There’s 30 minutes left in class and you’re on pace to finish your exam well before dismissal. You’ve been gliding through the test, unfazed by Multiple Choice and True or False questions. All the assigned reading over the past month is paying off. Then, something horrible happens. You’re asked to FILL IN THE BLANK. The correctness that needs to occupy that space isn’t currently accessible in your mind. You’re suddenly flustered. You’re too ethical to peek at your neighbor’s work, so you’re suddenly too nervous to even look up, irrationally assuming your teacher can hear your erratic thoughts and will forever label you a thief if you honestly stretch your neck. You’re in a panic. You glance at the time and realize 15 minutes has somehow expired since you realized you were stuck. You know you know the answer. You can see it in your mind. You just can’t write it down for some reason. It’s there, but it isn’t. Another 5 minutes pass by and you’re down to the wire. The grade you desire rides on the accuracy of this answer. You breathe deeply, calm your nerves, then bam. The answer enters your mind and you’re 100% certain it’s correct. The force in which you write it down depicts that confidence. The bell rings and you’ve completed the test. It was exhausting, but you stuck with it and delivered all the accumulated information from inside your head. Now it’s up to the teacher to grade it properly.
weaknesses. we all have them. are you facing them? are you learning from them? how do you deal with them?
Mine is speech fluency, and I’m facing it today. I have trouble talking fluently, which means as my brain sends the message I’d like to speak to my mouth, there’s interruption. There are many symptoms revealed because of this speech disorder - syllable repetition, an unneeded “um,” saying an entire word several times in a row - but the one I struggle with most is called a "block," where there’s a lot of silence. I know what I want to say, and could present the thought quickly through text if commanded, but when prompted to speak, multiple pauses occur. It’s usually the beginning of a sentence that throws me off articulate balance, but once I start, momentum happens, like running downhill, and I can then start delivering words pretty well. It’s like trying to start an old car during the winter -- you’re unsure if you’ll be able to arrive at the intended destination because the engine is screeching in agony, but then the engine finally roars with confidence and now you’re coasting with a smile.
fact: 1% of the world population struggles with stuttering.
Pros // PROS // Prosuh // Proze
i listen more.
I am slower to respond, and thus quicker to understand everything the person has to say. All the thoughts I would like to say, or respond with, aren’t what leave my mouth. Most the time, I say a watered-down version of what I'm thinking to swim around the words or phrases I struggle to speak fluidly. I’m literally thinking of what I’d like to say and what I know I struggle to say and what I should settle on saying, hoping to avoid a grueling glitch. It’s like playing a vintage video game console and praying the nostalgia runs cleanly before the unavoidable squiggly lines invade the TV and everything freezes. So, as far as in-person interactions are concerned, I choose to speak less and listen more. This earnest level of attentiveness allows me to learn a lot about the person sitting across from me. I have no problem processing the words of a friend.
worship has more depth.
It's finally a time where I can sing or play what I am truly feeling. A time where I can let go & give everything to worship Jesus. & with that comes speaking in tongues. Because I can't mess up when I’m speaking while using my faith towards heaven. When I’m focused on Jesus and heaven, my attention is not on my speech, but rather it is focused on what I can do to please and surrender to Him in whatever way possible. When I worship and play the drums at church, literally my whole body is praising Him. I use all of my limbs at once, and when a beat is simpler, I even sing as well. You never know when it’s your last time playing, so give it everything.
Creative Arts gets me away from talking.
What's cool is singing demands a totally different part of the brain than speech -- when I sing, I'm about 99% fluent. (I struggle with rapping lol)
Photos capture emotions more than words can.
Photography has been the biggest blessing. I love to dream and brainstorm about shoots I have never done and write them down in the notes section of my phone. That’s my favorite -- having an idea of what a shoot could look like and then seeing it on my screen. Amazing. I love to capture real moments. During editing, my primary objective is to bring photos to life, and to crop out distractions. It’s an artform that is not completely exhausting. You can be done taking pictures within an hour and a half and then begin the editing process, which is usually 1-2 hours. Compared to writing a story, film, or song, photography is a great way to create something quick without getting drained. & it makes you get out of your comfort zone!
Words mean more to me than most.
I’ve realized I've become an encourager to many. I noticed this gift while I was in high school. I would send out texts to my friends and care for them. While in Sydney, Australia, attending Hillsong College, I learned about spiritual gifts, and my friends would tell me encouragement is a big part of who I am. It’s funny, because I’ve been told that I wouldn’t even notice how uplifting I was being to those around me.
Recently, I've been trying to ask more meaningful questions. I want to make people think and go deeper into what makes them who they are, rather than talk about surface-level things with every conversation. I just realize the power of words. What you say will happen in your life. Much like Genesis 1 when our creator was speaking things into existence. We have that same power over our own small world. Speak life! Speak more about what you are for, less on what you are against. Speak more on what your friend or family member is good at or doing well, rather than what they lack. Words have the power to bring peace over a room. Or disruption. You choose!
Cons // Conz // KonZ
You are classified as being dumb.
This is toughest when I have to read out loud in class. It is very rare that I am completely fluent when reading because there is no way around words you HAVE TO SAY. I remember my sophomore year in high school it took me super long to get through a simple scientific paragraph and I remember my thoughts and emotions. I felt dumb, slow, and exposed by everyone in the class. But really, they were all for me. I remember my teacher pulled me out of the classroom and embraced me enough to where I felt like I could let it all out. He said words like “Are you ok? I didn’t mean to _______” & “Here’s a pass to the counselor if you need it.” That was a huge relief for me.
Realize when people around you are hurting and embrace them.
People think you do drugs.
Cops, waitresses, and store clerks are always suspicious. (My hair in high school didn’t help) & (i've never done drugs lol)
Jokes are rarely delivered on time.
Great jokes have a specific delivery time and mine rarely do haha.
It's difficult to order anything.
I really struggle with saying my phone number, and even my name on occasion, so announcing my desired ingredients at Chipotle isn’t my favorite thing in the world.
Most people don't understand that I can't rush what I have to say.
This instance is especially tough when you are engaged in small talk and you can sense they’re ready to move forward with their day.
I struggle to embrace eye contact with others.
This is one that I am trying to constantly work on because I know eye contact is very important. However, I’m afraid of a person’s reaction to my speech. My brain turns in circles when I’m in stutter mode. You can't control much. It’s like a minor-league seizure. “It's hard to connect with him,” people may think. But you can certainly connect with my photography and my music. The words that leave my mouth do not define me. They simply enhance the essence of who I am and my passions.
I encourage all my readers to face your weaknesses. what are they exactly? how do you cope with them? what passions help you cope with the problems you face?
Be real with yourself. Realize your strengths and weaknesses and be an active learner and listener to better yourself. And in the meantime, do what you love. Do what takes your mind off what you cannot control. Dream bigger. Love harder. Brainstorm longer. Welcome instruction. Ask meaningful questions. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Go places you’ve never been. Try something you’ve dreamt about.
Greatness happens when you face your weaknesses. Learn from them and force yourself out of your comfort zone by having a fearless attitude.
May you continue to work on, shape, and polish your gifts our Heavenly Father has given to you!
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”
James 1:17-19 (NLT)
photos by: kaitlin scott
intro & editing by: matt kliever