Lights, Camera, Speech

January 17, 2011  |  Posted in: Members' Blog - Stuttering Perspectives   |  By:   |   0 Comments

Hello my fellow stutterers! It’s a new year and this is a chance for a new beginning, starting with a new attitude about stuttering. No more being ashamed, no more ordering what you can say rather than what you want at a restaurant and no more feeling embarrassed for being the inspiring, courageous stutterer that you are.

Your new outlook on stuttering starts now! Let’s start by envisioning stuttering as an iceberg. The surface above an iceberg represents what others can see-the physical features of stuttering such as repetitions, prolongations, blocks, pausing, etc. The surface beneath an iceberg represents the fears, challenges, avoidances and the negative feelings we feel about stuttering. You however are the only one who can decide how much of the surface you’re willing to show. I know that all of you are capable of expressing yourselves in a confident manner when it comes to acknowledging your stuttering but if it hasn’t happened yet…don’t worry! It will.

There was a time in my life when stuttering took over and I felt that I would never feel free and in control of my stuttering. All of that changed the day of my high school graduation and with the help of my speech therapist, parents and teachers I took control of stuttering and never looked back. From that day on, I promised myself I would never let stuttering hold me back from anything. It’s been four years and I am proud to say I have kept my word. Instead of being Nina, a person who stutters I am Nina, Student Government President of my college and a person who stutters.

With 2011 in full swing, have you thought of a New Year’s Resolution? How about advertising your stuttering? It is never too late to educate others about stuttering. For those of you who haven’t heard, there is a movie out in theatres that educates others about stuttering. “The King’s Speech” tells the inspiring story of Bertie, the Duke of York (Colin Firth) who is crowned King George VI of England after his father’s death. Bertie has struggled with stuttering his entire life but with the help of an eccentric, compassionate speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) and his loving wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the King learns to manage his stuttering and delivers a radio address that inspires his people and unites them in battle.

Although I was skeptical as to how Hollywood would portray stuttering, I must say they did an outstanding job of displaying emotions and challenges related to stuttering. Colin Firth did a wonderful job portraying a frustrated, anxious, excited stutterer. I am happy to report that The King’s Speech has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards. Colin Firth recently won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in “The King’s Speech.” The movie was also a recipient of two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Outstanding Cast.

With the overwhelming response to the movie and interest in stuttering, Inside Edition (CBS) attended a Queens Chapter NSA Meeting on January 3rd, 2011 to get a closer look at the lives of persons who stutter. At the meeting, I mentioned that I was reading a review of “The King’s Speech” and the author referred to stuttering as a disability. I expressed my disappointment to his reference by arguing that stuttering is not a disability. Stuttering provides us with daily challenges and obstacles to overcome but we have each other and our loved ones to support us when we fall. If you are reading this and saying “well I think stuttering is a disability!” I won’t argue with you but I will leave you with these words…I believe you have what it takes to be successful in life and not let stuttering hold you back from anything. Do you?

Overall, the Inside Edition interview was an amazing opportunity, a great way to advertise stuttering and show people that they are not alone. Thanks NSA! Fortunately, our segment was featured on Inside Edition on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011. In case you missed it, here’s the link! Enjoy!

To all my friends out there reading this, I hope you walk away from this story with the courage to make a difference- maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but someday soon. Stay Strong and Stutter Beautifully!

– Nina Z.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Blog section of the NSA Queens Chapter website do not necessarily concur with the views or beliefs of the National Stuttering Association (NSA) or the Queens Chapter of the NSA. They are the opinion of each individual contributing author who attends the Queens chapter.

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