My First Scar….
I got my first scars before I was a week old.
In my first couple of years I had various operations that sewed together the top of the inside of my mouth (it’s not smooth like yours, but has crevasse in it) and also my top lip. One of my two brothers has a cleft lip as does his son, so it’s become something of a family tradition. In fact, when my youngest brother was old enough to realize that he didn’t have a cleft lip and palate, he burst into tears – he didn’t want to be the odd guy out.
A scar is a story waiting to be told
Being a large, enthusiastic and clumsy guy, I didn’t stop there. I’ve spent the rest of my lifetime collecting a whole bunch of other scars.
|My cleft lip and palate means I have a speech impediment, an oddly-shaped top lip, and a somewhat flattened nose||My cleft lip and palate means I have a speech impediment, an oddly-shaped top lip, and a somewhat flattened nose|
|People find me disconcerting to look at – some people see me as ugly.||I stand out from the crowd. People look twice.|
|People don’t want to talk to me, because they’re uncomfortable about my cleft lip. Kids especially.||People don’t notice my speech impediment. They just accept me for who I am, especially when I do what I’m best at.|
|I should operate ‘behind the scenes’ because my speech impediment means I shouldn’t be ‘out front’.||As a professional speaker, my unique style of speaking helps me stand out from the crowd.|
|If I don’t talk too much, people won’t notice I have a disability. Stay quiet.||People find it easier to connect to me because I have an obvious vulnerability. It balances me out and for some people I role model ‘overcoming a disability’.|
|This is my disability.||This is one source of my power.|
Michael Bungay Stanier is the founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work.