
All this dread order break—for whom? for thee?
Vile worm!—Oh madness, pride, impiety!
What if the foot ordain'd the dust to tread,
Or hand to toil, aspir'd to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame:
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains,
The great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent,
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns;
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor order imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit.—In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing pow'r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony, not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
Essay 1: By Prem Kumar, India.
Dear ONE-VOICE Readers,
My life is going on well till I came to know myself as I am stutterer at the age of seven years old. The little brain was started to think about the problem in speech. I feel uneasy and I listen first time the word ‘stammering’ by the classmates. I am very active in all the time, so the days were gone very fast.
The problem was started when I enter to High School. I suddenly hidden myself and started protection against stammering. I came to know and realize, understood completely more about stammering. I decide myself about my future that is black and blank.
Slowly I concentrate on other activities like sports, cultural activities, painting and music, etc. Ultimately I slack on my education. I became average student in my college level. Finally I got 13 educational/professional certificates to get a job to settle myself in comfortable position. Again I was defeated in the hands of stammering. My fight was continued against the problem and started my own business. This time, my partners defeated me as they are taken my weakness as advantage. Now I became complete man by this incident. Spiritual struggle was started. I read many spiritual, philosophical, psychological, theological, history books. Even I learned meditation, yoga etc. Unfortunately my stammering level increase with my knowledge. Some times, people look and treat me in different way. I know what they are thinking about me, in which way they are guessing me. It’s not their mistake that I know. And it’s not my mistake as you know. I am searching the place where I get peace, I am looking a person with whom I may feel relax. But ….. I am tired in that trails.
I had taken several treatments like hypnotism, electrical shocks, speech therapy, group discussion, etc. I changed my path in different direction and participating in other activities for time pass. Here I became a good singer and musician for a while. There is lot of pressure from society, family. I became silent man and simply I left my life to fate.
Stammering follows me just like a shadow. This shadow even appears and following me at night times also. It was people’s comments that I am very handsome and good looking guy. Girls generally come to me and leave me alone after a few days. It seems to be very funny to me. I never feel pain as I am not living for girls, but I want live for my Nation and myself. Apart from lot of painful incidents were occurred, which I swallowed myself. I never told those incidents to any one till now.
But on 31st night, 2000 I had took a promise card, where God says –‘don’t angry upon me, let you speak in courage’, in church. Again I got hope on my life. I learned computer courses and done Masters Degree. I missed many opportunities those come to my feet. I hate to depend on my parents and others like parasite. Due to too much of thinking I lost my eye sight and hair. According to Alexander Pope – ‘too much of knowledge may not give happiness’, I accustomed to the stammering.
I got a vision through God and dedicated myself to do social service to the people who are in depression and need psychological help. I mould myself into a different role in the globe of stage. By the grace of God, I meet certain people on Internet. I started enjoy my life with them. I am busy with my mails and phone calls from my self-help group(s), which was started by Keith Boss, an UK Citizen. It was God’s miracle that I am attending the ‘8th world congress for people who stutter’, in Croatia. My responsibilities in service in India were increased.
I started a self-help group at my place like introducing one stutterer with another stutterer. Like that the chain was going on. I hope that it has no end. The Communication is become very strong among the PWS, day by day. The internet, Mobiles helps me a lot on the process. A very few people are busy with their personal, educational, professionals life/time. Mostly the PWS are very cooperating with each other. I understood one thing clearly that the PWS are mingled with each other just like a family members, even they never consider the regional, religion, caste, gender, color, etc. A very healthy atmosphere was created among the PWS.
Another self-help group is running on Internet, created by Mr. Keith Boss. Here I met many friends having same feelings. In this way, my happiness was reached its highest peak. After much conversation, I came to know that Stammering effects more to the people those who are educators to compare with the PWS living in hamlet areas.
Regarding the remedies to stammering, I would like to tell one thing that is – generally everybody goes to SPEECH THERAPY, PSYCHO THERAPY and COUNSELLING, etc. Of course it is right and good. But if one stammer settles well with the basic facilities and foundation, definitely his/her stammer will come down. It means he/she has to capable to catch the opportunities; those will come at any time. If not, we have to create the opportunities in the respected fields. Any train will start slowly, and then it will pickup the speed. In the same way, the life of any stammers also similar to that example. It’s good if one PWS has to help another PWS like a chain. The chain has no boundaries, and no limits helping the PWS throughout the world.
Finally I adopted a child having stammering problem who is living just opposite to my house. The boy is very poor; I take care of him and giving him education, training in music, and entertainment to develop his maturity. Not only that I help the boy in various requirements.
Thanks to all,
Self help group name: firstname.lastname@example.org
Essay 2: By Kazuo Kimura, Japan.
Thanks to my stutter, I was able to get married
Japan Stuttering Project
Marriage was one of the turning points in my life. I believed that “I will be single for my whole life.” Or, “Nobody would want to marry me.” However, actually my stuttering brought about the first meeting with my wife.
That happened at my friend’s wedding reception. I offered him my congratulations on his wedding. I made a speech and stuttered terribly. ” C co co co Congratulations!” One gentleman in attendance thought, ”He was too nervous to speak well, but his attitude was wonderful. He tried so hard to speak for his friend. He must be an earnest person who treasures his friends.” When he began to look for a husband for his daughter, he thought of me first.
I can’t remember the day I met his daughter, now my wife, for the first time. Neither can I remember what we talked about. I was not good at talking with women who I had not met beforehand. Also, my wife said that she couldn’t hear me or understand what I said. Apparently, I spoke one word after another while stuttering terribly.
She worried about whether she should go out with me, so she discussed her concerns with her parents. At that time, her father said, “Stuttering is just one of his many aspects. You should go out with him if you think he is a good person, even if just a little bit.” Then, we started going out with each other and eventually got married.
My wife still says, “The first time we met, I wondered if you could speak at all. I heard from my father that you stuttered a little, but your stuttering was much worse than I expected. I really worried about whether I should go out with you. If I hadn’t listened to what my father said, I might not be here with you.” I’m very glad that stuttering could bring about my marriage, because before I had believed that stuttering could only do harm.
I have one more happy note to share about my stuttering. A few years ago, when NHK, Japan’s national TV broadcasting station, covered an Osaka Stuttering Project weekly meeting, I attended the meeting by chance. At the time, I told the group that, thanks to my stutter, I was able to get married. At the end of the meeting, a young lady who was attending the Osaka Stuttering Project meeting for the first time said, “I had believed that stuttering could only do harm, but now I understand that stuttering also has positive aspects. Now I think I may be OK with my stuttering.”
I still have difficulty with my work. However, I’m very glad to know that my successful life encourages young people. Now we are a family of four and I help my children with their homework on weekends, and we live together very happily. Of course, stuttering is always with me.
Essay 3: By Masaru Kamitani, Japan.
The liquor store owner and I
Japan Stuttering Project
“H h h h Hello! M m m m May I I I I help y y y y you ?”
From the store next door, I hear a lively and loud voice. He always stutters terribly. This man is my relative and he runs a liquor store. I certainly hated to hear his voice. I always thought, “ Don’t speak loudly, you stutter terribly. You are so pathetic. Don’t stutter, keep quiet!”
He was one of the reasons that I began to stutter. When I was a second-year pupil in elementary school, there was another boy who stuttered in my neighbourhood. I sometimes mocked his way of speaking. Soon another friend of mine said to me, “Be careful! You might catch stuttering from him. Your relative is a person who stutters.”
