A View of the ‘End’: Thank You Luke

No comments

“When I first started, I wasn’t comfortable at all doing interviews. I’ve kind of gotten to a point where I just don’t care. If I do an interview, and I have a stutter and then I have to see a lot of things online where people say I say ‘then’ and ‘like’ a lot but that’s my safety blanket because I know I can get the words out. I see a lot of people who maybe don’t know I’ve got a stutter only hear ‘then’ and ‘like’ but I just got to a point where I’m doing an interview with someone and they’re there to speak to me and wants to hear what I’ve got to say then why am I scared to do it because I’ve shied away from doing it for so long. But I will still go to a drive through and sit in the driver’s seat because I don’t want to do it because of insecurities. But you see its horrible because I’ve got loads of things I want to say but then I can’t get them out so then I just ramble on and that’s probably why I’m quite loud in the dressing room because I just don’t care and I say what I feel.” 

– Luke Ayling

Every now and again we who stutter are lucky enough to see what the end of a journey to self-acceptance in stuttering looks and sounds like. Last week, the professional footballer Luke Ayling captivated the stuttering world by defining for us what it means to seize a life that may have once been impossible to imagine. Yes, he reached the pinnacle of his profession, which probably was a dream in and of itself, and that could have been enough. But, to me, what is remarkable about his journey is that he didn’t stop there—professional success wasn’t enough

As a person who stutters coming of age, it is nearly impossible to understand what life will be like in the future if we stutter. The possibilities seem limited, and we experience extreme self-doubt about what we can actually do because of how stuttering—will—might impede our journey. But, therein lies the problem. In my own journey, that was exactly what happen—I imagined only what I couldn’t do instead of just doing something, anything there and then to see where it would take me. 

What we cannot see by viewing and listening to Luke’s clip is all of the times he confronted his fears of stuttering in public that got him to this very moment to shine like a star. This is what I overlooked. It was thousands upon thousands of moments where he chose to stutter openly and honestly, where he slowly shed the reactivity that usually comes with caring what other people think about his stutter. Luke’s choices to do so set him up for this monumental moment that not only empowered the worldwide stuttering community, but also stands as a moment that will prevent him from ever going back to the place where he feared openly showing his stutter. 

Remember that each opportunity to stutter and seizing it will lead you to an incredible feeling of joy just like Luke shared with everyone who is touched by stuttering. Keep stepping into your fears like Luke. 

Luke, it was an honor to be empowered by your courage. Thank you for shining the light on what it means to fully accept stuttering. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s