Finding 'My Voice' Through Writing

This sounds like something I'm writing to build up dramatic tension... but, the reality is... besides my family knowing? I haven't really talked about what I'm going to bring up to anyone. And, yeah, it's for that specific reason that I feel I must write about it. Because some of the most beautiful things in life are born from honesty. From courage. From not being afraid to, simply put, "hold back."

So, let's just do this.

One of the weird things I've been told a lot throughout my life is, "You're a great public speaker" or, "You're just as good talking as you are writing."

Look, don't get me wrong; this is an incredibly great compliment. And yet, each time I've heard it - I have to confess - it's really taken me a while to absorb the magnitude of such a genuine remark. Because what those (amazing) people don't realize is... what most of my (incredible) friends don't realize is... hell, what most of my (loyal) READERS don't realize is...

...I grew up with a stutter. In fact, it's something I still struggle with - yes, even to this very day.

. . .

When I was in early elementary school - I became conscious of my stutter. I became conscious of the fact that doing something as simple as speaking... felt impossibly difficult. How I became conscious of this fact is rather simple.

...And yet, terribly tormenting at the same time.

People laughed at me when I talked. People made fun of me when I raised my hand in class to try and answer a question the teacher asked. And it got to the point where I remember driving home one day and asking my family, "Is there something wrong with me?"

"Am I not normal...?"

Fuck. Just writing that, in all honesty, hurts. Because when you're a kid... everything you feel - everything you endure - it just hits you in a way you really never TRULY forget. I honestly believed - in that moment in time - that I wasn't "enough". That I would never "be accepted." And all the speech classes I was going to... all the stuff on the side I was trying to do to 'fix' the 'problem'... well, it felt like I was just inching closer and closer to being isolated from a realm of "normality".

Then, writing saved my life.

. . .

The reason I started writing from an early age isn't the story I've been telling everybody. Yes, there IS 100 percent truth attached to the fact that I found a journal in a book store that I really liked... and I begged my parents to buy it for me, to which they did... and then filled out every page, falling in love gradually with it.

But beneath that...? The real reason...?

I felt more comfortable writing than I did talking. That's just a fact.

On an empty page? I didn't write in a stutter. I didn't mince words... I didn't get scared to share my thoughts and feelings... because, well... nobody was going to laugh at me on the other side of the page. I was invincible, in a sense. Or at least, I felt that way. And as a kid...? That's a VERY powerful feeling to experience. One that, self-admittedly, can change everything.

...Looking and reflecting upon where I am today - or rather, the destination I'm heading - I guess, in a lot of ways, it did.

I don't want to say the REASON I fell in love with writing was because of this "escape". I truly believe it was my purpose in life to discover that passion - and even though the catalyst was enveloped by teasing and bullying... I know I wouldn't have written the script any different way. Even if I had the opportunity to. Even if I could erase the nights I didn't want to go to school the next day.

Putting this all out there to "the world" - that is, my past 'disability', so to speak - shouldn't change how you look at or perceive me. Just like it shouldn't to anyone else. No, I'm saying this stuff because I need to say it. It's something I've been hiding behind for what seems like forever and I know... from the bottom of my 'Lionheart'... as soon as I hit 'publish'... I'm going to feel an enormous weight lifted.

That's real.

. . .

I don't want to talk about how I overcame that obstacle with this particular "Lion's Den" post... perhaps, that's a chapter for another day... or even something you'll see in one of my future stories. Just know that every individual moment you might see me rapping along to a song in a video - it's not just because I genuinely love that style of music.

It's because I'm able to speak better than I EVER thought I could... and being able to write the same way is, well, an added bonus.

...That's confidence speaking, by the way. If you don't think I'm a "great writer" - I don't care. I was never doing this for your approval, anyway.

That-that-that-that-that's all folks, (I can get away with that)

KL