“What! No kidding! What should I do if I started to stutter?” From that very moment, my fear of stuttering overwhelmed me. At that time, stuttering was a shameful matter for me. I looked down on it. However, I began to stutter gradually. “I’m in trouble. I have become a person who stutters.” Soon, I couldn’t control my way of speaking at all.
I don’t know why, but I always had a classmate who stuttered, all throughout my schooldays. After I became a person who stutters, I despised stuttering even more. So, I didn’t talk to my stuttering classmate. I didn’t approach him, because I didn’t want to be associated with another stuttering person. I didn’t want my classmates to see two people speaking together with a stutter.
When I was called on to read a book in class, I read it with a stutter as a joke. Sometimes I made a pretence of stuttering on purpose. Some of my classmates said, ”You stutter as a joke.” I didn’t want to admit my stuttering. I felt that I trampled the feelings of my classmate who stuttered, and I was sorry at heart. I couldn’t talk to him anymore.
After I started working, I continued to hide my stuttering. I wanted to cure it. As I was too busy to go to a speech clinic, everyday passed with feelings of confusion and melancholy.
At the beginning of this year, I was able to visit a meeting of the Osaka Stuttering Project, for the first time. Of course, I only went there to cure my stuttering, even if just a little bit. That was all. I didn’t want anything more. However, when I attended the meeting, my view of life changed completely. My way of thinking was reversed dramatically.
When I went to the meeting, I had 2 different feelings at the same time. One feeling was that I didn’t want to be compared to the other attendants. The other feeling was that I envied them and I wanted to become like them because they seemed very happy and positive even though they stuttered a lot. Before, I had completely avoided my friends who stutter. For 30 years, I had hated to admit my stuttering. So, I couldn’t believe that my beliefs changed so quickly, after only one short meeting.
Until I went to that meeting, I believed that good things and bad things in this world were completely separate and different. However, my way of thinking was reversed, like a coin reverses its sides. Now I believe speaking with a stutter can be a positive thing. I never dreamed how happy I could be, speaking to other people who stutter and enjoying their company. My way of thinking about my stuttering may change again in the future. But I want to treasure the feeling that I have in this moment. I wish I had become a member of the Osaka Stuttering Project much earlier, but I think we can start a new life anytime. So, now I want to start my new life with my new friends who stutter.
My feeling towards the liquor store owner was changed, too. Like the owner, I now believe that one should speak with a lively and loud voice even while stuttering: this simple manner is the correct way.
“H h h h Hello! M m m m May I I I I help y y y y you ?”
Today, I hear his lively, loud voice. I can picture him smiling. Now I feel comfortable hearing his voice.
Essay 4: By Joseph Nsubuga, Uganda.
Essay 5: By Bruce Whitfield, New Zealand
The joy of being someone who stutters
By Bruce Whitfield.
member of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association.
As I sit back, at the age of 59, and review my life, I can honestly say that, having started to stutter at four years old and having the affliction get progressively worse with the passage of time, the problem and my life haven’t really been as bad as I would sometimes have myself believe. True, it has been a handicap. True, it has probably held me back in many areas. However, there must be literally scores of other ailments that must surely be a greater burden. Not that having a stutter isn’t bad; indeed, I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. But we human beings are adaptable, and we learn to cope with having a stutter by developing what is often a quite small comfort zone for ourselves. Just like the boy named Sue in Johnny Cash’s famous song, we grow to fit our circumstances.
I am extremely pleased to report that I did not get teased or ridiculed about my stutter at school. Maybe, I was left alone because of my stutter. I always had several good friends though, and never lacked opportunities to take part in social occasions.
When I left school, striking out into the real world became somewhat more challenging. My dear mother arranged my first job interview, but I was able – probably with much frustration, embarrassment and dysfluency – to somehow get seven successive jobs under my own steam. Thankfully, my workmates were all very understanding and nobody gave me a hard time. Even though some of the work was not the greatest, I always loved my job and made the best of every situation. Was this the optimistic side of my nature predominating? I would like to think so. At one job I even worked with another young male whose stutter was of a similar severity to my own. Pity our supervisor!
As life progressed, I quite unintentionally got into sports and pastimes where there was minimal speaking involved – like cycle racing, jogging, swimming and yoga. After two intensive smooth speech courses, one in 1979 and the second in 1984, I was encouraged into giving instruction at yoga classes. I used my newfound verbal skills as a secondary form of communication, to the actual demonstrating of the physical postures. This must have been my initiation to something resembling body language!
If it had not been for my stutter, the paths of my dear wife, Nina, and I may never have crossed. We met at a Personal Construct Therapy course in July 1998 and married in January 2006. Yes, she too is a verbally challenged soul, but blossoming like a continually flowering spring daffodil.
My greatest success with controlling my dysfluency came when I attended my first McGuire Programme four-day intensive course in February 2002. Here, I started to learn to accept myself for who I really am – a recovering stutterer. Many stutterers have this deep-down belief that they can speak fluently. But as I have experienced, the harder you try to portray yourself as a fluent speaker, the worse the stutter becomes. By reversing my mindset and my speaking technique, I started to develop a new me, and this whole new world appeared, inviting me to sample its delights. My life changed from grainy black and white into vivid colour. I no longer avoided speaking situations, but went seeking them. I tackled the McGuire Programme primary coach exam and the certified course instructor exam with much enthusiasm. Even though they took me over seven hours to complete (as I sat them both in one session), I actually enjoyed the experience and passed both exams with more than 90 per cent. I can’t think of anything else in my life that has inspired me to be so determined.
In the early stages of my speech therapy, I would never have dreamt that my recovery from stuttering would become the most important thing in my life. I have discovered that when you are in control of your speech, the rest of your life runs a whole lot sweeter. The sheer joy of giving a well-controlled oral presentation to a public audience must be the biggest buzz in a stutterer’s life.
The second greatest joy in my life must be helping others with dealing their stutter. Blessed are the people who come along to courses for therapy, and work hard and persevere, for those people are my inspiration. When I hear stutterers starting to take responsibility for their problem, and see them begin to turn their lives around and feel the delight in their souls, then I know that whatever it takes to recover is all so worthwhile.
Besides continuing with maintaining my newfound fluency, I now look forward to at least another 25 years of matrimonial bliss with my new wife. Also, I recently retired early and I am thoroughly enjoying doing what I, and probably many other people, would describe as mundane duties and chores, like housework, making meals, tidying the garden and painting the house. Nothing is too demanding any more.
All those newly acquired friends who I have made through going to gatherings of stutterers have led to yet more sociable meetings, exciting outings and other fulfilling experiences. Everything in my life has become so much better since I started to front up to my problem and attack it directly. No longer do I blame others for “making me nervous”. No longer do I allow it to hold me back. Every speaking situation is an opportunity to achieve and display my true self to my listener.
To me, and possibly to many other stutterers, having well-controlled speech during a conversation is a huge achievement. You don’t have to swim the English Channel or climb Mount Everest to feel that a big challenge has been conquered. To a stutterer, just the supposedly simple human action of having good verbal communication skills can make us feel on top of the world.
Essay 6: By Nina Clark-Whitfield, New Zealand
Emily has a stststutter
By Nina Clark-Whitfield
member of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association
Emily hated literature class. That was when everyone in the class read aloud in turn. They each had to read two or three pages of their current novel. It was no big deal for the rest of the class – they didn’t have a stutter as Emily did. Therefore, no one understood her fear about reading aloud.
Emily had stuttered ever since she remembered. Even though she’d had speech therapy, it had made no difference. It wasn’t a speech problem per se but an emotional one. She only stuttered when she was nervous. And naturally she became nervous when she had to read aloud – a vicious circle.
