I have ghosts from my past, memories of people saying incredibly insensitive things about my stutter. It goes as far back as to the 3rd grade when my teacher caught me laughing with friends, shamed me for trying to be funny, and told me: “Stop trying to be the class clown, Nina”.
And these ghosts cause me to have negative self-talk and think “Why am I doing this? I shouldn’t be here. I’m not funny. I’m not a real comedian”. And when that happens, I have to put myself in check, get up on stage, and just do it.
I challenge the ghosts, tell them they’re wrong by putting all of the shitty things that happen to me into my act and laugh about them. Just a few weeks ago, I did a training session. And this person in the audience would roll their eyes every time that I stuttered, it was awful.
Instead of being stagnated by the fear and insecurity that triggered, I chose to turn it into a joke in my act about that exact moment. Now, I start off by saying “I stutter but I’m not blind. You know I can see you, right?” I take back the power through laughter.
The thing that I constantly hear is that people are supposed to fight disability, take back your power, act as though you don’t have an impairment. People always talk about disability as something that you’re supposed to overcome. But my belief is that you don’t ever overcome your disability. You overcome assholes. My disability doesn’t need to change; the assholes do.