Today, I will stand before an audience of over 100 people and deliver the best man speech at my brother’s wedding.
Let this reality sink, and realize before it happens that it will be an earthquake moment in my life. A moment that, for many, many years, I have feared and thought impossible.
But, one that I cannot and will not avoid.
I am not the same person that I was growing up when I used to get lost in wonder of how I would ever make it through this momentous moment. The fears don’t hit the same way that they did back then because I’ve put myself through similar high-feared public stuttering situations and have proved that I am more than capable.
Yet, I’m feeling the fear that I know is natural. The fear is no longer will I do it, nor really about whether I will stutter and struggle a bit, because that is a certainty.
It is whether or not I’ll be able to stay present to process what I want to say, with the emotions, humor, and punchlines, without my stuttering lens taking over to protect me from the stress of the moment.
I’ve failed before in a similar situation—at my own wedding—to convey what I so desperately want my loved ones to know. But, what I know equally as well, is what comes with these moments in which I try and let them go as they will go.
Will I be nervous? Yes.
Will I have to fight to stay present? Yes.
Will I stutter? 100%.
Will some people react or think negatively? It’s certainly possible.
Will I hit the punchlines? Probably not.
These are doubts that people who don’t stutter experience, and, often, even say, “I’m not good at public speaking but here I go…”
So, what am I really thinking and how do I really feel about the speech?
I’ve long visualized myself getting up in front of everyone, holding the mic, and just fucking going for it. My delivery, presence, and stuttering—free flowing and proud, that is—are on point as I’m able to walk around and hold my thoughts together as they flow out of my mouth. I pause for laughter and engage with the audience. In doing so, I convey to my brother how much he means to me and welcome his bride to our family.
Will it go this way? Maybe…
Will I be thinking of the past? No.
Will anything else matter than I gave it my all? No.
Will my brother and his wife appreciate it? 100%.
Will it be another moment that will change my life? Yes!
Then, let’s raise our glasses to seizing the moment and letting everyone see that person I know is on the inside, facing his fears and making the most of the opportunity!