For those who don’t know, a stutter is a hesitation of syllables – a blocked pause where the words or syllables are stuck. It can cause anxiety for the listener as well as the stutterer, who struggles to get the words out.
Emily sat staring out of the window. Her self-depreciating ditty, that she had composed about herself, was running through her head:
When every utterance is a stutter
And every syllable is a stammer,
There’s nothing to be done –
For such a stuttery stammerer.
Emily’s wandering attention was refocused now, as she heard Mrs Ashby ask the class to take out their novels. She held her breath, distractedly listening to the clock ticking, while Mrs Ashby nominated on which side of the room the reading was to begin. She crossed her fingers as she whispered to herself: “Please don’t let it be this side of the room.” Alas, for Emily, it was. Jane was asked to start the morning’s reading. Emily was nine desks from Jane. There would be plenty of time for Emily’s turn, before the bell rang.
In anticipation of having to read aloud, Emily had already broken out in a sweat. Now she was hot; now she was cold. In her chest, her heart pounded. Jenny had just finished her piece. There were seven more to read before Emily. She was so strung up she was almost quivering. Ten minutes before the break, there were six more to read. Emily felt sick. Her dread overwhelmed her. All the muscles in her neck tightened and were aching. All this time the clock ticked loudly. Everyone else in the class was so relaxed about reading aloud. For them, it was as easy as reciting the ABC. She wondered, for the millionth time, why she always managed to work herself into such a state. She made it harder for herself than it already was.
There were five more to read before Emily. Relentlessly, the clock ticked loudly. It was so silly. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t read. It was the fear that she wouldn’t get the words out – that she would stutter and stumble. The more worried she became, the worse her stutter became.
From the day that Emily started school, she had suffered from taunts in the playground because of her stutter. Over the years, her schoolmates had cruelly ridiculed her by imitating her stutter. When they mimicked her, she just wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. Unkind children were too ready to mock her misfortune. Therefore, she was deeply scarred by the painful memories of such incidents, which served to make her stutter worse because of heightened tension.
Now, as her musings came to an end, she became aware again of the clock ticking loudly. It had become her death-knell – a horrific sense of foreboding, the result of having stuttered all her life.
“Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling.” She was saved by the bell. For now, there was a reprieve. There was always a next time, though, when it would be just the same.
When every utterance is a stutter
And every syllable is a stammer,
There’s nothing to be done –
For such a stuttery stammerer.
Such is Emily’s anguish – or any stutterer’s, for that matter, who waits in turn to read aloud.
This surely is an exaggeration, you say? Alas, no! Emily will soon tell you in a quavering voice and with tears in her eyes that this is exactly as it is.
Very few people realise that stuttering afflicts one per cent of the population. Indeed, stuttering is a debilitating speech dysfluency. For those so disabled, it is an onerous millstone to carry around the neck that inhibits meaningful relationships and normal social interaction. Often it dominates the stutterer’s waking hours, turning him or her into a social pariah. It can even intrude into peaceful slumber as recurrent nightmares. Even though there is no actual cure, there is light at the end of this seemingly black tunnel. For those who truly seek deliverance from this accursed bete noire, there are speech techniques that can be learnt for controlling the stutter. To be sure, to use this tool requires great courage and fortitude. But this is the answer for beating this confounded curse: to prevent the blocks and facial contortions; to stem the flow of repetitions and prolongations. At the same time, the stutterer must seek a holistic lifestyle by minimising stress and by discovering inner peace through relaxation. A comrade, to lend a friendly ear and share worries, goes a long way to reducing the stutterer’s lonely isolation.
Thus, by simply choosing to journey down this positive road, rather than keeping to that old, familiar, steep, rough path that keeps the stutterer a victim of distorted speech patterns, life can be much richer and more enjoyable – no longer the constant battle of dejection and humiliation that it was.
Even Emily, the girl with the stststutter, has changed her tune. Fortunately, her self-deprecating ditty has now become:
When every utterance was a stutter,
And every syllable was a stammer,
I found an amazing tool –
So I’m not a stuttery stammerer.
Essay 7: By Jim Caroopen, Mauritius
What is your name?
My name is Jim Caroopen, I live in Mauritius and I encounter the challenge of having to cope with a stuttering speech in my daily life. I am 33 years old and can now say that I have covered a considerable distance on the road towards a fluent speech. Nonetheless, I must admit that I still encounter slight stuttering events in my daily interaction with others, and that most of the time these happen when I have to say my name.
As far as I remember, saying my name to others has always been a very complicated exercise for me. During my adolescence and early adulthood, it was absolutely impossible for me to say my name straight away when I was asked for. I had to struggle with my words before being able to utter in an outburst my first name, and during that uncomfortable silence, I had to face many inquisitive gazes and comments such as “Has you forgotten your name?”
When I had to introduce myself to a group, the situation was even worse. The stress of knowing that I will have difficulties to say my name was multiplied by the number of eyes that would be staring at me and by the time that it would take for my time to come. Once, a close friend confessed to me after a group presentation that when it was my turn to introduce myself she had thought that I was ill and on the point of falling in a faint…
If I was having such difficulties to just say my name, it goes without saying that I was having tremendous difficulties to speak to others. I knew that I was a person who stutters – but I could not accept it. I did not want to say it to myself and even less to others. I had followed a couple of individual therapies with speech therapists – which had brought some improvements to my speech – but the difficulty to speak was still present.
As time passed and I grew in maturity I began to realize that the first step towards a fluent speech will be for me to accept the fact that I am a person who stutters and be able to say it to myself and to others around me. But still could not do it – until I was challenged by Mark Irwin in September 2005…
Indeed, through a series of events I had been put into contact with Mark – who was transiting through Mauritius on his way to Cameroon. In simple words, he confirmed the analysis that I had reached over the acceptation of my own stuttering and challenged me to launch a self-help group in Mauritius – something which I had dreamt to do but never did due to the fact that I would have had to identify myself with my stuttering.
My first reaction was to say “No!” to Mark – even though I knew that he was absolutely right, and that I was the right person to take the initiative. I finally took up the challenge and launched the self-help group which later took the name of Parole d’Espoir. This adventure has added a whole new dimension to my life. It has brought me to realize that on accepting that I am a person who stutters, I become capable of talking fluently!
I have made tremendous improvements in my speech and within the group we could openly talk about our stuttering. I could even talk about this with my close friends and relatives. I had thought that this was the end of the story and that I would happily live ever after. However, this was without taking account of a group of parents of children who stutter in Rose-Hill and who wanted to launch an association in support to persons who stutter in Mauritius.
We established contact and met to explore avenues of working together in our small island. I was very happy with the informal self-help group and had no intention of becoming an active member of the association. But it soon became clear to me that I could not be content with the self-help group and had to help these motivated parents. During our meetings we decided to create awareness about stuttering at a national level and at the same time to launch the association. We therefore decided to organize a press conference and invite the whole Mauritian press.
From the start of this project, I had decided that I will not give my name to the press and that I will take part to the press conference in an “anonymous” way. It was not clear yet how I was going to do this – but what was clear was that I was not ready to assume my stuttering publicly. This was something I was not prepared for.
We began to contact the media companies and I went to distribute lots of invitations myself – but was very careful to mention only the names of other members of the association as contact persons. Eventually, I accepted to give press interviews – but “under the cover of anonymity”! The journalists would either use my initials or a fictitious name.
