• Ayo Adesanya


Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Original Article: Kings Speakers - Toastmasters


The long drive on this hazardous and pothole laid road to self-acceptance has been a difficult one to navigate. It is not an easy route for anyone to take, especially someone facing such an affiliation with their arch-nemesis, who presents themselves in the form of a stammer - Mr Stammer.  For years, I was unable to come to terms with him, for most my life. We did not agree on anything, and to my detriment, he would out think me, out will me and win the argument every time.  He dictated to me what I could and could not do; he perched himself firmly in the driving seat and took the helm! Taking me wherever he wanted on our many and long, painful drives.  I was merely a quiet and servant-like passenger in our car, and there was nothing, myself or anyone outside of our relationship could do about it.

On our travels, we would stop at the most ghastly of destinations, such as self-doubt-ville, Anxiety Park, Confusion-bury and Avoidance-shire. My least favourite place and the one that I begged Mr Stammer not to stop at was Depression City. We would often stay at this city for weeks on end. There was no escaping it. I would hope and wish that he would forget to pick me up just for one day, giving me a day of rest - a day of relief, a day where I could be somebody else - but it never came. Consequently, those hopeful and wishful thoughts would quickly turn into guilt, self-hate and a sense of detachment from reality. Mr Stammer knocked on my door every morning reminding to keep quiet and get in the car. Should he fail to turn up in the morning, he would certainly pick me up by the afternoon or by evening - usually, just before I had to do something publicly. He was heartless and unsympathetic in his timing. If you asked me to describe how passionately I hated Mr Stammer, I'd have told you that the English language could not do an effective job.  

One evening when Mr Stammer was knocking on my door, prompting me to get ready for another ride. I decided to answer back, something I had never done before. I refused to get in that godforsaken vehicle if he was driving. I told him exactly this. "I have had enough of your leadership, and from now on, I will be the one driving and the one making the decisions". I firmly repeated over and over again, "I will no longer be coming along for the ride; I will no longer let you dictate to me where we chose to stop off; I am taking action and taking the wheel for my life’s sake".  Lastly, I told myself there and then that I am responsible for my journey, for my feelings, and for my results.  I am the one driving to where I want to go from now on, and if he didn’t like it, I made it clear there was nothing he could do about it. And funnily enough, Mr Stammer didn’t say a word, for a brief spell. He calmly took the back seat and let me drive, “So I had this power all along, I could have done this years ago” I said this to myself, it was an unbelievable moment, one I would never forget. 

But Mr Stammer is a resilient and stubborn fellow and every now again he would reach for the wheel and try to take me off-course. Although it was a struggle at times, However, I do not allow him to take the wheel for too long. I always maintained control a level of control; I no longer let Mr Stammer control my life any longer. My mindset has changed.  

This experience has given me the energy, the self-esteem and the faith to make Mr Stammer a permanent resident in the back seat of our car. He and I now speak. We talk about a lot of things, topics are ever-changing often depending on the season and what is going on in my life at the present time. However, the most reoccurring topic is our feelings towards each other, and in light of this, we have developed a sort relationship. Over-time we have learnt to co-exist and do not fight with each other as often as we used to and I can honestly say Mr Stammer has since helped me strengthening my character, increased my persistence in achieving goals, given me a newly found energy reservoir for life among many other things. But, one thing which Mr Stammer had said, which I will never forget and will always stick with me is, “As soon as you stop hiding me,  I’ll stop hurting you”. Thus began my journey on the road to self-actualisation and my journey to freedom.


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