Nobody's Perfect This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   There I was, standing on stage before two hundred people, dressed up as George Washington. I had the lead in the sixth grade play, and for the past two months, I had paced back and forth in my room struggling to say my lines. Now it was time to perform, my stomach fluttering rapidly and my head swaying in circles. At my cue, I began to speak smoothly and clearly, but then it happened. I stuttered. I knew I would, and I did. From that moment on, I vowed to myself that my role in the play would be my first and my last.

My speech impediment was one of my "gifts" that came into the world with me. It affected everything. As a child, I battled just to get a full sentence out, repeatedly listening to the badgering of my parents. "Take a deep breath and think about what you're going to say." Despite the ridicule I suffered in elementary school, I refused to take speech therapy. I was too embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I had a defect.

As my school career progresses, the hindrance lessens, but it never disappeared. It held me back from succeeding in various high school opportunities. After realizing that class officers had to speak in front of the entire student body, I ruled out running in class elections. I have danced for 11 years and hoped to offer my talent in the school musicals, but declined from trying out for fear of speaking at auditions. I dread going to college interviews, meeting new people, reading aloud in class, and just waking up in the morning knowing that there may be an episode during the day that will challenge my voice. Many times I sit in my room and cry, imagining what it would be like to be normal, like everyone else.

Finally, I came to my senses. I read articles about famous people including Carly Simon, Bo Jackson, and James Earl Jones, who overcame their speech impediments. I realized I was letting it control my life, who I am, and most importantly, who I will become. I faced the fact that I do have a defect that will always be with me, and there are ways to get around it. It's made me a stronger person, and with time, I know I'll gain the confidence to stand up and prove to myself that it will never hold me back. Most of all, I know that I'm not the only one who suffers, because nobody's perfect. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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