Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coming Back Stronger

I'm currently reading Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees. I wanted to read it because I'm a New Orleans Saints fan and because I love Drew Brees... and after having read the first few chapters about overcoming adversity and how adversity makes you stronger, I'm having a hard time putting it down!

One of the things that Brees mentions is that he has a birthmark on his face, and that he used to get asked about it a lot, picked on, etc. I've even noticed it, and have always wondered what it was. He mentions that his friends and family don't even notice it anymore, that it's not a big deal to them, and that they just accept it as being a part of him. That made me think of some of my family and friends who don't seem to notice my stutter, and how my stutter bothers me more than it does them.

Isn't family great?!

So you may be wondering, what's the big deal? It's just a birthmark, right? Right. I'm not trying to insinuate that Brees wrote Coming Back Stronger because he has a birthmark on his face. That would be kind of ridiculous. The book is mostly about Brees' life after tearing up his shoulder in the NFL, when the doctors thought he wouldn't be able to play again. But the birthmark analogy stuck with me, only because his birthmark made him noticeably different.

I think about it like this: For someone who stutters, that "birthmark" is only noticed when we speak, and otherwise, it's hidden. For Brees, his birthmark is always visible, and he gets questioned about it a lot. It's like a wheelchair, a scar, a burn, etc. It's something that he got teased because of as a kid, but instead of all that making him sad or angry, it made him tougher.

And here's the kicker... he had the choice to remove it, and he decided to keep it. He could have had a surgery and never been teased about it again. And that made me think:

If there was a drug or a surgery that could cure your stuttering, would you take it? I don't know if I would. So far I've stayed away from all of the drugs, the ear pieces, etc. I know some people who have tried various things, and they've worked for a while but then they start stuttering again. I'm glad that people are trying new ways to try to improve their speech, but I just don't know if I would do anything unless I knew it would completely work.

But what I do know is that if I had the chance to time travel into the past and make myself 100% fluent, I wouldn't do it. I don't think I would be the person that I am today if I didn't stutter. My stuttering has made me a stronger person. (Plus, I read a lot of science fiction and think that the world would be completely different if I went back in time and changed anything! I don't need the fate of humanity on my shoulders!)

But if one of my kids stutters, and if there ever is a cure... I would want my kid to get it. I think that's a parental instinct. I like to think that I would give them the choice of whether or not to get it, but I'd definitely encourage it.

Anyway, if you're looking for a great read and also want to gain some insight about how to make your stuttering into a positive experience in your life, I recommend Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees. I'm not finished with it yet, but I'm already inspired.

Who Dat!