Just Do It!!!

Anyone who knows me well will probably tell you that speaking has never really been my strongest virtue.Since i was around 7 years,i have had this nasty speech impediment which i talked about on my You Do Not Exist post and although it got better as the years went by,it had always made me refrain from doing and pursuing some things because i was so self conscious about what people would think about me and this impediment.

Because of this fear and self consciousness,speaking,especially public speaking,has always been one of my biggest fears if not my biggest phobia. Back in junior school,i was part of this poetry and creative writing club which i honestly joined to impress some girl i liked ( My First Blog ).  We would normally convene in the library after lunch and exchange ideas about our writings etc. We would sit around a table and recite our works then critique and comment where necessary. During the sessions, i would gladly recite my work without any fear because i was around my friends and was comfortable. One day,our overseer told us that as part of the school's Clubs Day,we had to showcase  our works at the school's hall. The moment she mentioned "hall", my heart skipped a beat because i knew damn well that i could not stand in-front of mean and hormone ravaged teenagers and recite an entire poem without stuttering profusely along the way so i knew i had to find a way out of that predicament i found myself in.

So the day prior to the Clubs Day festivities, i went to the overseer's office and gave her probably the dumbest excuse that i have ever given in my life. I told her that i could not perform the next day because i was going to down with the flu (yup,my 13 year old self thought i could convince an adult that i could look into the future and see myself down with flu the next day). The lady laughed and told me that "Ephraim,i know why you don't want to get on that stage tomorrow and its ok,i understand.But instead of missing all the fun tomorrow,how about instead of reciting,you just introduce the other guys on stage?" and i agreed because it seemed like a fair compromise then. What could be so difficult about holding a mic,making introductions and going back to my seat,right?

Clubs Day came and i was all confident,ready and confident that i was going to do an impeccable job. The moment i entered that hall and heard all the ruckus in there,i instantly new i had bitten off more than i could chew,but it was too late to turn back. I had already entered the dungeon and had no choice but to face the lion head on. The festivities commenced and the different club came and went off stage and i was backstage,sweating needles and wishing the apocalypse could hit already. Our time to get onstage came and i was given the mic to introduce our club. The funny thing about stuttering is that,the words are right there at the back of your mouth but when its time for them to diffuse to the rest of the world,its like something just completely shuts them off,its so intriguing. So there i was,13 year old me,unable to simply utter the words "and next on stage,the poetry and creative writing club". After what seemed like an infinity and a lot of pauses on my part and a lot more laughs and jeers from the unforgiving audience,i was finally able to introduce the club and i couldn't run out of that stage faster.

From then on,not only did i not want to ever do public speaking again,i did not want to ever engage in conversation with anyone ever again. I could write an entire book about my adventures in Stutter Land throughout the years but that right there was the moment that had an impact on the person i became afterwards.When you a teenager,you tend to think the world starts and ends at adolescence so at that moment,i thought my life was over.  After that day,i stopped attending club meetings and started building this cocoon i stayed in until maybe a year back when i decided to embark on this spiritual journey to rediscover myself.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, i received news that i had won the World Bank #Blog4Dev  competition and had to do a press run which an included an interview at a local radio station. Although i was not really nervous of doing the interview because i have managed to break out the aforementioned cocoon i migrated into during my teens,the moment i sat down and saw that mic,flashes of that laughing and jeering crowd suddenly came raining. I was wondering,"shit,the whole country is listening to me right now,what if i embarrass myself again?If a hall of a few hundred teenagers can fuck up my psyche for years,would i survive the entire country?".After the presenter introduced me to the listeners,it was my time to do the same. You know that scene on The King's Speech where Colin Firth's character had to finally give the speech to his people during WWII?yup,that was me at that moment. I shut all those negative thoughts out and concentrated on that moment and after i introduced myself,i suddenly realized that i have just done something that i never ever thought i would do in my entire life and that moment right there was life changing.

We all have our own fears,those lingering thoughts at the back of our minds that keep telling us that "you can't do this". Although fears are part of human nature,they really do not have to be. You don't have to miss out on doing and achieving things because of something that does not exist like fear. Fear is only an inversion of faith,something that fills up the space when courage is absent. It is just a parasitic vice which feeds off our inability to believe in ourselves and like a parasite,it won't flourish if do not give it the environment to. So to anyone who may be having a speech impediment,just because you repeat a few sounds when you speak does not mean that you cannot take over the world.GO OUT THERE AND LIKE NIKE, JUST DO IT!!


  1. Sounds so much like my life. I am currently teaching and you can imagine how much talking I have to do on a daily basis. Essentially, just like you I did realise that a stummer should never stop me from achieving what I want. Quite a good read


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