My Fight

Hi, my name is Daniella, and I am 13 years old. I am in 8th grade and have been stuttering since 5th grade.

Picture this: that really annoying kid who would raise her hand every time the teacher asked a question. You know the one; the little know-it-all who can be super annoying sometimes, that was me. I was the one who loved to act, sing, perform and, quite frankly, hear myself talk. I participated in my local theater productions, talent shows, enjoyed oral presentations, the list goes on. I had so much to say and contribute. And all of a sudden, my world became silent.

The first half of my poem, “My Fight,” is basically what my life was like when I wrote the poem. I felt scared; I felt alone. I felt like I couldn’t admit my stutter to anyone. I couldn’t admit that I didn’t like something about myself; that I wasn’t the perfect person everyone believed me to be. I needed a self-awakening; something to open my eyes to a very real part of my life. And then, like an angel delivering a message sent from heaven, my Language Arts teacher gave my class an assignment to write a poem about a part of you that no one knows about. That spark led to a fire, and here I am now writing to you, maybe creating a spark in you.

This was the first time I had ever written about my stutter. The first time I had put this part of my life down on paper. The writing process was exhilarating, it felt so good to finally open up, even if only to a piece of blank paper. The words easily flowed from my mind through my pencil and into the poem. The relief of finally talking about my stutter was overwhelming. I broke down in tears. I used to hate my stutter but when I got to the climax in the poem I hoped that I could replicate that turning point in my actual life. But the transformation was easier said than done, and that’s where AIS came into my life.

One of the best things my mom has ever done, except for, you know giving me life, was search, “best teen intensive for children who stutter.” In this moment, my life was altered. So, sure enough, some time later, I headed off to the city. There, I would later learn that this wasn’t just a camp for not stuttering, but rather accepting it as a part of me, something to be proud of, something that made me special. The AIS philosophy was so different from anything I had ever heard. Actually, stuttering with confidence was something that never even crossed my mind. Before AIS, I chose hiding in a bubble instead of showing a side of me that no one else knew about. And, while I’m still working on it, AIS brought me that much closer to winning My Fight.

My Fight

Who am I
Who here knows
If I hide in the depths
Of sulking shadows
Who am I
Who will ever care
If I let the monsters of deep
Keep giving me a scare
Who will ever know me
Who will even try
If all I do is hide
What will I decide
When my time comes to fight
To fight
To fight
To fight
Will it come tomorrow?
Will it come tonight?
When will I muster up the courage
To do what’s right
When will I be able
To take off the labels
That haunt me every night
That make every day a fright
That tire me relentlessly
That hold me back
That suppress my fight
My fight
My fight
My fight
My efforts to see the light
My struggle to end the night
My growing desire
To light a fire
To make it burn oh so bright
No one can put out my fire
No one can stop my storm
My power will rage and flame
Each dusk and every morn
No fear, fake friend or foe can hold me down
No one can steal my glorious crown
For I am the queen of myself
The ruler of my mind
The strength of a thousand chains and ropes
Could never bind my hopes
No bully can take this away from me
No matter how hard they try
Each falsehood, deceit and lie
Can’t damage my pride
Or cause me to cry
For someone can try to build a roof
But they can never erase the sky
So who am I?
I am someone to watch for
Someone who will never give up
My hard work and determination
Trumps anyone’s good luck
I will put my blood, sweat and tears
So that in my future years
I will speak with a voice
So strong and steady
That you won’t believe your ears

The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.


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