I stammer. From living with this impediment almost all my life, I've learnt to deal with it. I choose sentences and phrases carefully to avoid words which could trip me up. Anyone who stammers will tell you that the number one, absolute worst word that you wish and hope to God that you never want to stall on is - your name. Because then - you're outed almost immediately. Thirty seconds after you meet someone and strike a conversation, they know you stammer. Growing up, I wished my parents would have named me anything that didn't start with the letter R.
Stammering has held me back and made me that much more cautious. In high school, when the Physical Science teacher asked a question to the class, I knew the answer but was terrified of raising my hand. English speeches were a nightmare and I agonised for days before I had to deliver one. Once, even though I had carefully prepared a page and a half on Submarines, which I had practiced to relay as Hubmarines, I took inspiration from a few classmates who had not prepared, and declined quite happily when I was called on. My elation of getting out of the speech was short-lived as the teacher wasted no time and called in my mother, who I saw a few lessons later.
The cautious and risk-adverse approach has shaped the person I am. Recently, this has become more apparent by observing my kids. As a proud Dad for the last 15 years to two amazing children, I believe that being a parent allows you to understand exactly what you put your parents through, is a lesson in life regarding free will - ultimately, the choice is theirs and not yours and most importantly - it holds up a mirror and forces you to reflect on the person that you are. Like any parent out there, I believe my kids have amazing potential. But for some reason, they refuse to grab the brass ring. Could be that Minecraft or YouTube is far more appealing but sometimes I recognize the flicker of fear which flashes in their eye. "Its safer to stay in the shadows" - and I beat myself up for possibly, implicitly passing this on to them.
From a career and life perspective, I have accepted that my passion and power lies in being Technical - I refer to this as being a Knight, rather than a King. No pun intended - but computers are binary - its either 1 or 0. There's no in-between. And as a logical and rational person, this is the foundation I have built my temple on. As a Knight, I have hunted and slayed many technical dragons - sometimes over many days and long nights, and many at personal cost. Any good dragon hunter will tell you that dragons always have a way of pulling you away from your family. Even when you're with them, you are considering new attack vectors in the back of your mind and waiting until you can return to the hunt. Unfortunately, that is one of the occupational hazards of being a Knight and I thank God everyday for a wife and family who try to understand this.
As a restless Knight, like many of my technically-inclined friends, I am constantly on the lookout for the next dragon - the bigger and more fierce, the better. For some reason and to my wife's irritation, I cannot consider binge-watching a series as a noble-enough challenge. From peering reluctantly into the generational mirror, I have since come to the harsh realisation that my cautious outlook is holding me back from documenting my battles - maybe another knight could slay the dragon in two strokes of the sword instead of four that it took me, and I would look the fool. Implicitly, this is also stopping me from helping other hapless warriors out there trying to slay similar dragons. This is a more noble and altruistic goal - indulge me - this is my delusions of grandeur.
My next quest is to write - about battles I've been on and dragons I've fought. Some battles were won, some dragons got away. It will be open, honest, hopefully humourous and may possibly be very opioniated. I welcome feedback. But positive and constructive please - I bruise easily. I hope to stay committed and consistent to this cause and it does not become the third July I've attempted this. I'm hoping that the conquest I hope to close soon (details in a later post) will help this time. This is the route I've chosen to face my fears..
My name is R-R-Rennay. I stammer. But dammit, I'm a pretty good Knight on a quest to Write!