The end of summer is near.
I sit in the shade out back
and listen to the last
of the summer sounds.
Noises of insects sounding
like frogs in the afternoon.
Kids are walking home
from school, leaves are
preparing to change
colors soon. What to do?
Nothing but observe
the small airplane flying
it is best not to
move my head.
I look out to the west to see
the mountains have vanished
underneath a blanket of heavy
rain clouds. For hours, I wait for
the rain to fall. Sometimes, it comes
and passes within minutes. Other times,
like today, it lingers for hours, teasing
its arrival while never actually
making its way to the plains.
When they don’t like something
they kick you out and throw away the key.
When they don’t like you
they call you a bad person because of your qualities.
When things bad things happen
supporters will rally around you.
When freedom of speech is tested
the people will fight back by calling out the wrongs.
Lies are now seen as a perfectly
good option for speaking your mind.
We teach kids that lying is bad
and yet, we have our government hiding the truth.
We have social media platforms
covering up their mistakes instead of making them right.
Thinking about themselves first
and the customers, citizens of earth, second.
When did spreading falsehoods become acceptable?
When did we look the other way to red flags?
When did we become the adults we tell our children not to be?
When did lies become another word for truth?
When will adults be held accountable for what they say?
This is not normal.
This time we’re living in isn’t the norm.
Don’t get used to it.
Don’t become desensitized.
When lies become truth,
keep calling out the lie.
As many people have stated, we’re living in difficult times. There seems to be a shooting more often than not and nothing is being done to stop these vile people from carrying out these terrible attacks. I was overhearing what was happening on the news the other day since I don’t watch it anymore, and I heard Don Lemon say something along the lines of, “if the gun laws don’t change, if this division continues, this will be the end of America as we know it.” Those words should not be taken lightly.
I go to church to write. I don’t know why but I find peace being able to hear someone speak about something while I sit in the audience writing. I normally never bring my phone in because it’s a distraction. But lately, I’ve been wondering if I should bring my phone in for safety. After what happened last Saturday in Pennslyvania, the next day, I sat in the car in the church parking lot for a good minute or so debating with myself on whether or not I should bring in my phone. Ultimately, I decided against it because it will only be a distraction. But the fact that I even have to consider bringing my phone is jarring.
I don’t have the answers but I have many questions. And as the days continue to bring more uncertainty and terror in this country, the list of questions grow. I don’t understand why our government hasn’t made more of an effort to pass gun control laws to protect the next generation from senseless violence. I don’t understand why we choose to focus on differences instead of similarities. I don’t understand why the anger and divide in this country are so apparent when we have so many obvious problems. I don’t understand why our government isn’t acting on changing laws when innocent people are losing their lives. I understand the Republican party has fundamental differences than the Democrats. I understand that nothing will be done to fix this problem with them being the majority in our government. I understand that our differences are seen as deal breakers.
We can believe in different things and still find a way to meet in the middle.
I am a person who stutters. I’ve stuttered my entire life. I’ve been in speech therapy. I’ve taken medication to help reduce my stutter. I’ve lied to myself, saying that I don’t have a stutter.
My stutter hasn’t gone away. I’m now 25 and I still stutter. Some people grow out of their stutter. I’m not one of those people. Stuttering isn’t curable. I don’t stutter because I’m anticipating a word. I’m focused on what I’m saying, not how I say it. Repeating words in my mind three times before I say it out loud is unrealistic. There are too many conversations in a day to repeat everything I say in my head three times before speaking. I avoided eye contact for years because I was scared of seeing how people may react to my stutter. That fear is real but taking back the power allows me to determine how I feel about myself and not anyone else.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m referring to the advice Steve Harvey gave a woman who stutters on his show a couple of weeks ago. I find this video from an article posted by the American Institute for Stuttering that highlights the dangers of Mr. Harvey’s advice. While a lot of the speech therapy I had as a kid wasn’t helpful, this was partly because I wasn’t willing to acknowledge my stutter. As an adult, I have begun to accept my stutter and with the help of AIS, I see my stutter in a new light.
Everyone who stutters has a different relationship to their stutter because no two people stutter the same. Many of the people who stutter as a kid grows out of it by the time they reach adulthood. It’s not uncommon for a person to stutter as a kid and not as an adult. I know that for me, my stutter can shift within a moment. Heightened emotions and situations certainly play a part in how I stutter. I know that my story is a little bit different because I took medication as a teenager to have my stutter “go away.” I spent the majority of my high school and early college years not worrying about my speech. At one point, I even thought I had grown out of it. But when I went off the medication, my stutter came back within a couple of months.
There’s no cure for stuttering. Techniques such as repeating the word in your head before you say it can easily fail. Talking to yourself in a mirror is like talking to yourself any time of the day, you don’t stutter because there’s no stress. It’s not all in your head because stuttering can be caused by much more than just anticipation and sometimes anticipation causes the stutter to go away. It’s not about how much confidence you do or don’t have. It’s not about what you do or don’t tell yourself to get through the day.
Again, this is only from my perspective. There’s no one size fits all for stuttering because everyone who stutters, stutters differently than the person next to them who stutters. Applying a one size fits all method, especially from someone who’s stutter went away, is dangerous because many people stutter their entire lives. And that’s okay.
I’ve been trying to think about how to write this post all day. Last week, this country went through a roller coaster of emotions with the Senate Hearings. Watching Dr. Ford give her testimony and answer questions was emotional for me and many women around the country. She’s an amazing woman for being brave and sharing her story. I cried several times because I, along with a lot of America, could see how the traumatic events she suffered many years ago has impacted her life. It was evident that she did experience a tragic event, whether or not it was by the man she claims is decided from whatever “side” you’re on. I believe what Dr. Ford said. I believe any woman or man who comes forward because it’s a very difficult thing to reveal. It’s not easy and everyone who has experienced a sexual assault or harassment gets to decide whether or not they want to share their stories. The fact that women are being heard and beginning to be taken seriously is a baby step on the long road we still have to go on. Believe women when they speak out. Believe survivors when they speak up. They deserve to be heard and believed.
It’s been fall for two days and I can already feel
the crisp in the air. It makes the hair on my arms
stand up. I breathe in deep breaths to take as much
as this magic in as I can. This is my favorite time of
year because it’s gone in a blink of an eye. It’s delicate,
for this beauty comes from the change of leaving the
earth. Orange leaves stay on the grass until they
get raked up on the weekend.