By Maggie Poling, Grade 9

I was thinking about Newspaper Club, and how every single person involved is passionate about something. Whether it’s writing, or photography…even editing, everyone loves what he or she does. I was pondering a question in my mind that had been bugging me ever since it first showed up…what am I passionate about? I wondered what makes me special, what I love to do more than anything else. I love to write, which is why I joined Newspaper Club. I love to act, which is why I audition for plays and take classes on the subject. Then I realized that everyone asks himself or herself this question. We wonder what makes us special, what makes us unique. It takes time to find the answer, but when it comes, it really comes. Usually, we discover ourselves when we find something we’re good at, if not originally, then eventually. I remember writing a poem for my FLVS Language Arts class about a year ago, and how proud I was of that poem. That’s what made me love writing. I remember when I auditioned for a production of Alice in Wonderland at a local theatre – coincidentally, also about a year ago – and ended up getting the lead. That’s when I knew I loved acting.

Although, what about the people who don’t know what they’re good at? What happens to them? It’s a tricky question, and I struggle to go back to the time when I didn’t know myself. I thought about how I experimented, how I tried different things until I finally found something I loved. That doesn’t mean to say I was initially good at acting, or writing, but I knew I wanted to be good at both. I practiced, no matter what this “practicing” implied. Sometimes, I was the smallest part you could be in a play, but that didn’t stop me from auditioning again. Sometimes, I didn’t write very well, but I tried again. I kept trying, and eventually, I got it. Moral of the story is, whatever you want to do, whatever you want to be…you can do it. Just keep trying, keep practicing, and one day you’ll find your answer, just like I found mine.

Summer is coming up. I have decided I am going to try something I have always wanted to try, and I will continue to try until I am great at whatever it is I want to be great at. I hope you will join me. You won’t regret it. I promise.   
The Life of a Stutterer
By Priscilla, Grade 8

My stomach tightens, my eyes close, my irritation shows through the tapping of a foot; a nod of the head, a wave of the hand – anything I can possible do to get this word out.  After I say my sentence, I feel embarrassed. That one thought wasn’t worth that much work to express – so why even share the thought?  In the middle of a stutter it feels like its taken me 10-seconds just to say one word (if you really count to 10, that’s a while).

In a group of friends I’m the one who will be the least likely to talk. I’m afraid that if I start talking I’m going to stutter - I’m going to be mocked, I’m going to look like a fool. So, in my experience, I feel that it’s better if I’m just quiet with my thoughts.  I have great thoughts actually.  I have intellectual thoughts that go through my head; and I’d love to share them with people - but I just can’t.  I don’t know how to do so without having to have complete nonsense come out of my mouth.  I would love to interact, debate, and involve myself with discussions - but I just can’t.

I don’t stutter in my mind, I speak perfectly in my mind.  I envy the people who can transfer their thoughts into words without a dis-fluency or pause.  They don’t realize how lucky they have it.  They can explain something within a few seconds, unlike me who takes sometimes a minute.

I know when I’m about to stutter, I know what words I almost always stutter on.  I try dodging those words, substituting them for different ones; however, most of the time I fail to explain myself due to the fact that I’m thinking of a million words I could say instead of that “one” word.

Helping me say a word doesn’t help.  It makes me feel rushed, pressured, and most of all it makes me aware that you’ve noticed.  Did I mention that interrupting just makes it worse for me?

Frustration is the worst part.  My mouth just doesn’t seem as its working right.  I’m unable to communicate.  I’m unable to have a dissent job that includes socializing because they won’t be able to understand me.  My dream of being an attorney won’t come through: how can I negotiate for my client properly with a stutter?

Embarrassment would be the second worst part.  I’m scared to elaborate because elaboration needs the use of more words, and as you might have noticed: words aren’t my friend.  When talking I sound like an idiot.  When stuttering I stand there dumbfound, trying to get the slightest sound out of the beginning of the word.

A few months of speech therapy didn’t help.  I learned about stuttering, I learned about techniques I could use – still nothing helped.  After a current life time of stutter, I’m tired.  I’m tired of trying not being able to talk.  I’m tired of listening to the words of others come out of there mouths so perfectly; so crisp, so clearly.

