I have learned to embrace my uniqueness

A young man smiling

Waiswa Simon Joshua feels that opportunities for people who stammer in Uganda are few. But his love of writing gives him hope.

I'm Waiswa Simon Joshua, also known as Josh or Long J. I live a simple life in Uganda, where my daily routine consists of waking up, gazing at the sky, sipping tea, and writing with pen and paper. I repeat this process every morning, content in my own company. 

As a person who stammers, I've faced discrimination and unfairness in my life. I felt like a doormat, with everyone rubbing their feet on me. It seemed like every complaint was directed at me, and I was always blamed. Maybe because I didn't speak up for myself because I stammered. 

...everyone thinks I'm foolish and some take advantage of me due to the fact that I have difficulty in talking.

I currently don't have a job because it's very hard for someone of my nature to get a job here in Uganda. Stammering here is hard to live with because everyone thinks I'm foolish and some take advantage of me due to the fact that I have difficulty in talking. People with disabilities are often hated and seen as failures, but I've learned that nothing is impossible if you don't limit yourself.

Expressing myself through writing

I have learned to embrace my uniqueness and find alternative ways to be happy. If you can't walk, sing; if you can't hear, paint; and if you stammer like me, write. I love writing and it gives me great joy. It helps me express myself and I see it as a door towards creating a living and a career. I began writing in 2020 and this year I started a blog called 'Awareness', where I share my thoughts and inspirational words on all kinds of topics. My brain is my power and weapon, and I've also managed to write two books, which I sell online.

A wise woman named Hawa once told me, "Passion and time never disappoint". So, I write for the marginalised, the minority and those left behind. People said a stammerer can't make it in life, but I proved them wrong. I was rejected, mocked and given insulting nicknames, but my ability to write books has overshadowed what others have seen as a weakness. 

People said a stammerer can't make it in life, but I proved them wrong.

I recall a bully who once slapped me in a classroom full of students. But what makes me a superhero is that I always get up and stand when someone pushes me over. My father wisely said, "People can delay your luck, but they can't stop it".

I'm proud of myself and everything about me, because I understand the blessings that come with being different. My journey has taught me that life is what you make it, and if you find a route to real happiness, take it. Writing was my route to happiness and it welcomed the real me. 

So, rise up, everyone! Keep trying for what you want to do in life. Keep rising and searching within yourself. Success isn't just for other people; everyone can win and be a champion.

Read more Your Voice articles. Would you like to share your story, experiences, opinions, poems, art, music etc? See Submit Something Something For The Site or email editor@stamma.org to find out how.

Two women in running outfits holding flags and looking at the camera
Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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