I recently sat down with Katherine to discuss the book and the circumstances which led her to share her experience.
In 2008, Katherine walked away from a career in finance in order to face her greatest fear and change her life. Searching for answers, she decided to immerse herself in stuttering and set off to meet hundreds of others who suffered from the same condition across America. Originally, her plan was to write down their stories and weave her own into the background, but she decided that she had to be honest about her own journey if she was to write a compelling book. So, she began anew and started writing a memoir about her struggle with her stutter, drawing on the stories she heard on her year traveling across America.
Katherine started stuttering when she was 7 years old. She explains that it is tempting to couplestuttering to a traumatic event or an illness. Her own family equated the beginning of her stuttering to her grandmother's passing. However, Katherine now realizes that she was born with a stutter deep within her system. "I have learned to separate these events. I bumbled my words when I was younger, but only became aware of my stuttering at 7." She adds: "It's easy to pinpoint a trauma. Everyone wants to have an answer to why it began. What is difficult about stuttering is that there are no good answers."
When creating language becomes such a challenge, it is difficult not to retreat into silence. "You become worried as you become aware of the fact that you are different," Katherine told me. But silence is "sad and isolating."
Instead, she gradually came to accept her difference. "Today I have learned to make peace with it. Stuttering can be a challenge but also an asset. "Stuttering becomes a filter on how you see the world." she explains.
Katherine encourages others to "see beyond the mask of stuttering." She smiles and adds. "it is more about what I say than how I say it."
Please help celebrate the launch of Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice on April 16th at BookCourt bookstore, 7pm.
The book is available at all bookstore and on Amazon.