No excuses with Rohan Murphy

The last session of the second day at the NSA Annual Conference was the General Session — Opening Announcements and Rohan Murphy.

Here’s a link to more information on Rohan.

Rohan Murphy, who lost his legs at birth, started to wrestle his freshman year of high school. After a successful high school wrestling career he went on to wrestle at Penn State University. In addition to wrestling, Rohan Murphy is also an accomplished powerlifter, competing in international competitions all over the world representing the USA.

The main message that I got from listening to Rohan was “what’s your excuse?”

This really hit home for me on two main levels with regards to stuttering.

The first is that my “excuse” for not wanting to talk more and meet more people is that I stutter. I’m afraid of how they’ll react. I’m afraid of what they’ll think both short and long term. I’m afraid I’ll just look like a fool. I’m afraid that the impression that they have of me will change completely once they find out that I stutter.

That’s obviously all a bunch of crap. Do I still have some of these stuttering excuses? Yes, of course. They’re ingrained. But I am moving past them as much as I can as I get older. The NSA conference really helped. Meeting people and having them react positively has helped. Just saying what I want without a huge negative reaction or long-term consequence has helped. It’s all part of the reprogramming, so to speak.

The second is that my “excuse” for not starting this blog earlier was I didn’t know how others would react. It’s very similar to the above. I had been writing in a journal for many years about my stuttering. How it affected me, how it might affect me. I always wanted to write a book or start a site. But I kept making excuses — it’s too time consuming, what if nobody reads it, what if it doesn’t change anything, what if future employers find out.

Fortunately this year I dumped all of those excuses. The site had been brewing for way too long. It finally erupted and the lava started flowing.

It’s funny because I can see the readership numbers. They’re not that high. But then again, when I was covert for so many years, how many stuttering blogs did I read? And why didn’t I read more? I get it. I understand it. Back then my stuttering was something I would rather not think about if I didn’t have to. So reading a blog about it wasn’t high on my priority list. But after starting this and then going to the Conference, all of that changed.

Rohan’s message permeated through the conference. I could see it everywhere. When I went to the bilingual workshop, for instance. What was my excuse for not trying to speak another language? Why not just do it? What was my excuse for not going up to a group of people? What’s the worst that could happen? What was my excuse for not wanting to promote my blog a lot more? If you’re going to do all this work, then tell everybody — the reaction is probably going to be much better than you think.

Do I still make excuses when it comes to my stuttering? Well, as I’ve said before, I’m not perfect. So yes, I do still make excuses.

But do I make as many?

No.

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