I've been thinking a lot about things that we take for granted. The other night I went to a gala benefit for Our Time, a program that offers a save haven for kids 8-18 who stutter. The kids got to perform songs and spoken-word with various noted TV/Broadway performers. All of them were so happy to be onstage and so high-spirited. When they sang, they were confident and happy. And when they spoke, they struggled to get the words out, and some kids had worse stutters than others but they were still happy. They weren't frustrated or embarassed about their disabilities, and they were surrounded by hundreds of supportive people. One girl who was 18 gave an incredibly moving speech about how she used to contemplate suicide because she was never able to tell people what was on her mind, but now she is proud of her disability and was fulfilling her dream to speak in front of an audience that was actually listening to her. She proclaimed, "You have saved me" to us, and then declared that she was damned proud of her stutter. Her speech was incredibly moving and I'm pretty sure most people in the audience were crying. The speech would probably take someone who didn't have a speech problem about fifteen minutes, but it took her twice that time (maybe even more) because of the severity of her stutter. I've never really been around people who stutter, and not only did these young kids inspire me with their hopefulness and their love, but they really made me feel grateful that I can speak my mind and say exactly what I'm feeling. A lot of these kids said that when they were at school they didn't speak because they were afraid they would get teased. I can't imagine the frustration of knowing exactly you want to say and having the words on the tip of your tongue but literally not being able to say it. I've always stuck to writing because I'm not really comfortable with public speaking and I have a hard time organizing my thoughts and translating them into words. It's a personal flaw that I've always wished to alleviate, and now especially after seeing these little kids that spoke so proudly and confidently despite being tongue-tied and having an extremely hard time getting the words out. No one should ever have to live in silence.
I've also been thinking of...spirits. Strange, yes, I've never really put much thought into the after-life, but something that happened the other night got me thinking. A music box in my room went off without my having touched it in ages, and when I told my friend Jolie who is really invested in that kind of stuff, she told me that I probably had a pleasant visitor in my room. Which really freaked me out, but it got me thinking about who else might be occasionally visiting me. I'm always thinking about the twin sister I had who was stillborn and wonder often if she is ever with me in spirit. I've never 'felt' the presence of another being, but I asked Jolie and she told me that my sister definitely watched over me, kind of like a guardian angel. Again, I don't necessarily believe in that kind of thing, but I'd like to believe that that's true. I'm sad we never got to meet...I reckon that we could've been great pals :).