Speak Your Mind – Vikesh Anand

About the Author: Vvvikesh here, no I didn’t forget my name, I just have a stutter. For more than half my life I never spoke about my stuttering with anyone and I think it was fear of being judged but also guilt. I felt guilty that I was speaking the wrong way and fluency was the right way. Over time I learned it’s just the way I’m wired and stuttering is not right or wrong, it’s just different and I’m just part of the 1% of people who stutter.

Vikesh is a person who stutters who shares his own experiences of not always speaking his mind and now saying what he wants to say when he wants to say it.

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Comments

Speak Your Mind – Vikesh Anand — 20 Comments

  1. I like the part where you say getting funny looks is an opportunity for us to educate and spread awareness — an excellent way to turn a negative experience around!

    • Thanks Daniele. Yes I used to always get annoyed at funny looks until I realised the person has probably never met the 1% of people who stutter.

  2. You’re making a difference my friend. For those who don’t know Vikesh, the most passionate advocate of self-acceptance I have had the good fortune to meet.

  3. Great to view your video Vikesh and nice simple message. Great to see two McGuire Illuminati like you and Rob W in action, out loud and proud.

  4. Amazing! Am a person with stutter… btw i have a video and if you have time, do have a look.
    Instagram @zahidnoor2

  5. I thought your video had a great message for all. Just wondering, when you did take advantage of opportunities to educate people, what were their responses? Did it help you in any way?

    • Thank you. I hve education to help both myself and the listener. It’s helped me in that I don’t try to hide my stutter, which I have done for most of my life. It also helps the listerner in that it helps explain to them what’s happening, for example, in the moment of a block, especially if they’ve never met anyone who has a stutter. Most people either respond with an apology for not knowing that I stutter or that they know someone else (family or friend) who has a stutter. Sometimes this leads to even longer and deeper discussions.

  6. Hi Vikesh,
    What a wonderful piece. As a graduate student in speech-language pathology, I know how important it is to be able to say what you want to say, when you want to say it, and to whom you want to say it to. You mentioned that you did not always speak up in various situations. In graduate school we are learning the importance of incorporating counseling (acceptance, thoughts, and feelings) with speech therapy for PWS. Was there a specific professional/person who changed your perspective on stuttering and encouraged you to speak your mind?

    • Thanks for your thoughts and questions. I think a key moment in my life was watching David Seidler, Screenwriter for the Kings Speech, as a keynote speaker at a National Stuttering Association conference in the USA in 2011. The movie brought stuttering into the mainstream and provided me an opening and opportunity to begin to speak about my stutter at work, one area I had not yet explored at the time. I remember moving to Australia from Canada at the end of 2012 and the moving company person in Toronto asked if I had forgotten my name. At that time I still avoided the topic and pretended I was tired. Since then I finally began to realise that the person I’m talking to probably has never met anyone who stutters, noting that should not be an excuse for rudeness. Taking the listener’s perspective into account, however, has allowed me to not be angry at the comments but instead provide me an opportunity to educate them. The more I did this, the less I cared what people thought which has made me who I am today, just a person who may or may not stutter on the next word. Thanks

  7. Yes, you’re so right. We have the right to speak our minds. We have something to say. Stuttering is nothing wrong. And the only person who should decide whether to do something about it or not, should be you! So why do we feel we need hide it?

    Instead the more we talk about it ourselves, the more we can fight misconceptions and at the same time fight the voiced in our heads. And we also help those who still are hiding and still think they are the only one (as I thought until I was 27, while I now am am an international spokesperson).

    Great video with great message. So happy you got this far and now paying it forward. Happy ISAD and keep talking!

    • Thanks Anita and yes, who said stuttering was the “wrong” way to speak and “fluency” was the right way. We each make our own paths in life, and this happens to be one of the characteristics of us. I was 28 when I met other people who stutter so I can relate to hiding it for a (slightly longer) time. 🙂

  8. Ah, I really enjoyed this. You have a nice, easy way about your speaking. You’re very comfortable while you speak and that in turn makes it quite comfortable to listen to you.
    Stuttering is so complex and it really does take us, those who stutter, to summon the courage and just speak, so that we are educating others in those moments and at the same time, as you note, empowering ourselves.

    I remember you from my very first NSA conference in 2006 in Long Beach, CA. I was a wreck, so raw and emotional and really feeling overwhelmed with my decision to have traveled alone from NY to CA for something I really did not have a good grasp of.

    You were leading the First Timers session and I remember sitting there, wanting so badly to have the courage to speak up. I raised my hand several times when you called for volunteers for Open Mic. I remember feeling so disappointed that I didn’t get called on but pleased with myself that I had indeed at least raised my hand. That was a big deal for me. There were a lot of people there and you couldn’t get to everyone. I’m not sure we’ve ever actually officially met. Congratulations on how far you’ve come on your journey.

    Pam

    • Thanks Pam. The Long Beach 2006 conference was only my 2nd conference and sorry I didn’t call on you! From what I recall, there were always too many hands up at any open mic session, which just shows the power these conferences can have on people which lets people feel so comfortable to raise their hand in front of strangers. Funny enough I agree that I don’t think we’ve officially met as well, ha. I hope to be at another NSA conference soon!

  9. Vikesh,

    I enjoyed watching your video. You talked about how you have changed your goals and evolved throughout your life. in my opinion, you are right on. I think it is the key to success. Recognizing what one can do at this moment helps one make changes that will be successful. Having the flexibility to change direction keeps the momentum flowing.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I appreciate you putting yourself out there to help increase understanding of this disorder.

    Heather

    • Thanks for watching and your thoughts Heather. I know it’s not always easy for people to adjust their goals in life. When I originally left my home state when I grew up and my comfort zone, friends asked me what if the new place I’m moving to doesn’t work out. I said the same plane that brings me there can bring me back.

  10. Vikesh, you highlighted a great point. Using opportunities to educate the listener is an outlet to spread advocacy and awareness. Many times one may be the first person the listener has spoken to who stutters. Depending on the level of exposure, reactions may be positive or negative. In what ways would you suggest educating the listener to spread awareness?

    • Thanks and yes it took me a long time to try to understand the listeners perspective in the conversation. We are only 1% and it took me 28 years to meet someone else who stutters, and that was because I was seeking out support.

      In terms of educating the listener, we can start by keeping it simple. Hi my name is Vvvikesh. No I don’t have 3 Vs in my name, I just have a stutter. This could lead to a longer discussion about stuttering if the listener is interested or may even know someone else who stutters. Or they may just acknowledge your statement and then keep talking. At least you’ve educated them a little bit and they won’t have a funny look if you ssstutter on another word.