Then one day I went to meet Mrs. Martine Hennequin, a journalist at Le Mauricien – the most important daily newspaper of the island. She listened to all my story about anonymity and finally said: “How can you inspire others to have confidence in themselves when yourself don’t have enough self-confidence to talk in your own name!” I was absolutely baffled by the rightness of what she had just said and knew that if I was to continue to look at myself in a mirror – and by the way improve my speech even more – I had to give a serious thought to her point.
I effectively gave it a deep thought at night and felt that I was ready to publicly assume my stuttering and that the press conference was the right moment to start. Eventually, at the conference I introduced myself and said right from the outset that I encounter stuttering in my speech. It was a real “act of liberation” for me – and consequently I spoke very fluently to all the journalists in the presence of photographers and TV cameras. After the press conference, Sandra Potié, journalist at La Vie Catholique, proposed to make a full page article on my path towards a fluent speech. Without any hesitation I accepted to put it all on paper once and for good and integrate to my story that I am a person who stutters. Once this is said, I know that I am resolutely engaged on the road towards a fluent speech.
Essay 8: By Richard Stein, Passing Twice
By Richard Stein, Passing Twice
We are members of a sexual minority. Certainly the vast majority of human beings (not just Americans) are coupled off in heterosexual couples and have children. We are constantly bombarded by images of this arrangement in TV sitcoms, movies, plays, operas, ballets — although sometimes, in those movies, plays, and particularly ballets, the people portraying heterosexual couples may actually be gay. Interestingly, in a TV program I recently saw about the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Taylor mentioned that in one dance he has choreographed, he uses five women and seven men, so that some of the pairings are of two men — because, as Taylor said, “that’s part of life”. Taylor himself may be gay; certainly many of his troupe are.
Being a member of any minority, let alone an oppressed one (and possibly the phrase oppressed minority is redundant) leads to feelings of alienation or marginalization. Alienation means that we feel estranged or that we do not belong; marginalization means we feel that we are at the fringes, removed from the power structure. To a considerable degree, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant heterosexual male does run the world (to the degree that he is managing to cling to that power despite the threats presented by a changing world).
The alienated individual does not belong, does not fit in, does not participate in this or that group or activity, does not conform to the “standard” or “typical” or “normal”, is a round peg in a square hole. I have always felt that the word normal carried with it a particular tyranny, but see just how many terms our society and our language has for beating us over the heads with!
There was a button that was once being sold on Gay Pride Day: “How dare you assume I’m heterosexual?” But assume people will. Telemarketers call my house and ask for Mrs. Stein. Junk mail comes addressed to “The folks at …” I wish I could tell them that there are no folks here at all, unless I am a folk — and don’t think that I am.
Minorities tend to cling together among themselves. That is why our cities have “ethnic” neighborhoods: One hundred years ago the Italians lived among Italians, Irish among Irish, Jews among Jews. Today you have Mexican enclaves and Puerto Rican enclaves and Chinatowns and Vietnamese neighborhoods.
Why is this? For one thing, when Poles live among Poles and Mexicans among Mexicans, those who have not learned English can conduct their shopping in their own language. Also, earlier arrivals help newer ones get by in the new land. More importantly, people feel comfortable when they are among their own kind. When they are a minority in the larger society, they can create a microcosm in which they are the majority.
Therefore we have even gay ghettos — the Castro, West Hollywood, the Village in New York, etc. These neighborhoods not only have gay bars but gay-owned or -friendly restaurants, gay/lesbian bookstores, video stores with gay- and lesbian-themed videos, even clothing stores that carry gay fashions. Many of us who live in major metropolitan areas have probably debated with ourselves whether or not to live in a gay neighborhood. To live where we are not a minority, or less of a minority, may be one strategy for dealing with this alienation. Unless or until we have to venture out of our somewhat artificial worlds, we can forget that we are minority members.
Passing Twice members are (mostly) not only lesbian/gay, but stutterers — another minority. Unfortunately, there are not, as far as I know, any living communities where stutterers are concentrated. However, one of the things that the National Stuttering Project (now the National Stuttering Association) told people attending its convention in Tacoma in 1999 was that five hundred stutterers all concentrated in one hotel comprise a majority of hotel guests! Again pointing out that we all like the feeling when we cease to be a minority. And, as I need not point out, we gay or lesbian stutterers who have affiliated ourselves with Passing Twice have found in Passing Twice a very small microcosm where neither characteristic of ours puts us in the minority.
Essay 9: By Pramila Bohara, Nepal
Stutters in Nepal are scattered situation. Stuttering problem is not seen as handicap. Most of the people are unaware and have not the idea about how to reduce it. Because of prejudice concept and less no of educated people stutters are facing many barriers in society and have treated as joker. I am Stutter (Pamela Boar) and representative from Nepal Stutters Association. I am going to share my experiences with my stuttering. I have been suffering from stuttering since 12 years old. My past was very boring and stressful .I passed my 9 yrs in very painful way. When I was 12 years old I copied stuttering from my stutter friends and it came to me then life started to be more stressed and hanged on the problems .That time I did not have any idea about how to reduce the stuttering .i had the difficulty to deal with every things which should do .I was dominated by the friends in the school .I wanted to talk as others but would not able to express the feelings .I had talent to give the answer of question but was not ready for answer and always used to sit in the corner because of stuttering. I started to feel burden of life and I only thought the negative to the life. I found myself helpless and upset and unlucky thinking about how to deal and face with the problems. In the school, when teacher used to call my attendance , I had difficulty to say yes sir\present and I had also problem to receive call from outside .I always became far from dealing the things in life. Most of time I passed alone thinking negative .I had the family support and they never treated me badly and always motivated me to do better but it was my problem and only I could feel and faced it. In Nepal still 60% people believe on prejudice concept so we have the hard time if we have disability from any problems ,if we are poor and uneducated so there was very few people who took it seriously and advice me to talk slowly and be confident. I always made myself back from everything and got frustration and lack of confident because of stuttering. When I became the student of university, that time every young people have the new feelings and new courage to do something well for future but I felt more tense and stress thinking about career, job and future. I had not nearest friend and I also did not make any close friends thinking about I have to call them ,meet them and talk with them. I always did hide myself from buying the things in market, talking with new people. I never participated in any competition in school and campus. I wanted to take participant in competition but I was not able to motivate myself for doing. Only hesitation was around me thinking about others. We all know that there is no rose with out throne, yes I also got many trouble in my life ,some can seen out and others can not seen. My all family, specially my elder sis always motivated me for doing the things in every field and I was strongly inspired by her and I am fan of my sister. I had also beautiful thoughts inside myself which I always kept inside. Some time I used to think that why I am hiding myself from all the situation and life? The people of world are not expert in all things and some good and bad points got by everybody in the world. I have also many beautiful things that others have not and have to use it in right way which can teach the new and important knowledge for the people. I started to think positive to the problems and life .I got the broad mind with beautiful thoughts. where is will there is way, I got chance to meet the group of stutters throw my sisters and also attended in the workshop which was held on 10 April 2003 at Durbar Hotel, Kathmandu and it was the first seminar. I met with many stutter friends and got tips about stuttering and how to reduce it. I thought I got my world where I can express my feeling and my problems and thought my dream came true. I met the board members of Nepal Stutters’ Association and they all were so helpful, energetic ,smart and active. They helped me very much to reduce my stuttering and it was my new life with new friends who supported me very and they also selected me as board member in NSA then it was very happiest moment in my life where my problem changed in to great achievement in life. I became the part of association and I started to think about others stutters. I got the very good support from association to improve my stuttering. We did the seminar, programs about awareness to the people who are stutter and others (parents, student, teachers others). I gave the speech about my experience and how I came in this level and in front of u people in various seminars in different places of Nepal to motivate and make the aware about stuttering and how to treat with it. I got the main things from my experience to reduce the stuttering that is kill your hesitation ,accept yourself and look yourself being optimistic to the life then world will love you and you will feel enjoy with doing and dealing all the situation in life. From NSA, I also got chance to go Denmark and study about human rights and democracy for PWDs (Person with disability) for four and half months in Egmont Hojskolen. I got chance to build the capacity more from this training. I lost the many opportunities in my life but I also got more than I lost. My life with stuttering began with pain and came to the succeed which I could not get if I were not stutter. Now I am doing volunteer work in NSA. I am trying to do the best for others who are stutter.
