Sunday, August 9, 2009

Everyone's sorry for something....I will never be sorry for stuttering!

Good evening everyone,

The summer often goes by so fast, and although I'm a fan of those cold, raw, and numbing winter nights, I have to admit that summer is growing on me. Not just because my summers belong to the National Stuttering Association, as every day of my life does because my involvement with them is the heartbeat of my world, but because summertime is all about movies. The studios bring out their "big guns," so to speak...all those jaw-dropping special effects that keep us coming back for me. And sometimes the movies released during the summer often have characters that we can relate to more because of the complexities of their depth.

Last night, I went to see "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," which I was a big fan of based on their Super Bowl teaser trailer. Toward the middle of the movie, one of the main characters is captured by the enemy-the enemy in this case is a character named The Baroness, and the kidnapped is Duke. It turns out that at one time they were both romantically involved with each other, and her path led her to the opposition. One of the lines she utters is "Everyone's sorry for something," a reference to how Duke got her brother killed on a mission even though he promised at graduation he'd look out for him. Feeling betrayed, she decided to get even by playing for the other team.

In regards to stuttering, more so in younger days, that's exactly how I felt. Several times on my blog I've made reference to a very important line that my speech pathologist has told me: "You don't feel bad because you stutter, you feel bad for the other person who has to listen to you." I did feel bad....I felt bad when I raised my hand in class and was ignored. I felt bad when I went up to someone to say hello and as I was fumbling the words, the other person's face expressions turned away from me. I felt bad when my family used to go out to the local diner on Saturday nights and my dad, thinking he was helping me by making me order for the whole family, had to hear me struggle asking for four entrees, and then at the end, saying "You could be better."

We all have faced times in our lives when we wish, sometimes in vain, to turn the clock back. We want to reverse a wrong-maybe we said something we shouldn't have, we lied and got caught in it. Sometimes we wished we didn't stutter. I used to feel that I was sorry I stuttered...that it was all my fault, and my cross to bear alone. Sadly, my mom didn't think so since she said Jews don't have crosses to bear, LOL..had to interject somer humor. But the more I think I about it, I know I will never be sorry for stuttering. I will never be sorry for blocking on a word. The teammates who stutter around the world have no reason to apologize for their speech. We never have....and we surely never will.

If you are a teammate who wants to join the world's biggest advocacy organization for those who stutter, please visit the National Stuttering Association web site at, and remember: In the eyes of the NSA, the word "apologizes" never exists.

My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.

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