Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Life as a Stutterer (Audio Clip attached)

For most of my life, I’ve battled a stuttering problem.  I know some people reading this blog might be shocked to hear that. A lot of people that I’ve hung out with or been around have never picked up on it.  Close friends, family, and others are probably more aware of it.  It’s not severe. I’m able to talk freely most of the time without any major setbacks or problems.  At other times, it can be rather crippling and difficult.  It has never really prevented me from doing anything that I have wanted to do, however. I am able to work, interview people on the phone, and have conversations with people close to me. It usually happens when I’m nervous, uncomfortable, or feeling unsure of myself. Around authority figures or bossy people it tends to flare up. You can probably tell how comfortable I am around you by how often I stutter. If I stutter a lot, you probably make me nervous. If I am able to talk freely, I am completely relaxed around you.
I’ve gone to speech therapy in the past and it has helped at times, but at the end of the day, it’s something that I have to live with.  I don’t let it define me, though.  Yes, I stutter, but it’s not all that I am about.  I also don’t let it stop me from living my life.  Early on, I learned that you can’t let fear control your life. It will if you let it.  Now, I know a lot of you are aware of my interviews.  You are probably wondering how I was able to do interviews with celebrities and movie stars while having a stuttering problem.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous before the interviews and even during.  Most of them were on the phone, so it wasn’t face to face.  That helped with a lot of the pressure.  At the end of the day, however, you are still talking to Carmen Electra, Robert Wagner, or other famous celebrities on the phone.  I would just try to talk slowly, think about what I was saying, and take my time.  Most of my stuttering occurs when I’m rushed, nervous, or flustered. My throat gets real tense and the words have a hard time coming out.  I have to push them out, which usually causes more stuttering and stumbling.
At times, however, I would stutter, and they would ask me to please repeat the questions because they couldn’t understand me.  Once you stutter, you have to move on and keep going.  You can’t let that one mistake or fumble ruin the whole interview.  I never let it upset me or bring me down while doing the interviews, though.  I just put it behind me as soon as it was over. If I lost track of where I was, I would pause, take a deep breath, and compose myself.  It would take great concentration. For most people, they just talk and talk without even thinking twice about it.  It’s no big deal to them.  For stutterers, we have to really take our time, think of our words and how they are going to come out of mouth.
Of course, in school, and even now, I’ve had to deal with people making fun of me for it. At work, a customer called me Porky Pig and mocked me.  In school, they would tell me to spit it out and say ‘tttttttoday junior’. I can honestly say that it doesn’t bother me.  If it makes them feel better to be mean and cruel towards me, that is their problem and they have to go to bed at night and deal with themselves. I’ve never let it stop me from talking to girls, doing interviews, or going after jobs.  I’ve heard every insult in the book, and it doesn’t faze me.  I don’t quite understand the need to make fun of me for it, though.  Does it make them feel better to insult someone? While I will never understand it, it has just motivated me even more to keep doing what I am doing, regardless of insults or roadblocks.  It just makes it that much more enjoyable to do interviews and have a great personality with a stuttering problem. To me, it makes it that much more impressive.
 I have a lot to say and express to get off my chest. I do it in person, as well as when I’m writing. Sometimes in person, it might take me longer to say it, but it will get out.  I have a voice and things to say.  Yes, I’m going to stutter, fumble over my words and have trouble at times, but I always get it out eventually.  It has never stopped me, EVER. I’ve never hesitated to ask for an interview, go after a girl (in the past, I’m happy now) or talk at work with customers and promote products.
I just have a stuttering problem. I’m still healthy and happy. I don’t have any limbs missing and I’m not in a wheelchair.  I’m not a hero, either.  What I am trying to say is this:  No matter what life throws your way, go after what you want and make it happen.  Yes, it might be hard or difficult, but it’s worth it.  You can’t let anything define you or make you live a safe, quiet life.  I want to do interviews, be on TV, and have my own interview show.  Yes, I stutter and probably will for the rest of my life.  I am still a person with thoughts, ideas, and opinions. I will always get them out there, even if it takes me longer than most people.  You have to keep on keeping on and deal with it. You can’t hide from it or avoid it.  That’s the safe and easy route.
To end this blog, I’m going to post my radio segment on the David Stein show where I talked about my stuttering problem.  I hope you like it and get something out of it. Scroll down at the bottom of the link to listen to it.
Thanks for reading.
-Tony Farinella


  1. my older brother and i have a mild stutter and my nephews is very severe so i understand totally where you are coming from. it has not stopped me from doing all kinds of stuff in life and im glad it hasnt stopped you either. i really wish people would understand that you cant control it and making fun of it is the same as making fun of someone who is sick or handicap. its weird that making fun of stutterers is pretty much accepted by society the same way that making fun of fat people is. i know they can both be fixed or controlled but its harder than most people think on both accounts.

  2. I agree with halandbob. Tony keep it up I'm glad to see u are happy and keep the hope alive. That is the only way to move. Forward. Great post.