In the contest of Nepal, 10% people are disabled of total population. Now stutters also have been the counted in disabled group. In Nepal most of the general people have the difficulty to fulfil their basic needs and in that situation disabled persons are far from opportunities and have neglected by society. As a stutter, its very hard to get good job and people should be fit by everything to get good job. Nobody see the internal beauty and knowledge of people for the job. Many stutters are qualified for work but they are not getting job due to the stuttering. In Nepal, most of the people and specially in the remote area they are treated as funny for others. They think its the cause of sin of past and still they are thinking. I am stutter so I can feel the problems of stutter and give guide about it but very few non stutter take it seriously and give the idea. We still are not succeed to make the people aware all over the Nepal because of lack of information and traditional belief which comes from lack of education, superstian, geographical difficulty and lack of initiation from various organization which makes the stutter isolated, neglected by society and not aware of curative measure as a whole stutter get the lack of confident. In Nepal ,specially in the remote area, educated family also treating their stutter child as burden and they send them in work for home. There are different reasons for happening this stutter problem like because of copying others, heredity, accident, more pressure and social pressure etc. Now I feel great with this problems its because I have got many experiences and friends from different country and different places of Nepal. Before joining in NSA, I was unknown and boring girl for everybody but now I deal with everything with fun. i would like to say everybody
Who are facing from stuttering, please! Please! Please! come to us, keep in touch and kill your hesitation with big smile. Now every morning I also used to do yoga (Ram dev) which makes the people concentrate and patient and I have not been perfect but we all know that it takes time slowly but steady change the things. I am also feeling better from yoga. I don’t think any kind of machine and technology cure it and I only know that its our bad habit and we only can reduce it by the help of reading, breathing exercise, being opened and being confident. we share our experiences each other, we will get new idea and new life. We always have to keep one thing in mind that nobody is free from problem in the world and this is also our bad habit and have to reduce it using good technique in good way. We come together and share our ideas and experience which is very fruitful for stutters to reduce their stuttering and make fluency.
Essay 10: Cinderella
Cinderella – The True Story
Once upon a time, there lived near the capital city of a large country a very worthy gentleman and his beautiful and amiable young wife. They loved each other tenderly, and they had not been wedded long before there was a pretty little girl baby in the nursery. For a time, both parents were very happy, but their joy did not last forever. Just as the daughter turned three years old she began to develop a terrible stutter and shortly after the mother fell ill and died.
After a while, the father married again. Unhappily, the choice he made this time was not a good one. The lady he married was very rich, but proud and ill-tempered, and she had two daughters of exactly her own disposition. She cared little for her stepdaughter and the little girls stutter grew worse and worse until by her mid teens she was unable to speak to anyone without her speech blocking up terribly and her face contorting as she struggled to speak and she was not able to speak fluently to anyone but her cat.
As the young girl grew into her late teens the stepmother began to be very harsh toward her step-child, whose gentle and loving disposition caused the behaviour of her own daughters to appear even more detestable than before. As the girl was unable to leave the house because she could not speak, her stepmother made her do all the hard work around the house.
But the poor girl would not and could not complain, even to her father, who always showed the most anxious affection for her. She knew how unhappy he, too, was in this second marriage, and how powerless he was to help her. When her work was done, she would sit for warmth in a corner of the chimney, among the cinders; and for this reason, and to show how much they despised her, the unkind sisters gave her the name of C-C-Cinderella.
One day the two sisters received an invitation to a party that was to be held at the home of a rich property developer, in honour of his son who had just turned 21 years old. An invitation to this party being a great honour, the sisters were in high spirits, and at once began making preparations to appear at the party in grand style.
This meant a great deal more work for Cinderella. She had to do all the sewing, washing and ironing, to prepare her stepsisters dresses and to run out and get them new makeup and curlers, and, when the day of the party came, she even had to help her proud sisters dress, and arrange their hair; for they knew she had excellent taste in all these matters, although they would not dare to admit it openly.
At last the time came for the party, and the sisters drove off, being mean enough at the last moment to taunt C-C-Cinderella with not having been invited because she stuttered. The poor girl retired to her dismal kitchen, and could not help weeping as she sat there, thinking over her sisters’ cruelty.
Suddenly she heard a tap at the door, and when she opened it there was a burst of light and in walked an odd-looking little woman. “Don’t be alarmed, Cinderella”, said the woman, I am a speech pathologist. After telling Cinderella who she was, she asked her why she had been weeping. “I-I-I um,ah,um,ah-sh-sh-should so much h-h-h-h-have um-ah-um-ah-l-l-l-um-ah-lllllliked–” sobbed the broken-hearted girl, but could say no more.
“Do you mean, you would like to go with your sisters to the party?”
“Oh! y-y-y-y-y-es, I wwwwwwwould,” gasped Cinderella. B-b-but……”
“I know you would love to go to the party. And so you shall!” “How can I, with such a terrible stutter?” Cinderella replied. No one will want to talk to me and some will even laugh and taunt me and when that happens I just feel like a “pumpkin”!
“Well, well!” said the speech pathologist, “do what I say, and you shall go, and be able to speak confidently and fluently to everyone.” With that the speech pathologist waved a magic syllable rating machine over Cinderella’s head and with that she felt her stuttering and socially maladaptive personality dissolve and she began to speak fluently and confidently as she looked down and found herself wearing the most magnificent hot pink Vesachi strapless party dress with a pair of Chanel stiletto healed dancing shoes made of glass and with her hair in a hot new fashion that made her look as though she just got out of bed with Richard Geer.
The speech pathologist smiled. “Fetch me your vacuum cleaner and your fluffy cat and four lizards from the garden”, she said, and no sooner had Cinderella returned, the speech pathologist turned the vacuum cleaner in a shiny red limousine, her cat into a hunky chauffeur and the four lizards in a stuttering support group to be there if she needed to call them on her mobile phone for a bit of speech practice.
Cinderella was now quite ready. Just as she was stepping into the shiny limousine, the speech pathologist said, “Mind how you speak. Watch your breathing at the starts, your gentle onsets, the movement of your tongue and lips, your constant vocalisation, your intonation and your phrasing and pausing and whatever you do, don’t drink too much alcohol or get too tired or speak spontaneously and don’t leave the party any later than midnight;” and warned her, that if she did not leave in time, her severe blocking stutter would return and she would turn back into the “pumpkin” that she had seen herself as before, her limousine back into a vacuum cleaner, her chauffer back into her cat, her stuttering support group back to lizards, and her clothing back into rags.
