So, something pretty cool happened at work this week.
It was a regular day at People Mag: writing articles, laughing with my coworkers, meeting deadlines. Regular.
I needed to make a few phone calls for a story I was working on so I jotted down some notes, grabbed my recorder and notepad and headed to The Breastfeeding Room.
I made the calls— stuttering through them,— got the information I needed and began heading back to my desk. That’s when I realized that something was different. Something was missing.
There was no anxiety, there was no hesitation, no wracking my brain wondering if someone would be rude to me when I stuttered on the phone or hang up on me.
None of the negative emotions that plagued me in my first few months at People Mag (and several years of my life) were present anymore.
I’m not sure why I noticed the change on that particular day, and I’m not sure when the change had occurred. I simply didn’t notice it.
Back in elementary school, I remember my teacher sending my classmates and me home with a styrofoam cup filled partly with dirt and a little green stem and nub poking out of the soil— we were supposed to care for the plant, help it grow.
However, little 7-year-old me had no interest in caring for the little plant. Despite my mother’s direction, I failed to water it and I left it on the kitchen counter— away from sunlight— for weeks. Needless to say, it shriveled up and died.
I think a lot of things in life are like little plants. If you don’t feed them, they will die. And if you do feed and nurture them, they will grow and flourish.
I’d like to say that I stopped feeding my insecurities regarding my stutter. Going in to my position at the magazine, I’d resolved to not let my stutter hinder me or control me in anyway.
Practicing that was hard. But now, months later, they’re shriveling up and dying-- much like my poor little plant (may she rest in peace).
There have been plenty of times I had to encourage myself and talk myself out of feeling ashamed after having a really bad block in front of my coworkers.
And, if I’m being unashamedly honest, there have been plenty of times when I’ve taken to the office bathroom to cry.
I shutter to think of where I would be if I gave in to those feelings of defeat, shame, guilt and not being good enough. I know I’d be in a pretty bad place if I fed those negative emotions.
But I’ve learned that practicing pays off. Encouraging pays off. And denying my emotions the right to control me— refusing to feed into them— has paid off.
What you feed into will grow. Whether it be negative thoughts, emotions and patterns, or positive practices, habits and ideas.
I’m working on feeding the good things in my life these days.
I’m watering the truth that my stutter does not define or control me and I’m giving sunlight to the fact that I can do and be anything I want to despite my speech impediment.
So what are you feeding nowadays?