When the whole world was thinking about their Friday night plans. I, Yatharth Sharma and some other wise people were witnessing an eye-opening session on How to practice Acceptance by Mr. Rihan Nasir, a proud stutterer, at the TISA’s National Conference 2021.
The session started with some TISA members sharing their two cents on the topic of Acceptance and how they practice it in their daily life. Nikhil Iyer believes that you can do whatever you want in your life and stammering will not ever come in between like the noses don’t come in between while kissing [courtesy of 3 Idiots]. He surely has accepted his stammering. Akanksha said that she deliberately says to herself that she is a stutterer out loud daily. This has led to the weight lifting off of her shoulder. Now she doesn’t really care about the consequences of her stammering and doesn’t care what other people think.
Then finally came Rihan Nasir for whom we had all gathered that evening. Rihan Nasir has a blog called ‘Hello I stutter’ where he openly talks about his stuttering. What better way of portraying acceptance than to right an open blog page on the internet!
Rihan’s stuttering started when he was in elementary school and because of that he was a very shy and covert kid. His speech therapist only focused on fluency and how to speak better. The main ingredient to the dish was missing, that was, Acceptance. As a young engineer he always used to have an image about himself that he can’t hold positions that require lots of talking. He was a very covert person. But he says that as a stutterer when you don’t talk to people you do a lot of talking to yourself and that’s exactly what he did. As he always had a tick for reading books, he came across a topic of ‘Vulnerability and Acceptance’. That’s when he started to write his stories on the internet and to his surprise many people could relate. He used to keep a journal with him since the starting and that journal was the main source of the blogs. He used a line that I will never forget
“By telling your story you can’t change yourself,
But change the story of others.”
The NSA conference of 2014 was a turning point in the life of Rihan. Seeing so many people stuttering and being open about it, he was shocked. “Why is no one bothered by their problem?” was the only question he had on his mind. But gradually he understood the actual meaning of acceptance through that conference. He went to an open mic there and no one cared about his stuttering. Everyone accepted him as he was even though it went terrible. That’s when he realized that stammering is fine, and that’s when his journey finally picked up gears.
He knew it will be a long path to master acceptance, so he set goals for himself. There were some hard days for him AND some even harder days. He said, “You won’t always move forward and that is okay.”
During his journey in seeking total acceptance, he learnt some golden points which he shared with us. These lessons are as follows:
- There is no cure for stuttering.
- I am not perfect, and neither will I ever strive to be one.
- I can be a good communicator even if I am not fluent. These two are two different words.
- Stuttering is unpredictable.
- Some people will laugh at me and that’s okay.
- I don’t know what other person is thinking in front of me so never assume.
- Stuttering is not who I am. I am so much more than this problem.
Rihan had advised each of the pws to keep a journal with him/her and to put down three things in it:
- Thought or idea you were able to communicate with someone that day.
- Person who listened to you without caring about your disfluency.
- A mistake you made [Not just stammer related].
At the end what I learnt from him was that way to cure stuttering doesn’t come in the form of a pill but a beautiful journey. A journey in which you learn much more than just how to speak fluently. So, embrace this journey and be thankful to God to give you this beautiful life and people who care about you. And don’t say “Why me?”, rather say “Try me!” With this attitude you’ll surely reach the destination you always aimed for in any walks of life.
I personally thank Mr. Rihan Nasir for the wonderful session and I surely learnt a LOT from the session.