American (Stuttering) Idol
My family enjoys watching American Idol. Have for years. There’s something about watching these average people get thrust into the limelight that has that rags-to-riches curiosity about it.
This year there’s one contestant in particular that we pull for: Lazaro Arbos. Lazaro has a pretty severe struggle with stuttering and whenever he speaks it’s very obvious. And very obvious that he’s uncomfortable, stressed, and very aware that millions are watching him.
As a stutterer myself who used to struggle as much as Lazaro my heart goes out to him and I applaud his courage. For a stutterer, what he is doing is the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. With a hand tied behind your back. Blindfolded. Seriously. It’s not easy stuff to stand before a camera on a stage like he has and let the world see what you perceive as your biggest weakness.
This past Wednesday night Lazaro sung a very lackluster version of the Beatles’ “In My Life.” Afterward the judges were pretty vocal about their displeasure. Then Ryan Seacrest asked him to talk and Lazaro did all he could do to not lose it in front of millions of viewers.
To understand this you have to understand the psychological struggle of a stutterer. Stutterers live in a constant state of stress, not knowing when the next time is they’ll be asked to talk, to introduce themselves, to ask for directions, to even say thank you. Unfortunately, for most stutterers stress causes things to get worse. Then, put someone on a stage in front of millions and criticize him for a song performance he knows is well-below par, and on top of that–you know it’s coming–ask him to talk about it.
Trust me, the pressure is unbelievable. For a stutterer it’s not unlike being overweight and having your clothes stripped off in public so everyone can see what you’ve been trying to hide. It’s no wonder Lazaro nearly broke down. The stress this guy is under is unbelievable. His courage is inspiring.
Okay, that’s all for the American Idol stuff.
Wait, quick question: Are you watching American Idol? If so, who are you pulling for?