Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 30 - Self-esteem, stuttering and romance.

Just happened to read this excellent article - Why should disability spell the end of romance?  The writer of the article started losing her vision in her teens, and writes among other things, about dating and romance for "disabled" people, and "nondisabled" people's views on the marriage-worthiness (or rather, the lack of it) of disabled people.

Many, many of her experiences were familiar to me.  Though I'm not "disabled" (I don't like that word!!) I stutter, which was enough for scores of people to decide that I wouldn't have much choice in choosing my partner when it came to marriage (that is, if someone would deign to marry me!)

In school, some classmates would pair me with another classmate who stuttered, saying, "perfect pair!"  and laugh and laugh.  "Come on, you'll be right for each other!" they'd say.

 Several times, in school and college, when it came to light that, say, X had a crush on me, even if X was not a very palatable character, some would urge me to "consider."  Would these well-wishers of mine have "considered" X for themselves?  Not in a million years!  But I?  I should consider him, because, you see, I had trouble getting my words out, and so I was less-than-worthy, and I would have to settle!

But all these comments didn't affect me.  On the contrary, I just looked at these people with a kind of exasperation mixed with sympathy.  But what was it that made me so confident about my worthiness?

For one, neither my family, nor my close friends ever made me feel I was different, let alone less-worthy.  It also helped that I was good at a lot of things, and this little matter of the stutter, though it gave me heartache at times, didn't really come in the way of my appreciation of myself.   Besides, during my teens, at the time when this self-esteem thing is so fragile, I actually had a little fan-following of my own, and many of the guys in this group were excellent, "eligible" fellows, some of them even quite "sought-after" by other girls.  [And I wasn't even "good-looking," if you are inclined to think that these boys were bowled over by my looks.]  As a result, very early on, I became aware that the fact that I stuttered didn't really matter to those who mattered.  And I went ahead with my life, and when I found S, neither did he "settle," nor did I!

But not everybody is as fortunate as I am, in terms of the people in my life, and in terms of how my life shaped out.  There are people struggling with their image and self-esteem, and it just doesn't help that "non-disabled" people are so inconsiderate in their comments.  The article I linked to speaks of several such incidents, and deals with a number of topics.  It is worth a read, and eye-opening on many levels.

P.S. Forgive me for all the phrases in quotes.  It is just that I don't like those phrases, but they are so appropriate for what I wanted to say!

13 comments:

Madhu said...

You go girl!! And an excellent read!

Ajitha Desai said...

Wow shruthi, lot more people should read this, not just who are different, but normal ones too who have less self esteem just because they are dark skinned, born in so ans so family/community, academic failure etc etc... Am going to post this on my wall.

praneshachar said...

hats off and yes this is to read by more people to boost their self esteem. people in society are very cruel not all of them. They take any small opportunity to make some one -un-comfortable and they may derive short term happiness in that. But if the other person is weak it may affect them and they may go down. People should realise if u can not do good to someone atleast dont do bad. As far as I know many who are otherwise have some small problem have got lot of grit and committment and they are always aware what is life and how people look at. As you wrote shruthi family and friends make a lot of difference if they help no one can stop as it was in your case. kudos to your and yes we must never look down any person for any reason on the other hand we can boost their confidence and self esteem by doing small things loved reading and hats off to you again

Maya said...

I am a silent reader of your blog and stories. This post touched a chord. I just wish to say, Thank you for writing this, Shruthi.

Mangala said...

You're nothing less than beautiful, and not just inside - your eyes and hair and something about the slim suppleness of you is very appealing. It's impossible to divide the inner and outer anyway...you just stream out as the youness of you, and if I had been a guy back in your college I think I'd have been a part of your "fan following" ;) hehe

You and S are both lovely folk and both fortunate to have found each other.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I too am a silent reader - and i wished to thank you too. Have read your stories - short and very nice.
Keep writing. Thanks.
-- Venkatesh.

nowise novice said...

I have always been your admirer and told my friends how stuttering did nothing to her self esteem... This has also helped me guide my students....

nowise novice said...

Read 'nothing to your '

Manish'sMom said...

Ever wondered why I love and admire you? This article is the very reason!I have said this before; I will say it again- That Booker or Pulitzer prize is just a few more years away :-)
Stutter be damned!

Manish'sMom said...

And also Shruthi, It somehow really complements you. Do you understand what I am saying? Its what I would call adding a "Shruthi-ness" to you. I would probably find you too perfect without that stutter.I feel the stutter adds a beautiful extra dimension to your multi faceted personality.

JayEnAar said...

Beautifully written - like author like blog.

A stammer is no small handicap in a society that values conformity. Only those who have experienced it know what it does. Only those who overcome the discrimination know what they have achieved. And those who discriminate on the basis of a stutter will never know the talent their prejudice has blinded them to.

vats said...

Amazing mam! That's a very interesting piece you've written with Valentine's Day just round the corner.It is a time to celebrate love and one's ability/ disability should not impede one's chance to fall in love. I have written an article of kind of similar lines. In case someone wishes to read the link is http://www.gozocabs.com/blog/.
Appreciate the thought again!

b.sanjiv rao said...

I ran into this blog chasing my favourite personality, Sai Paranjpye...such a refreshing experience to be here...familiar Bangalore vistas, right down to the stutter! It was quite bad and would not allow me to commu-nicate, till I was 20, returns when I'm before any sort of authority...though I am one myself, 59 and father of two big sons, doted husband and father-in-law...I'm a regular reader now..thank you!

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