There was a great stir at the party when the red limousine drove up, and great was the interest displayed when Cinderella alighted. The rich property developer himself escorted her into his mansion and she chatted to him ever so fluently and confidently as they walked. Upon entering the beautiful home he introduced her to his son, the most handsome and eligible bachelor in town, who immediately asked her to escort him for the evening. Cinderella was in a whirl of delight as she so eloquently exchanged words with the handsome boy and his other influential guests. As they laughed and chatted non-stop and gazed into each others eyes it was clear that they were the envy and admiration of all the other guests. The hours flew all too fast. At one point Cinderella found herself chatting with her stepsisters and it amazed her that they did not recognise her even when she “accidentally” upended a vase of flowers on one of them and a bowl of shrimp heads on the other.
The party boy danced with her every time, and kept by her side the whole evening chatting so eloquently with all his guests.
Cinderella was so happy, she entirely forgot her speech pathologist’s warning, and she began to have a few celebratory martinis and let her hair down a bit like she had always wanted for underneath her stuttering personality has lurked are real party girl. As the effect of the alcohol took place she began to spontaneously exchange humorous lines with the boy and his friends. She became the life of the party and all were amazed at her sense of humour and magnetic personality when out of left field the boy’s father asked her to come and meet some of his influential business friends and their wives. Unbeknown to Cinderella the time was getting very close to midnight when one of the father’s guests introduced himself to her. “And what is your name my dear” said the gentleman, “C-C-Cind-um-ah-am-ah” ….. she gasped. They all laughed having seen her previously in such a joking and jovial manner. “Forgotten your name eh?” said the gentleman’s wife. “C-C-Cind-um-ah-um-ah ….. Camilla”, she forced out, and with that she remembered the prophetic words of her magical speech pathologist. Cinderella looked down at her diamond Cartier watch and saw it was one minute to midnight and her watch was starting to morph into the cheap Taiwanese Gucci fake that she had previously warn.
She turned away from the assembled group and rushed past the handsome boy and his father, back through the crowded party, and flew out the front door and down the stairs.
The boy ran after her; but was too late. The only trace of her was one of her Chanel glass stiletto healed dancing shoes, which had fallen off in her flight. The boy picked it up, and would not part with it.
Poor Cinderella fled home frightened and out of breath. She had none of her finery now, except the other glass shoe.
The boy went back to the party and made the strictest inquiries, but could get no information from any of the guests at the party as to who this beautiful and enchanting girls was. He even asked the security guards who were at the gates of the home but the only person they had seen exiting the premises at about that time was a poorly clad girl, who when stopped and asked how she had got into the grounds of the home was unable to answer them because of a severe stutter, before running off into the night.
The next day four of his fathers employees were sent through all the town, proclaiming that the boy would marry the girl who could wear the Chanel glass stiletto healed dancing shoe that he had picked up.
The rivalry among the women was very great, but as the Chanel glass stiletto healed dancing shoe was a magic shoe, it fitted no one. Finally when one of the employees called on the two sisters, although they squeezed their feet terribly, they fared no better than the others. When they were quite tired out with trying, Cinderella asked, “M-m-m-may I sssssssee if it w-w-w-wwwwill ffffit m-um-ah-um-ah-mmmmmmeeee, me?”
The sisters began to laugh and sneer, but the employee said, “Everybody has a right to try.”
Cinderella sat down, and no sooner was the slipper tried, than it fitted like a glove. Then she drew the other slipper form her pocket and put it on, and at that moment the speech pathologist appeared, and touching Cinderella’s head with her magical syllable rating machine, made Cinderalla begin to speak exceptionally fluently and confidently again and she glowed with beauty as she began to once again smile. The sisters knew then that she was the beautiful hot chicky at the party the previous night, and they begged her forgiveness.
Cinderella soon married the rich property developer’s son but ran up terribly expensive telephone bills calling her stuttering support group buddies on a daily basis and made the speech pathologist very rich herself running quarterly speech maintenance boosters so that Cinderella’s covert stuttered speech syndrome would never manifest ever again into the fully blown overt blocking and stuttering behaviour with related social phobia that lurked beneath the surface of her personality, puzzling her spouse for the rest of their married life.
Essay 11: By Michael Winkler Dresden/Germany
The Meaning of Stuttering
by Michael Winkler, Dresden/Germany, February 2007
After certain experiences get alive inside of you it is difficult to imagine how it used to be before. For almost 25 years I had gone through various ups and downs in stuttering. Then I reached a particular point where everything seemed to be quite simple. It happened on a walking tour through a forest near Dresden, the city I live, in the middle of December 2006. I tried to catch a group which had started one hour before I did. Actually, I had not really been in a hurry and walked alone for almost two hours before I finally reached them. On my lonesome – but not lonely – way an idea as clear as a ray of sunlight entered my mind: Stuttering is a corrective for the unconscious use of speech in the society; just like not being able to talk for mute people.
But, what does that mean?
Everyone of us is a part of the society. Getting conscious about our own speaking always starts with ourselves; in exchange with other people. What did we say? How did we say it? Why … all these questions. Usually people don’t take that much care about the things they say Yet, isn’t every word a thing that can change other things, other people’s minds? Changed minds can change other minds. In the end, it’s the minds which give orders for any action using the spoken word or a signature as tools. Our words will be in some way materialized in the very end. Doesn’t even the Bible say: “In the beginning there was the word”? If so, then we can be sure, that shortly after the first occurrence of speech there was also the first abuse of the word. If God exists then a specific countermeasure to limit that abuse must have been introduced to the world as well. But how did it happen? How can we recognise it?
Well, let’s take a very popular example. Most of us were raised up in a time when TV and cars were common things of our everyday lives. Not so for our grandparents for who both things were as amazing as the Internet is for us nowadays. In some households the TV set(s) won’t get switched off the whole day. Plenty of people drive their cars every day. How can we see and feel the difference of a life without TV sets or cars? Usually there’s no reason for us to stop using such things unless a time will come when we get sort of fed up with them. Sometimes – and I assume that this is more probable – by certain circumstances we won’t have a TV set or car anymore. Perhaps we’re on holiday or had a car crash. In these times we may recognise that neither a TV set nor a car is really necessary for life. Surely, sometimes it’s good to have one, but in fact these aren’t things which will decide whether we’ll survive or not. On the contrary, we’re not in the least aware of the various side effects of watching TV and driving cars regularly. Not being able to watch TV in a crowd of TV freaks and lovers must almost be like not being able to speak freely in a crowd of “speak-the-whole-day-about-what-I-like” people. It must be similar to walking in a queue of four wheel cars.
However, times have changed. People who watch TV unconsciously are quite often overloaded with information, not being aware of what they see and feel in fact. Car drivers end up in traffic jams in at least half of their driving times. So, what’s the advantage of using your own eyes to make up your opinion instead of watching the world on a TV screen? What’s the benefit of walking in times of high speed and world-wide mobility? What’s the use, the advantage … well, the meaning of stuttering in a time that puts communicative skills on the top of the agenda of necessary things in everyone’s life?
It is the contrast. Stuttering creates distinctions, changes and thus awareness; no matter if we want that or not. It’s up to us how we see and use it. Slowing down – not only on the streets and in the TV sets – is an issue of our recent lifetime; slowing down in speech as well. Speaking slower and less fluent demands some effort of the people listening Usually people try to listen. Even if not … is it our problem?
Scientific researches have shown that the nervous system of people who stutter is different from those of fluent speakers. It makes us more sensitive when we speak. We, the people affected by stuttering, can decide whether we call this very characteristic a progressive, evolutionary development or a malfunction. Ignorance and missing self-esteem very often make us look like “poor people” who have to be helped in managing our lives. Sure, we need the support of some people Yet, it starts with the acceptance that stuttering is simply another way to talk. Firstly, we have to accept it as a part of us, of our souls. If stuttering was dangerous for the existence of our species then stuttering people would have died out over the centuries. However, more than 3200 years after Moses – another famous person who stuttered – lived, still millions of people stutter … world-wide.
