My name is Mounah Bizri. I am French Lebanese. I have stuttered since I started to talk. My stutter was very severe when I entered university, I could barely say 2 words in a row. As many of us, I was subject to bullying and many people did not believe in my abilities. Those experiences developed my fighting spirit. I managed to reach my goals and I want to continue to show that with a stutter, we can do anything we want.
Through the years, I learned that stuttering is part of me and without it, I would not be who I am. I believe that despite all the struggle, my stuttering brought me a lot of positive. Now, I am acting in France to help people who stutter to live their stutter positively with the Association Parole Bégaiement. Indeed, we created in 2019, the eloquence of stuttering, a 6-week speaking competition for people who stutter.
My relationship with my stutter is quite complicated, a bit like a teenage couple (sorry for the teenagers reading). A lot of passion, with ups and downs, some tears, but in the end, true love appears. I first considered stuttering like it was the “WTTEHTM” (worst thing that ever happened to me). When I was 18, saying two words without blocking was a great victory. Every time I talked, I felt tired, with some pressure on my throat as I was pushing every time I talked and blocked. I will skip the part about all the bullying; we know it all too well.
My lack of social life had an advantage, I focused on my studying and entered into a great college in France. I forgot one detail, however. I had 3 oral exams per week. The first one went so poorly that the teacher asked me to stop after 6 minutes (vs. 20 minutes), because she could not understand.
I was facing a wall. Will I let that awful stuttering of mine ruin my life. Hell, no!! I REFUSE to allow stuttering to determine my own life, I will fight to reach my dream. Here started the long journey of acceptance or what I like to call “Mounah vs comfort zone”. I passed my two years of college (in France we have two years of prep school then business school) and went to business school. I started to try all the challenges linked to my speech (speech contest, event organizer of the Erasmus committee, on campus sales for Bloomberg, president of the finance association).
Thanks to those experiences, and my two speech therapists (Dominique and Ourdia), I stuttered less. I also realized where my focus was. I was fighting my stutter, I was fighting myself, whereas I just needed to accept my stutter and the way that I am. This a journey that I am still on today. Now, I am more at peace with myself, even if sometimes I stutter more than usual. I want to be happy as I am and live my dream.
Two years ago, I started the craziest project of my life: a public speaking training and contest for people who stutter. My role, beyond the administrative aspects, was to allow people who stutter to show who they really are, lead them towards acceptance and encourage them to pursue their dreams. The most beautiful thing about that adventure is that it allowed me to accept myself more and more.
Today, I believe that my stuttering has allowed me to be a hard-working, courageous, passionate and persevering young man. Now, I want to live my life as I am, with my stutter, which I call my little “stutty.”
There is one more thing. I would not be there if I gave up. Most of my life people did not believe in me because I stutter and I was a weirdo. At every stage of my life, I have heard the same thing : “Mounah, you are too ambitious for a guy who stutters”. What makes me alive everyday is that I look at the sky, and tell myself I go there. I take every failure as the next step to success. I am obsessed with personal development and feedback. My resilience is my ally. My resilience was made by my stutter.
MY STUTTER IS MY ALLY.
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