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Writing helps me speak

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Staff writer Erika Cook discusses how writing helps her express herself.

Staff writer Erika Cook discusses how writing helps her express herself.

Lindsey Fruge

Lindsey Fruge

Staff writer Erika Cook discusses how writing helps her express herself.

Erika Cook, Writer

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As a kid, I was constantly burdened with a stutter. I didn’t talk much, but when I did, my brain couldn’t keep up with my mouth which resulted in me stuttering.

I only really talked to my mom and closest friends. It wasn’t until around 8th grade when I came out of my shell and talked to more than eight people. Many people were aware of my impediment much longer before I was, which is why I struggled with standing up for myself and others.

Once when I was in 7th grade, I was in the presence one of the biggest jerks I have ever met. As one of my best friends was talking, this little fart face said, “Wow, you wear too much makeup, and it looks awful.” Now, I had prepared myself for this moment. For the past two weeks, this boy made me so mad and I had been thinking of the best roast to put him in his place. This was my moment, and I was ready. So I looked him dead in the eye, doing my snootiest face in the world (which probably actually looked like I was trying my hardest not to cry and laugh at the same time). “Well, a-at-at least sh-she has straight teeth.” I completely flopped. What I had been waiting for this whole time, I ruined because my body can’t function properly. So in response, this real original, human jerk pie said, (with a red face, might I add) “Stu-stu-stutter much?” Like, dang – you got me! I mean…he did. It was the saddest moment of my life. I tried my hardest to destroy this boy who had just been so mean to my best friend and I couldn’t defend her.

I still have this problem now, which is an embarrassment to me. Just this year, I messed up announcing the Band Beau and Sweetheart in front of the whole school. Also, when I was interviewed for a local news story over the band, I stammered my response and it was quite awkward. But I’ve learned a better way to get my thoughts and feelings across.

In 4th grade, I tried expressing myself through UIL writing contests. That year, I realized I was not so bad at writing. I competed against 20 5th graders, and wrote about this bird that was confused about her curfew because she lived in Alaska where it was light all day. I got first and that’s when I found out a good way to express my thoughts.

Since then, I have loved writing. As I got older, I found myself enjoying others’ writing and being inspired by it. In middle school, I read books written by Trenton Lee Stewart, Suzanne Collins, Brandon Mull and John Green, who helped shape my writing aspirations.

John Green was my main influence, as he wrote of teenagers coming of age and going through difficult and relatable situations that made me feel like I wanted to become a better person. I realized that’s what I wanted to do for someone someday.

When I get older, not only do I want to be a Speech Pathologist, but I want to be an award-winning author. I want to write something that really matters, that inspires someone like I was. I want to write something that will impact someone’s life for the better. I want to write for others, not for myself. I know I will never be able to talk to people correctly, so I talk through my writing. Writing helps me speak.

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