Stuttering is something very useful, maybe even necessary for human evolution. Years over years we were taught that – coming back to cars and watching TV once more – having a small car or even no car at all or not being informed about the last episode of the daily soap opera or the latest news won’t allow us to be recognised members of the society. All that is only valuable when really needed – used consciously, meaning in time and with efficiency. More than fluent speaking, stuttering is a beneficial tool to watch ourselves and other people speak. Let’s take it as a guide on our adventurous journey to consciousness.
Essay 12: By Sri Jai Selgetz
A Letter to My Oldest Friend
To my dear partner in life, Stutter.
We have been an inseparable couple now for too long to remember. We go everywhere together and everyone knows us as a couple but I have unfortunately reached a point in my life where I feel a need to have my own space so it is with the deepest of regret and the fondest of memories of both fun and sometimes traumatic moments, that I must seek your loving consent for a separation.
I remember the first time that we met when we were both only 5 years old. I had been asked to stand up in class at my new school and talk about my family when, with a burst of light, you came into the room and wrapped yourself around me like a warm glove. Your presence just took my breath away and left me speechless in awe of your power and stunning influence over every thread of emotion within my body. I went weak at the knees and my heart pounded with apprehension as you gazed into my eyes longingly wanting to be with me for ever. From that day forward we have been as one.
I remember how jealous you were when I first rang a girl on the phone to ask her for a date. When she answered the phone you literally jumped on me from behind the door. As I struggled to release myself from your loving embraces you affectionately pulled at my face contorting it in all directions. When I finally released myself from your less than tender touch and went to ask the girl to escort me to a party you gently kissed my lips so that I could not speak those words that I so desperately wanted to say and you remained there until the phone dropped from my weakened grasp.
Our close relationship did not go unnoticed at school but all were jealous of your fondness for me. Whenever we embraced in their presence they would laugh and jeer me as they watched me react to your magnetic influence over every aspect of my being.
I remember the time I was thrown out of one classroom for misbehaving under your spell and being marched to the head masters office for a severe chastisement with the cane. When I was confronted with this mountain of a man staring down at me seeking an explanation for my unsociable behaviour, you once again stopped me from saying those words that might have seen me in deeper trouble. I look back now with a smile on my face at how when I went to speak you shoved that invisible wet sock into my mouth then started shaking my head and rolling my eyes as you slapped my hand against my side as I was so desperate to speak and breath with that sock in my mouth. It must have looked so amazing to that man who just told me to go back to class and we laughed until we cried at what he must have thought.
Or the time that I was stopped by a police officer for doing 100 in a 60 zone in my car. At a time when a lesser friend would have turned her back on me you were there to help in your usual and brilliant way, always with that touch of a sense of humour. I still see the look on his face as you literally held my tongue on the top of my mouth as I tried to speak. The more I wrested with you the more you held it there. At the time I felt you were very cruel but when the officer turned and walked away and you released the pressure on my tongue we once again laughed as I wiped away the tears of frustration as we sped off again into the night.
You always had an air of unpredictability about you. I never knew when you would longingly seek my attention. You always had a habit of leaping onto me for the most affectionate of embraces when I was about to purchase an item in a shop and so much so that I felt more comfortable handing the shop assistant a note so that my words would be there should you choose at that moment to interfere with your soft lips and tended hold when you invariably and jealously sought my attention at those times.
Although I hated you at times I missed you when you were not there. I remember the time long ago that you just up and left me without any discussion or warning. I thought I would never see you again. Although your absence meant that I was able to amuse myself by freely talking to people without your constant attention to my welfare, I deep down longed for the security of your warm and tender touch. But I remember too clearly the day that you came back into my life and at that point I knew we would never again part and we were once again the talk of the town.
But life takes some funny twists and turns my dear old friend. I now have a wife and two children and a job that requires my constant attention and devotion. I no-longer have the time nor inclination to entertain the childlike behaviour that you invoke in me when we conspire to reek havoc on other people through spoken communication when we touch each others soul when we embrace. The adult in me longs to be set free of your constant yet caring watchful eye of protection.
You have on many occasions brought me great heart ache and pain yet you have been my greatest teacher. You have taught me to be more compassionate for other people. You have taught me to be less judgemental of others and thereby less judgmental of myself and my own faults. You have taught me that perfection is not the ultimate goal. You have taught me to be comfortable with my own power. You have taught me to accept what is. You have taught me that I should not try to meet other people’s expectations of me but to meet only my own expectations of myself and learn to live in my own world not the world that others create for themselves and would have me enter if not for your wise advice. And finally you have taught me that I should look into another person’s eyes when I speak and not see them as someone to be feared but understand that we are all one and to learn to see the love in their soul behind the face or the voice before me.
My dearest Stutter, you have in your own loving but unusual way been a gift from God that has touched my life in so many ways but now we must part and go our separate ways for we have now learned the lesson that each had to learn from the other. Please do not hate me for making this decision but I know in my heart of hearts that our life together was destined to end this way and at this very moment.
Go in peace and love back to the light from which you came for you will always be in heart.
All my love,
Sri Jai Selgetz
Essay 13:By DEEPAK KARMACHARYA, BIRGUNJ, NEPAL
STUTTERS PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Stutter is a problem of speech. It is not any disease. A person who is suffering from this problem can not speak clearly and fluently. Stutter’s is great problem in our society. They were facing and suffering with so many problems in society due to lack of awareness and Ignorance. Due to Lack of awareness and Ignorance people think that this problem is due to “GOD SIGN”. Therefore we have to spread awareness in society and also we have to build-up full confidence level of stutter’s to remove this problem.
Stutter’s is not only physical problem, some time it may be physical problem due to accidental case and due to problem of voice vocal cords. In my opinion there are so many causes of stutter problem like below.
- Genetic (Heredity)
- Accidental Case
- Environmental Pressure of Society
- Learning of Others Habits
Any causes of stutter’s problem I can say strongly & forcefully that this problem is mostly related with mental and psychological problem rather than physical problem.
Since many years in Allopathic treatment through Speech therapy and neurology treatment doctors trying to remove stutter’s problem but in my opinion that is not cords and neuron problem. It is only based on pigeon whole treatment. Root cause of stutters problem is mental and psychological because in my study and research I found that in case of speaking stutters hypothermous system totally disturb due to lack of confidence, due to fear of facing new person and mass, due to inferiority complex, due to felling of shyness, due to prestige issue, due to fear of mass laughing. Mostly before speaking due to lack of confidence these above negative thoughts is put in hypothermous system of person and disturb it. When hypothermous system disturb then there negative thoughts convert in negatives chemicals & salt and bad hormones. Creation of these negative chemicals, salt and bad hormones flow through pitutary and pineal glands and simultaneously it disturb thyroid glands. Being imbalance of chemicals and hormones total indocine system irregularise than it disturb nervous break- down and raise stiffness of vains of vocal cords and neck muscles due to these cause persons face stutter problem.
In my so many years’ research I find “sympathy” and “YOGA therapy” (YOGA, PRANAYAM, and MEDITATION) can solve and remove the stutter problem much more than other therapy. “Sympathy” treatment raises the confidence level of stutters. Being a stutter I practice myself this yoga therapy and myself benefited. Yoga is an art of living, it is philosophy and ancient scientific knowledge. This yoga therapy hit root causes of stutters. It is one based on holistic treatment. Through yoga not only you can get physical fitness and it regularizes indocine system of body. Either stutter may be server, moderated & mild. Any type of stutters if they will practice regularly these following below these yoga therapy they can reduce their stutters problem. This yoga therapy has the capacity of freeing the mind from untruth fullness, negative thoughts, ignorance and all other painful and unpleasant experience of the body and mind which is helpful to reduce stutters problem.
