Good evening everyone,
"You can spend your whole life building something from nothing, one storm can come and blow it all anyway, build it anyway. You can chase a dream that seems so far out of reach and you know it might not come your way, dream it anyway."
Those are the lyrics to "Anyway" by Martina McBride. One of the most interesting things about my life has been my introduction and following of country music. Although I live in the New York metropolitan area, unfortunately one of the drawbacks is that country isn't exactly popular here, even though it's starting to change with such events like Garth Brooks playing Central Park and Taylor Swift having sellout shows everywhere. But the main reason why I really like country music is because there is so much to learn about stuttering. Not every song is all about a lost love, but about challenges we face every day.
The song "Anyway," in my eyes, talks about the courage and resiliency we need to go forward, even in the aftermaths of some occurrences that can force us to reexamine everything we believed. If we focus on the lyrics "You can chase a dream that seems so far out of reach and you know it might not come your way, dream it anyway," what does it really mean? Well, to me, the dream that at one time was so far out of reach was reaching the ultimate goal of self-acceptance when it comes to my stuttering. Sometimes we're so afraid to even dream, because we know somewhere there will be a person who takes great pride in shattering those dreams-maybe they never had that ability, so they want to ruin it for others who want to do so.
Last night, I was talking to one of my NSA colleagues and she is similar to me in the regard that she's looking for work and trying to get her life started, as I am too. She is really excited about cosmetics, and wanted to pursue training to be an aesthtician. I encouraged her to go for this, and she admitted she really wanted to do so, but that money was a big issue. I will be 32 in April, and one of the biggest lessons that I have learned from the National Stuttering Association and listening to country music is that it's about PASSION. It's about wanting something badly enough that when you put your heart and soul into it, whatever the results will be, you can look back and say "I did. I dreamed. I tried." No one needs to be told the economy is in dire straits and finances play a big role in what we say and do. I understand that. I also understand that as people who stutter, we have one life, and it's up to us to make it special. I want to go through life saying and speaking with fire, with passion. I want to use my stuttering, my gift, to help others and achieve their goals.
So when it comes to your life, build it anyway. Dream it anyway. Do it anyway. My mom actually mentioned a pretty interesting anecdote about passion though, which I want to share with you. In the late eighties (or maybe early 1990s), my parents went to see Michael Bolton play in concert at Westbury Music Fair-it's a venue slated for mostly recent acts, who were once popular but for whatever reason don't draw as well now as they did then. The opening act for Michael Bolton was a country singer who was looking to make his mark on the world. He was well received, and while some in the audience could care less who he was, he sang with passion on every note, every line. And that little-known singer turned out to be one of the biggest names in country music-he made "Friends In Low Plces" a household song, and put his passion into showcasing some of the most electrifying concerts on this earth.
Build your life....build it anyway.
My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.