About the Authors:
|Taro Alexander is a father, husband, and a person who stutters. Taro is the Founder & President of SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young.|
|Scott Palasik is a father, a husband, a musician and a novelist. He is also a person who stutters and works as a professor at the University of Akron in Speech – Language Pathology and has been a licensed Speech Language Pathologist for over 15 years. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and supervises graduate students in clinical education along with presenting on Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He dares to dream of a day when he completely understands his own stuttering, so he can explain what it means to other people who stutter and to those who do not stutter in order to provide at least a little more comprehension about this unique way to communicate.|
Our motivation for writing a poem
As two artists, and two fathers, we wanted to see what would happen if we wrote a poem in collaboration. We both have created and continue to create art through acting, poems, novels, and music to express our deepest emotions. So we decided to see if we can write a poem together without knowing where it was going or what the next line would be. That being said, we agreed on some simple parameters:
- That we would not set up a lot of rules for ourselves,
- Stick to the feeling of this year’s theme, “A World that Understands Stuttering”,
- Alternate lines written to see where the creative juices poured out…
That was it! The poem below is what evolved from this collaboration and we are proud to share it with you all to read it for the 20th Anniversary of the ISAD Online Conference.
We would love to hear your poems in the comments below. Let’s keep the art going.
With compassion and kindness,
Scott and Taro
Where do we begin? Is a question we ask. How will I ever fit in? How will I ever belong if I talk like this?Will I be happy? What will the world see me as?Right now, they see me as a freak, I know they do, at least I know that’s how it feels..
So when the world saw me different (I felt), I needed to find an outlet.A place to cry, to express, to listen.A place of my own, where I can be.And show the world all of me.A place where others understand my pain, my story..
They say a journey starts with just one step.But sometimes that first step is a mountain covered in snow, impossible to climb!Where walking is more than just keeping your balance.And as you struggle to stay on your feet, a caring hand is just what you need..
That caring hand has come in many forms over the years.Friends, family, the stuttering community.Along with my own desire to be the person I hope for.I hope to live each day with more courage than fear.I hope to speak up, say what I want, and let my stuttering shine..
It took years for me to start to understand my stuttering.And more years still to come.When it comes to my stuttering, do I sometimes still feel anger, frustration, and sadness?You bet.Do I also feel grateful, proud, and even joy?Yes, I do..
A question still looms, even today, “Does the world understand me?”Will the world ever understand my pauses, my repetitions, my breaks in speech, this thing that makes me different?Will the world ever get that I long to share, long to express myself, long to enjoy the act of speaking, even though I’m different?Will the world understand why I cry? Why I rejoice? Why I remain silent? Why I take on the challenges I do? Why I avoid? Why I seek community?.
I’ve found that the world’s understanding starts with me.The more I understand and accept my stuttering, the more the world does the same.The more I talk about stuttering, and observe others, the more I learn about stuttering for myself..The more I step out of my comfort zone and take chances, the more the world opens up for me and the possibilities continue to soar..
As I have grown to learn about stuttering, my support system deserves my praise.My wife and kids love me, stuttering and all. If the people I love the most in the world love me, stuttering and all, then I can love and accept myself, stuttering and all!.
Thank you again! Keep the art going,
Scott and Taro
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