Make Room For The Stuttering

Open Mic Experience

Posted on: August 1, 2011

Last week, I did something that I have been wanting to do for a long time – speak at a local Open Mic. I have largely moved past my fears of speaking and presenting, through both Toastmasters and making presentations at stuttering conferences and workshops.

I do a lot of writing, prose and poetry, and have wanted to have my voice heard in a more creative, artistic manner for quite some time.

I searched around and found a listing of places in Albany, NY that host Open Mic sessions. A Toastmaster friend that also does stand-up comedy suggested one place in particular, so I decided to give that a shot.

Last Monday night, I signed up and “performed” in front of about 25 people. Most of the other performers before me had played musical instruments or sang, so I felt a little out-of-place with my spoken word pieces, but thing is, I DID IT. I planned to read one poem I wrote about two years ago, and then decided at the last-minute to write-up a second shorter piece that would “advertise” my stuttering a bit.

That proved to be a good decision. I read Forgive and Move On first, then paused, introduced myself by name and as a person who stutters, and then read my second piece.

What a great feeling! As I was sharing, you could have heard a pin drop. My voice was loud and clear over the mic up on stage, and everybody was watching and listening. As I walked back to my seat, one woman said, “that was beautiful”, and several guys came up to me and said what I did was wonderful and took a lot of courage. Another guy turned around and said to me, “it has been a while since I heard really great poetry.”

I was so happy I did this – I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone. I was even OK with getting a little choked up at the end. It wasn’t a “bad” choked up – I was just so happy that I did it that I felt a bit emotionally overwhelmed. I am thinking I may try it again.

I have a voice that needs to be heard!

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