My stuttering is different depending on the person I’m talking to and what I’m talking about.  Normally it’s the common, “w-w-w-w-what?” when talking to my parents, or family.  Sometimes at random I’ll have a dumbfounded stutter, that’s where I’m trying with all my might to get a word out and only a slight sound is coming out.  That, or I’m just standing there with my mouth open, which is followed by nodding my head and closing my eyes - doing anything possible to get this word out.  When in a group or on center stage I have a “Goat-Stutter.”  I call it that because I literally stutter on every word where I sound like a goat.

I like expressing myself through photography and writing.  I like activities that don’t involve speaking – like, horseback riding.  I like explaining things, like directions or my day – only through writing of course.  I’m unable to explain verbally, so I’ve become dependent with my writing.
5/2/2011 04:35:38 pm

And despite her stuttering, Priscilla still ROCKED the Shakespeare Festival as Macbeth in the Macbeth Murder Mystery. You go, girl! :D

Shelby Higdon
5/3/2011 01:13:53 am

Wow. I stutter. I've stuttered since I could talk. Many people don't understand, and they make fun of me. It is embarrasing. My face get's all hot and it feels like my throat is closing and I can't breathe. It is really annoying and I wish it would go away.

5/4/2011 12:31:28 am

Your article is amazing. Never be embarassed of who you are! I think your pretty dang cool and amazing!

Shelby Higdon
5/4/2011 02:17:57 am

WOOOOOO! Go Priscilla!

5/4/2011 07:44:36 am

Thank you for your article, Maggie! That's really what I needed to hear today! :)

5/4/2011 11:46:30 pm

You shouldn't worry about your stuttering. You should express your feelings on not commenting on how you talk to the people you want to talk to. Also, I've found that focusing on what you're saying normally doesn't help at all with things like stuttering. Not paying attention to it is best, but that's hard to do :)

5/7/2011 06:02:40 am

Priscilla, I love your article! Your thoughts are beautifully spoken through your words. Great job, and keep going! :)

Priscilla Gonzalez del Real
5/9/2011 11:36:30 am

I just realized this article was published.

Thanks guys for all your comments.

5/9/2011 11:48:34 am

You are so awesome prissy! As I said...A star :)

Mrs Martin
5/9/2011 10:24:01 pm

As a former teacher of yours, no need for embarrassment or concern. You are awesome. You can do and accomplish anything!! Anyone would be lucky to have you as their attorney because you have he biggest heart and dermination o do what is best. Follow your heart. I am so proud of everything you've don. Others that stutter appreciate what you have done here. You have us aware of the internal conflict that happens. You rock!!

5/19/2011 04:14:59 am

Wow Priscilla!!!! Awesome post! You just need to believe in yourself and believe you can do it! :)

5/21/2011 09:30:55 pm

Wow, Priscilla, that was very moving! I've never met someone who stutters and I've never stuttered myself, but you painted a picture in my mind of what it would be like. Please continue to write!

Nayah's Mom
5/22/2011 11:20:03 pm


Your article brought tears to my eyes. I loved your clear description of stuttering and the feelings that we can go through. As a child and young adult, I stuttered with almost every word. I was worried about my future . Somehow I have conquered my stuttering to about 90%. I did this by communicating as much as possible in front of others...I used the mantra "practice makes perfect." I now teach English which requires a lot of verbal communication. Please remember that you can do anything you want to do.I am so very proud of you! Nayah is lucky to have you as a friend.

Priscilla Gonzalez del Real
5/24/2011 12:28:51 am

Thank you guys so much for all the comments. A special thanks to Mrs. Martin, and Nayah's Mom.

You have really encouraged me to keep going whether a stutter or not. I really appreciate it.

Nayah's Mom, you're comment is very sweet, it's amazing that you're an English although you used to stutter. You've really inspired me.

Maggie, I loved your article!! I'm so glad you've found your passion. Glad to have you on our NIAC team. :)

5/27/2011 03:27:45 am

A well written article. This is an interesting article, considering I just finished watching "The King's Speech". I would recommend the movie to anyone who is able to somehow block the swearing out. (We have a program that removes swearing) The King's Speech was an intriguing movie (based on a true story) about a high-profile character with a major stuttering problem. Though rated R (for excessive swearing) it was well produced. Some of the actors from Pride and Prejudice appear in this BBC film!

Once again, if you can block out the swearing somehow, this was an excellent movie.

Nicole Sills
5/31/2011 09:27:31 pm

Great Articles, both of you!!!


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