After two days of bad phase, i went to Mumbai to attend FRIENDS convention with a casual note thinking – ok this will be a change for me, THATS IT. I didnt expected or thought anything else. I was actually feeling lost in myself. The very first day, i met Prachi, this gal is quite young, who traveled alone for the first time to pick me up from airport, WOW i felt so inspired, thinking at her age, i didnt used to speak even a single word. Next i met Dhruv (one of the organizer of Convention), another inspiring person, he always had this SMILE on his face inspite of his stutter. Again another inspiration. Nextly, Dr. Joe Klein who is a stammerer and a speech therapist (he is just WOW), Noura (Speech therapist, seem kind and sweet little angel to me) and Vishal (Delhi SHG). Meeting them, listening to their stories made me feel that LIFE IS STRANGE BUT BEAUTIFUL.
The first day of Convention, i was scared to SPEAK (I am always though, haha). We had talks and discussion from many people, many activities, including open mic, where one can speak anything one wants. Though i wanted to speak a lot but i resisted, because i was scared. Oh yes !!! I was scared to speak in front of a group full of stammerers. Now imagine my ACCEPTANCE LEVEL. But yes i must say, it was a day full of meeting inspiring people and i must say i was feeling great at the end of first day. I got to know about ACCEPTANCE AND EXPECTATION, i got to know that I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH A STORY, EVERYONE HAS A STORY SIMILAR TO MINE. And i made FRIENDS :).
Next day started with stories on BEING BRAVE. Speakers were Ketan, me, Gaurav, Pradeep, Dharma Sir, and Harish, who got to speak on this topic. I must say i got inspired by everyone’s talk. I was feeling as if i have a new family, whom i dont know much, but YES they are on the same boat as me. I must say whosoever who is reading this must take some more time out and contact Dhruv Gupta, Mumbai SHG to get videos of these stories. Next we had some more activities, followed by TAKEAWAY NUGGESTS, where every member was supposed to speak about their TAKE HOME MESSAGE from this convention. I wanted to say all this and even more but i was just so nostalgic thinking how this convention has helped me and those little kids who didnt even know about stammering. I remembered my days when i didnt even know the word STAMMER/ STUTTER till my M.Sc, i used to always feel “why i cant speak? ” This Convention was just a HEAVEN for those little kids and their parents. Anyways, next came, BRAVERY WORKSHOP, wherein one was supposed to give Bravery Cards to people whom you think are brave. OMG, that went WELL and kids got SO MANY of them, after all, kids were “BRAVEHEART”.
So in a nutshell, here are my take home messages,
*ACCEPTANCE is important. It is OK to STAMMER.
*Noone is responsible for my Stammering, my family or friends who made fun of me or people who laughed at me during seminars. NOONE IS RESPONSIBLE.
* I need to focus on ICEBERG of stuttering instead of my speech. I REALLY NEED TO.
* LIFE IS NOT SO BAD, MAKE FRIENDS.
So Next, i will also share a small story, an incidence which happened in my lab at Bangalore, after attending this convention. Well i am training a junior, who is an excellent speaker. So she was supposed to give a seminar. While she was moving ahead she just got quite nervous and stopped for a minute or two. (I should tell you i used to do same while giving my mock presentations, because i had a .fear of block and i actually used to stammer also). So my Boss told me- “well she is behaving all like you, stopping in middle”. I smiled and replied ” the reason of this pause is same for her (coz i used to give a long pause coz of stammering). He replied back- “Oh yes, your reason is Genetic and her reason is phenotypic (means environmental, not genetic)”. I felt bad at first, didnt know what to say. Then i realized, so what, i am a stammerer, i should just let it go. I smiled and told him- ” Well that is true.”. He was smiling back but felt bad that unknowingly he did hurt me. Again i didnt react and just smiled at him. Yay, ACCEPTANCE.
So this was my story- ALL THE GREAT CHANGES ARE PRECEDED BY CHAOS…..