{Sponsor: Life Story and Me blog} Antony Chacko's project me story

14 April 2011
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Hi everyone, today I am here to tell you my ?Project Me? story, thanks to my wonderful friend Jodene. She has always been an inspiration to me; I consider this as a great honour to be a part of this wonderful project.

I was in my 5th grade then; ?suddenly I had difficulty? in speaking, I have no memory of how I developed this but all I know is that one day I suddenly stammered when one my of my teacher asked me a question and the whole class started laughing at me. There begins the darkest story of my life. My confidence levels dropped to an all time low and forget about my self esteem. I started cursing myself for being incapable to speak properly. Everybody started making fun of me, friends, relatives?everyone. I made myself to believe that I can never ever talk properly and I was someone born to be laughed upon. My loved ones were actually angry on me, they had no clue how I developed this habit of stammering, I had no clue either. Nobody in my family knew how to go about with it; they just thought I will be alright with time.

As far as studies were concerned I was a bright kid, except for my scary memories of answering to those questions in class and being laughed over by the audience. I never participated in any extra-curricular activities in school that required me to speak. I remained to be an active participant in activities which required only non-verbal communications. This speaking difficulty of mine made me to be a reserved kid; I hesitated to socialize with people, fearing that people will bully me if I talk to them. I had very few friends who chose to make me as their buddy, I was lucky to find such friends among others who chose to neglect me. Years passed by, I was in college, and there was no dearth of people who continued to bully me all along. I used to cry in my room with doors closed asking God, why he made me like this. Believe me, the pain of self pity is the worst ever.

I finished graduation and it was time for me to find a job. Who will give me a job if I am not able to speak properly in the interview? Those days competition was very high and my self esteem lower than North Pole?s temperature.? I had to make a decision, a decision to break the shackles and come out. It was a do or die situation for me. My financial support to the family was essential. ?I met a speech therapist; the consultation went on for an hour. At the end of the session something incredible happened. The doctor slapped me! And said ?Damn it, you are perfectly alright, erase the fear and you will be as normal as any other person?. She gave me a lot of exercises to overcome stammering, but more than anything she said, ?It?s your confidence that will make you speak ? go find it!?

Stuttering or stammering happens when there is lack of coordination between the mind and the vocal muscles. It happens during the process of speech when the thoughts are not expressed as words as the vocal muscles don?t oblige to co-operate. Everybody stammers under pressure, even you would have stammered at least once in life. But the difference is that, people who stammer regularly are victim of low self esteem and constantly fear of being bullied by others if they speak.

Somewhere deep down in my heart I firmly believe that some incidents of my childhood are the strong reason for my lack of confidence. 24 years ago my journey of life began, born in a small family; I was the youngest kid. My childhood was awesome, like many others I was also among the gifted few to be loved over and over. Being the youngest kid in the family is not easy; I don?t know if the older ones reading this post will agree or not, but let me tell you something and I repeat - being the youngest kid is not that easy. I was over protected, always kept under strict supervision of love. A lot was expected of me to fall in line. Too much of love may also play spoil sport at times.

The youngest kid is mostly discouraged to do things, the common excuse being ?you are very young to do this?. When my brothers were of my age they were fed with encouragement. The elder ones are naturally made ready to take up responsibilities early in life, which in my view is a blessing. As a younger kid I grew up in fear for anything and everything, my mind was tamed to be dependent on the elders. Believe me, it?s not a good feeling to be dependent and fearing each step in your life. I started doubting myself in anything and everything I did. I didn?t know how to overcome fear, I was helpless.

I practiced the speech therapy exercises day and night, I did all that was possible from my end and the results were amazing. The decision was made to find the lost confidence. This time I was on my own. I started exploring the world, met people, and started speaking to as many as possible, no matter who ever laughed at me I kept going. People will laugh but it?s your perception that matters. I believed fear can be tamed only by facing it and not by running away from it. I got a job, changed jobs and the journey continued. I was improving day by day. All these days I never believed that I can face fear, today I live to face fear head on. One point in time I became a teacher, I started giving lectures to students. I also made an alternate career decision to be a soft skills trainer. The days when I was hesitant to talk to my best buddies were gone; today I never miss an opportunity to make myself heard. I shout the hell out of myself on my blog (Life Story and Me), facebook and twitter.

Stammering was just one symptom of what I went through from inside. Whenever someone stammers the people around laugh, make fun, but this is not the way it should be. I hope you would have seen or at least heard about the recent Oscar blockbuster ? The King?s Speech. When I watched the movie, tears dripped down my cheeks, I was living every moment of the movie picturing myself right in there. Nobody stammers willfully and nobody wants it ever to happen.

There were two important life lessons that I have learnt till date. One, the days when I stammered I learned to listen to people, I had no other options then, but believe me listening is one of the best traits of communication. I understood the pain of people who want to be heard.? Second, I started to believe in myself, self help is the best help ? the moment you doubt your capabilities fear will overpower you. Today it?s a new ?Me? I believe that I can chase my dreams, it doesn?t matter what the world thinks about me, what really matters is what I think about myself.

Know yourself and you will win all battles - Sun Tzu

Sponsors information: Life Story and Me blog

On a personal note it is an honour for me to introduce you to a very loyal friend who I met through the blogging world. Anto is one of the most passionate souls I have have met in the longest time and his stories of India, his love for marketing and social networking and his eternal journey though life has been a great joy to read.

Thank you for your love and support always my dear friend and my desire for you is that your dreams are fulfilled more with each passing day. Bless you!

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