I read somewhere that our greatest weaknesses are our strengths. Think about it, it is only when you overplay your strengths that you slip up. Congruently, our greatest strengths can arise from a weakness. It’s a little hard to wrap your head around, but if you look deep into your issues, it’s the shortcomings that cause most of the strengths. Personally, I’m not quite a fan of long ‘motivational and inspirational’ rants about loving oneself, accepting your weaknesses, yadda yadda yadda, so the whole “blessings in disguise” theory never appealed to me. It so happened that I just got bored with life and started thinking about random things. (You know what I mean, I’m sure everyone has deep thoughts in the shower; or contemplates the meaning of life while trying to fall asleep. Most people do at least)
So I considered the things I pride myself in, and why I do so. After hours of (distracted) thought, I came to my language skills. I read a lot as a child, and continue to read anything I can get my hands on even now, be it newspaper clippings or the backs of cereal boxes, I just devour words. It’s only natural that I pick up some vocabulary and have some command over expression through words. However, many people read a lot. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are good with words, or express themselves well around other people. A lot of people who are amazingly eloquent aren’t avid readers. I’ve been recognized for my abilities time and again, so where exactly did the abilities even come from? How do other people even know that I have a a way with words? The answer? I frequently use these skills around other people.
I’m relatively simple with the written word, I write to express, not impress my readers with big flowery words. A glance at an essay of mine probably wouldn’t even exhibit a wide knowledge of words. Basically, it’s spoken word that I’m judged upon. More introspection revealed that I don’t have a choice. I need to use a variety of words while expressing myself verbally, or I could never truly be understood.
Speech impairments are among the most frustrating things that someone can get stuck with. Mine? A stammer, which, ironically, developed because in my hurry to express, to share what’s on my mind, I garble my words and effectively mess them up. Of course, there are other reasons too, but this was where it all started. I genuinely don’t have any option other than knowing a plethora of words. When you’re trying to say ‘spider’ and your tongue catches on the ‘sp-‘ sound, you know that this is it. You can either use another word, or hopelessly stutter, repeating the ‘sp-‘ again and again until your mouth is ready to form the next syllable, which can take an unpleasant amount of time, for both the speaker and the listener. I did the unpleasant time for around six years, hoping that, with practice, I could get rid of the stammer. As with most things that one wants really badly, the attempt failed. It took time to develop the speed thinking, but now, six years later, I can change my sentence the minute I sense hesitation.
Maybe saying “KILL THAT ARACHNID” instead of “KILL THAT SPIDER” sounds unbelievably odd, but hey, it got the point across, and quickly too. I’ve been forced to develop a wider vocabulary and quicker thinking by my own mouth. Is this what a blessing in disguise is? I still don’t think so. Knowing more words is definitely a killer ability to have, but it doesn’t completely negate the stutter, or the psychological effects it had on me while growing up. I think the best way to see it is as an unexpected positive spin on something frustratingly negative. I’m sure that if I really think about it, I’ll have a lot more positive spins. It’s like that pixar movie, ‘Inside out’ that describes our thoughts about our experiences as highly mixed feelings. It’s in the ‘bleh’s and ‘meh’s that we’re all guilty of using when we can’t exactly pinpoint what we feel about something. My positive spins are weird and messed up, but they’re positive all the same, and they’re essentially what made me what I am.
Thanks for reading/skimming, and hopefully you will be incredibly inspired to put positive spins on everything. Hopefully.
*The ‘KILL THAT ARACHNID” example? I’ve actually said that before. It ended with a little too much giggling and the escape of the offensive arachnid in question. I haven’t seen that ugly spider since.