We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.
Hope this finds each one of you healthy, wise and joyous. The weekend at the SHG was in good spirits with Piyush taking the baton of organizing the session. The session took off at 1430 hrs with the crowd set in and moods aligned. The first in the agenda was introduction which went on for a little above an hour with the members sharing something interesting in addition to the primary intro. At 1545 hrs started the Fun Game that Piyush had thought about for the session. The game was about passing on the smiles which involved the members to go about with telling out aloud the numbers but shouting out a smile at the repeated number 7.
At 1620 hrs the Theme of the session ‘Stammering and Relationship’ finally kicked in.
The first one to speak was Akash. He introduced to the class his challenge in handling a relationship in the budding stages, his initial denial about stammer while in the relationship, the toll it took on him, acceptance of his stammer and finally making peace with it. He is quite famous with the ladies and has had a couple of on offs relationships. (Something a matter of pride for a PWS!!!)
Abhinav took the discussion forward when he explained about his experience and the learning he had from his relationship which went on for a steady two years. One such learning was the emotional attachment to your problem (challenge) that your partner would build. He further explained that how challenging it is even to this day for him to talk to his mother about stammering as it would mean provoking a large amount of guilt which most of us somewhere sometime(if not all the time) witness in our parents.
Next, Sairam spoke about the relationship with one’s father. In his case like many of us he too has been a witness to some of the typical attributes an innocent father exhibits- feeling of disappointment towards your rate of improvement, labeling their wards (pws) as irresponsible and not hardworking. Though it does invoke angst and sadness among the PWS but it is an unspoken, untold story in every PWS house.
Thenna showed the picture from a father’s point of view- “why is my son not improving in spite of the support rendered”? Parents feel it’s up to the ward to fight his way out when he has been supported with therapies, counseling etc. While he dealt with these issues, Thenna has observed that at the end of the day all that we did back then was impress our parents, satisfy them that we are improving (becoming fluent speakers like everyone) and winning their approval.
Nayeem talked about the challenges he faced while growing up and how even to this day it’s hard for him to make his close ones understand this aspect of what he is dealing day in and day out.
Sharath highlighted the everyday crazy (seen from a PWS view) advises we get calm down, relax, yes you can, try try etc. This he pointed out is even more frustrating when heard from parents or family. He also talked about how a parent would feel guilty and self punishing when a PWS digs deep about his issue...
Nishil came up with his experience in the budding stages of a potential relationship. He reported that although he was not involved in a serious relationship but how he felt quite intense about this whole issue. He summarized that how his uncertainty played the flair to breakout ultimately. This he concluded with his own example that it was ultimately the non acceptance of his challenge and the unexplained fear about rejection back then which simply stopped him from moving any further.
Navdeep as we know does not have a stammer but she confessed how challenging it was for her to talk in public or address a gathering. She recollected her childhood when her siblings, who are quite elder to her, never took her in their group and if they did they gave her less opportunity to participate. She explains it best how this is connected to her fear of public speaking!
Piyush who was the coordinator didn’t speak much on this issue but very well supported the class in bringing in a consensus every now and then. (Sorry Piyush, this is what I remember you doing)
After being present to all the above sharing, I simply picked one example or I would say paradox which I experience day in and day out. I shared about my experience in attending a defense selection board and twice getting rejected and the funny but stressful issue I have in directing my cab to my home.
At some point I feel my stammering is not a thing that requires strength to beat it but an unexplained riddle. A riddle that simply sits across the bar table and devilishly laughs at my struggle and sips its drink while I try…. well everything.
The whole session as you read was about the challenge of stammering and the day to day relationships which we all experience and feel quite personal about. As a PWS we understand how challenging it’s to understand, maintain and adapt to any relationship.
I would sign off here with this quote which I came across the other day and am sure most of us associate in some way somewhere.
“He was proud and stubborn, and the entire ton looked up to him. Men curried his favor, women flirted like mad. And all the while he'd been terrified every time he'd opened his mouth”.