Growing up, I always wondered why I was born with a stutter. The growing fear of negative reactions toward my stuttering eventually led me into silence. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was actually given a gift. What may seem like a set back for someone else, I learned to use as a come up for me. I knew that I had dreams and I knew that I did not want my fear of stuttering to stop me from sharing my voice.
As a child, I always had a passion for video production. I remember when my twin sister and I put on these “make-believe” television talk shows in our grandmother’s living room. I would produce, direct, and videotape the show while my twin sister would act as the TV host. At this time in my life I had a severe stutter but for some reason when I directed these shows, I did not think about my stutter at all. That was when I first began to realize that although I may have had a stutter, I could be creative and produce different outlets that would speak for me.
While in college, I decided that I wanted to pursue my dreams of becoming a television producer. I remember doing my first broadcasting internship at VOA News, an international broadcasting company in Washington, DC. During my internship, I was involved in helping out with TV technical operations, which included camera work, floor direction, audio production, and other forms of TV production. One day, I was asked to floor direct a live news broadcasting show. I decided to face my fears and take on the challenge. I remember feeling terrified and nervous, because it was my first time floor directing. In addition, I was afraid that I would stutter severely while communicating with other crew members through the audio headset. I was given the responsibility to cue the reporter with hand signals as well as verbally communicate with the staff. I hoped that I would not potentially ruin the live show because of my delayed responses due to my speech impediment. Well it happened… I stuttered while I was floor directing. However, the show went well and I felt proud of myself. At that moment I realized I couldn’t allow fear be attached to my stutter.
After my internship that summer, I was grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in other television production work, such as helping out with Premios Tu Mundo (Your World Awards) for NBC Telemundo, Nickelodeon HALO Awards, BET Honors and Billboard Music Awards. Before helping out with these award shows, I remember thinking “what if I stutter and I don’t respond fast enough during the show?”, or “what if I get looked at crazy when stuttering while asking a question?”. These were the thoughts that haunted me. But I had to realize that by having these thoughts, I was only limiting opportunities for myself. Like they say, action speak louder than words. So I made sure that I always worked very hard and the producers saw that and because of that I kept getting called back to do another show. It felt great knowing that despite having these challenges with my stutter, other people saw my potential.
I want other people like me to be inspired. We shouldn’t be worrying about what others may think of us. We all have potential and we all deserve the right to follow our dreams and aspirations, despite our challenges. We ALL can become who we dream to be.
“We were all born with a certain degree of power. The key to success is discovering this innate power and using it daily to deal with whatever challenges come our way.” – Les Brown