I would like to thank every person who has ever had a conversation with me. After nearly nineteen years of life, I am finally paying attention to the way I speak. And it’s a miracle that any of you can tolerate or understand anything that comes out of my mouth.
I’ve always blamed my fast speech on my quarter-Puerto-Rican tongue, but until now I never stopped to listen to myself talk. I never took anyone that complained about the speed of my speech seriously. I loved to talk, and I had no trouble speaking in front of groups big or small. I only started to watch my words when I started to stutter.
I don’t have a bad stutter. It doesn’t sneak in all of the time. I haven’t even had it that long—it made a brief appearance in high school but really kicked in once I got to college. So in the grand scheme of speech impediments, I’m really lucky. But man, stuttering is no fun. A stutter can make your confidence—and appearance of competence, by the way—disappear. I know for a fact that it’s affected my job performance and my ability to communicate with teachers. It’s frustrating because you can’t communicate with anyone, and made even worse by the fact that you know what you want to say, it just won’t come out. Like a really laggy computer.
Even when I don’t stutter (which, by the way, is a cruel word for a speech problem), I talk really fast. I blend words. I forget to include articles or other small words. It sounds natural to me, so I never noticed how confusing it is to listen to a speaker when they sound like that. As of late I’ve been trying to slow down my speech, and only now have I noticed these things. I once voice-recorded a conversation I had with my family and typed out the manuscript later that night. It was like I barely knew the English language.
I hate how fast I speak. I hate my stutter and would do anything to be rid of it forever. But in a way, I’m grateful for it: as my ability to speak has decreased, I’ve learned to rely more and more on my writing to communicate. As far as I can tell, that will never be a bad thing. If left to a personal conversation, I might speak clearly—but I might stutter, too. But when I write, I will never stutter. I always have complete control. It’s freeing.
Don’t get me wrong. I still like face-to-face communication. I’m an auditory person, and I remember things that I hear far better than things that I see. I never forget a voice. I don’t watch scary movies because the sounds of the demons get stuck in my dreams. And so this (hopefully temporary) problem has stricken quite a blow to my self-worth. I’m sorry if I ever race through conversations or get stuck on a word like a broken record. I’m trying to fix it. In the meantime, bear with me—and thank you for being patient.
One more thing, on an unrelated note: has anyone ever noticed that Porky Pig wears a vest and tie, but no pants? How weird is that?