My name is Clarisa. I am a Haitian-American who was born and raised in New Jersey. I began stuttering when I was around five. My first memory of stuttering was in the first grade, when everyone had to introduce themselves. I began blocking and repeating my words. After that, I always struggled to talk in class. This led to having similar problems when talking on the phone and to strangers. These incidents frustrated me so much and lowered my self-esteem. I did grow a thick skin, however, but I still wanted to be able to speak freely like my friends.
When I started college in 2016, I decided to major in communications. I thought that this would help me improve my speech, but, to my horror, it made my speech even worse. The bigger the audience, the worse I stuttered.
By late 2021, I was growing desperate. I began looking for solutions. Thank heavens, I came across Lee’s book. I was already doing some of the things that he recommended, but most of his methods were new to me. One of his lines that will stick with me forever is when he wrote this: “The more that you think about your words, the more you will stutter.”
I haven’t had a bad incident (appearing clearly speech disabled) in over a month, and my coach, Vikram, advises me that part of beating stuttering is to claim your success when you achieve it. While I still worry about my speech, I have learned ways to avoid appearing speech disabled. So, my war now is with fear of speaking, which Coach Vikram calls “second base”, first base being not appearing speech disabled.
I want to thank Coach Vikram for his coaching and Coach Lee for his great book and World Stop Stuttering Association for having a program with so many services to help PWS stop stuttering. WSSA is still the world’s only community of ex-stutterers, and that says a lot about it. In fact, nothing more really needs to be said. Join up and beat it too.
Clarisa, N.J. August 2022