Moving Forward with Love and Acceptance
- Category: Personal Stories
- Published: Sunday, 02 February 2020 17:35
- Written by Michelle Weinshtein
I’m Michelle Weinshtein and I am a person who stutters. But I am also many other things — a 20-year-old young woman, a sister to 3 brothers, a daughter, friend, and student.
Losing my Voice
Growing up, I was a very loud and energetic child. I always wanted to take charge and was a natural leader. I started to notice my stuttering at around 7 years old. I found myself speaking out less and pushing away my unique personality. I slowly started to lose my voice. It seemed necessary to conform to society and I would catch myself trying to fit in to be perceived as “normal”. I acquired the belief that there was something wrong with me, that I was not deserving of being heard, that no one would like me for who I am truly am. These beliefs and thoughts became so deeply engraved into my subconscious mind that it became my go to neural thought process, consequently resulting in me avoiding daily situations and activities.
Finding a Community
It was not until this summer, that I partook in the Fluency Group program at the Speech and Stuttering institute, that I finally started to immerse myself in this community. I met other people that stutter and for the first time finally felt like I was not alone when it came to this subject. I was also introduced to the CSA and attended their annual conference (where I won the student scholarship award!). I met so many amazing, kind, special individuals that inspired me to want to make a difference and be more involved in this special community.
Working Towards my Dream
Today, I am in my third year of a pre-med program at Western University, in hopes of achieving my dreams of becoming a doctor. I would supress this dream of mine as an adolescent because I believed that I was not capable enough due to the disfluency in my speech, not even realizing or appreciating all the traits and skills I have that DO relate and are needed as a doctor.
I got to where I am today by working hard, not giving up, growing tough skin, learning how to be vulnerable with others, and enforcing a strong emphasis on self-care and self-respect. I am slowly starting to connect with my inner child again, which I believe is who we truly are without all the external conditioning brought into our lives as we grow up.
I believe that my stutter is a big contributing factor for me being the empathetic, understanding, and hard-working individual I am today. Just like any hardship we go through, there are always things we can take away from the situation which make us stronger, as long as we allow them to.
Stuttering Won't Stop Me from Winning
I am sure this will be a life-long battle, but the difference is that now I do not let my stutter win. When faced with moments of self-doubt and fear, I pick myself back up and keep pushing. I will not let it deter me from having true fun, connecting authentically with others, and fulfilling my role of what I was meant to do on this earth.
For anyone going through something similar, take this challenge/hindrance and use it to help others learn how to accept and love each other unconditionally. Always demand respect and never let anyone treat you less than what you deserve. Treat everyone with love and kindness and always do your part to make this planet a better, more loving place.
Michelle Weinshtein is a CSA member who was granted the CSA Scholarship for 2019 for a student who stutters. For more information about this award, go to the Financial Award page here