Before practing “Yoga Therapy” I will like to explain its features, characteristic, importance and certain rules and precaution’s.
- This “yoga therapy” is must practice under the direct supervision guidance and guideline of a expert and well known yoga Guru.
- This therapy is based on evidence based method. It cast nothing simply you have to give one and half hour daily early in the morning for practice regularly.
- Don’t practice without knowing correct method and rules , it may be harmful.
- Select a clean and peaceful place for doing this therapy, by sitting which ever you find convenient dress up loose cloth’s.
This therapy should be performed five hours after taking food. Time in the morning after finishing daily routine acts like cleaning mouth evacuation of bowels.
These are the “yoga therapy” given following below. These therapy is based on breathing exercise with theory of “PURAKA” “KUMBHAKA” “RECHAKA”.
- VASTRIKA PRANAYAM WITH MEDITATION
- KAPALBHATI PRANAYAM WITH MEDITATION
- BAHYA PRANAYAM WITH TRIBANDHA
- ANULOMA–VILOM PRANAYAM WITH NATURAL AND REVERSE RESPIRATION
- NADI SHODHAN PRANAYAM
- BHRAMARI PRANAYAM
- UDGEET PRANAYAM MUTTERING THE MANTRA “AUM”
By practicing of yoga therapy stutters get these benefits which is the root cause of stutter.
- Normalise respiratory system.
- Reduce fear of inferiority complex .
- Remove negative thoughts, depression.
- Improve positive thinking (positively), raise your confidence level and freeing from stress.
- Relaxation of hypothermous system and improve cecreation of good harmon and chemicals through pitutary, and pineal glands.
- Normalise nervous system, thyroid and regularize indocine system of body.
- Loose and normalize stiffness of muscle and vains of vocal cords.
Last but not least in conclusion I want to again suggest and want to send the massage to stutters of all the world to follow these above “yoga therapy” practically with passion to get miracle change in stutter problem. Thank you.
PRESENTED AND WRITTEN BY
Mr. DEEPAK KARMACHARYA
BIRGUNJ, NEPAL, “ASIA”
PHONE NO. – 051-52757
Essay 14: By Arne Hope, NORWAY
The Frights and Joys of Speaking
Stavanger Self-Help Group
Norwegian Stuttering Association (NIFS)
It is Saturday afternoon. I’ve been sent off to the store with a note, a small yellow patch full of pot-hooks. Most of my mission goes smoothly: Vegetables, milk, meat, peanuts…. One after the other my tasks are carried out. Only the yeast I haven’t found. I myself have required homemade bread, and no yeast means no homemade bread. The yeast. Where do they keep the yeast? I wonder. I push the trolley along the shelves, scanning them as I go by, from the top to the bottom, from the bottom to the top. I work myself through the ICA store. Nix yeast. Time is running. And I should have been home, writing an article for the stuttering magazine!
Around me young shop assistants are scurrying about. Perhaps they would know where the yeast is? I don’t think so. These girls are probably only weekend substitutes without very much of a clue. Well, the yeast has to be somewhere. I keep searching. Finally I give up. I turn to a girl busy emptying a carton of potato chips. “Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-…” I say. She turns towards me. “Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-”, I say once more. “Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-…. Do you happen to know where the yyyyyyyy…” She is still looking at me, handling it quite nicely, in fact. “Do you happen to know where the yyyyyyyyyy…do you happen to know where the yyyyyyyypaper towels are?”
The girl smiles, disappears for five seconds, and comes back with a bag of paper towels.
Back home: “What have you been up to all this time?” “You bought paper towels yesterday!” “Did you forget the yeast?”
My daughter has bought a flat and moved in with her boyfriend. They have both completed their education, and they announce that there will be a wedding in September.
The joy about the upcoming occasion was immediately followed by a nagging fear.
“Great”, I said. “Will there be many guests?”
“Really only the closest family, plus a few friends from school. And a few of Rune’s colleagues from the symphony orchestra.”
Hmm. This didn’t sound too bad. “How many all in all?” I asked.
I immediately sensed the seriousness of the situation. The concept was undoubtedly a stylish wedding. To a stylish wedding belongs an etiquette. And a part of the etiquette is: The bride’s father gives a speech. The bride’s father is the first on the list of speakers, according to the etiquette.
At previous large family gatherings the talking has always been delegated to someone else. I have in general been let off the hook when my parents celebrated anniversaries or the children had their confirmation parties. This time I had a choice of being humiliated in one of two ways: Either keep silent and leave the speeches to everyone else, – or risk making a fool of myself in front of a crowd of 70 people.
At the Nordic Stuttering Seminar in Finland I had a conversation with an elderly lady, presented my dilemma, and received this advice: You are going to give a speech! Make it short, somewhat amusing, and somewhat serious. The most important thing is that you tell your daughter that you love her and that you are proud of her, and that you wish for a happy future for the newlyweds. That’s what people expect to hear. Nothing more. Nobody likes long speeches.
A plan started developing. At the same time I remembered the seminar with John Harrison that I attended last year. He was of the opinion that giving a speech actually could be fun, and that it was something you should look forward to, not be anxious about.
The manuscript for my speech gradually found its form and was learned by heart. “Slips of the tongue” were put into it, and rehearsed to sound natural. Then I stapled together a few thick bunches of paper, and wrote on them “Wedding Speech Chapter 1”, “Wedding Speech Chapter 2” and so on.
The last couple of weeks before the wedding I kept saying to myself, “I’m insanely looking forward to giving this speech, I’m insanely looking forward to giving this speech…”. And so on. And so forth. “ I might as well have said, “Oh, I can’t wait to being hanged and then shot.” But in some mysterious way I started to believe my own bluffing.
It was a grand ceremony. The mood was good, and my optimism was soaring a little. I went into the hall where the banquet was going to be held, placed myself behind my chair and tried to imagine and picture what was going to take place a couple of hours later. All the time words were swirling in my head: “I’m looking forward to give this speech, it will be fun, oy, how fun….”
The master of ceremonies finally rose after the main course, I straightened up, and he said, “As the custom is, I give over the word to the bride’s father as the first speaker at the table…”
I stood up, grabbed the big pile of manuscripts, fiddled “nervously” with it for a while, and said, “I have written down a few words…(pause)… to remember them better…(pause)…and I have divided my speech into five chapters…(pause)…but since we are a little behind in our schedule, I will only briefly…(pause)…summarize the contents of the chapters…(pause)…
The first chapter is about…” Then the bride’s childhood was described in a few, but carefully selected sentences. The “chapter” was put aside, and the next chapter was summarized in the same way and equally fast. I felt that my plan had worked. I was on my way. The banquet hall was conquered. The listeners were a little baffled by the somewhat unorthodox opening. I was in control of both tempo and words. My audience was relieved that the speech was substantially shorter than envisioned, and that it was amusing without becoming flippant. And every word was carried through without a trace of stuttering.
Even if all such speeches are followed by a certain amount of applause, this applause was bigger than what I expected. Those who knew me were wondering how on earth I could do this, and those who didn’t know me said that it was a very good speech. The feeling afterwards of having broken a barrier was the best, though. A new arena had been conquered.