I walked into speech therapy that week frustrated and disappointed. I wanted so much to be free of my stutter, which seemed to keep my business, and me, from growing. My speech pathologist suggested I call the sports teams to personalize my request. He insisted I start each call by bluntly saying that I am a stutterer, predicting positive results. Surprisingly, the more forthcoming I was, the better the outcome. It rained memorabilia during the following weeks.
I distinctly remember my first call to the Long Island Ducks. I hoped no one would answer, counting each dial tone and anticipating the relief of the voicemail recording. My desires went unfulfilled as I heard a respondent on the line.
“Hello. M-my n-name is Andrew,” I said stuttering as my chains tightened. I continued, “I-I-I am a st-u-uttt-erer a-and I am int-e-e-e-eeres-s-s-s-s-sted i-i-in y-your mem-mem-memorabilia.”
As the pitch progressed, the chains of my stutter stopped burdening me. I was so focused on achieving my goal that others’ perceptions ceased to bother me. For the first time, I spoke freely. I controlled my voice. The iron chain around my neck turned golden, as I realized my disfluent speech could not silence my voice. Only I could.