Alan Rice bio photo

Alan Rice

Human being. I'm a PhD student studying molecular evolution at a university in Ireland. Likes: sugar, data & science. Dislikes: peas & cats. I don't know how I made it this far either. (he/him)

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I’ve never been very good with language. Slower reading speed than my peers, poor vocabulary, terrible pronunciation, and that’s just for English. However I’ve had a recurring stammer for as long as I can remember that varies in severity. It is so frustrating to be unable to start a sentence with a close friend’s name just because it begins with the letter K. After the initial attempt, I resort to reordering the sentence or add an ‘um’ to the start to break the psychological barrier and begin the flow of words. Another common occurrence is when I find myself telling people about what I’m working on for my PhD, dosage-sensitive genes. And you guessed it, that D is like fucking glue. For this reason I pretty much exclusively say “Genes that are dosage sensitive…” if it needs to be at the start of a sentence. It’s longer, less efficient, distracting and infuriating!

Why am I talking about this? Well more recently the frequency has increased. Words I’ve been saying for years, even those in the middle of sentences have been triggers and not even in high stress situation, just in everyday conversation. I’m frustrated, angry and simply embarrassed. At times it’s left me mute, unsure if I’ll be able to finish what I start saying. Too afraid to ask a question at the end of a talk for fear of being frozen making guttural sounds while I have the unbearable attention of the room. Hopefully by acknowledging it fully, it’ll help me tackle it, or at least make my peace with it.