On Monday Ed Sheeran, who had a stutter as a child, was honored at the American Institute for Stuttering’s Freeing Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala in New York.
Ahead of his appearance on stage he had many words of wisdom to help other children who stutter.
He told The Hollywood Reporter:
Having things that make you different help you become an interesting person. Most of the people I knew that were normal in school are all pretty dull right now — they go to the gym four times a week and look at themselves in the mirror a lot, but they don't really have a lot to say.…
Most of the people that are successful started life off as a weird kid with no friends.
And when he was on stage at the event, which also saw former sufferer actress Emily Blunt attend, he gave an inspiring speech, revealing his "weird" character traits as a youngster helped him become the person he is today.
I was a very, very weird child. I had a port-wine stain birthmark on my face that I got lasered off when I was very young; one day, they forgot to put the anesthetic on, and ever since then, I had a stutter. I also had very big, blue NHS glasses — NHS is the National Health Service, one day I hope you'll have the same! And I lacked an eardrum on one side of my ear, so stuttering was actually the least of my problems!
But it was still quite a difficult thing. The thing I found most difficult was knowing what to say but not really being able to express it the right way...
Stuttering is not a thing you have to be worried about at all. Even if you have quirks and weirdness, you shouldn't be worried about that. The people I went to school with that were the most normal and were the coolest when we grew up — I was telling Emily earlier that one of the cool kids from school now does my plumbing! That's a fact! I wanted to not necessarily to shed light on stuttering or make it a thing, but stress to kids in general to just be yourself, because there's no one in the world that can be a better you than you.
If you try to be the cool kid in class, you'll end up very boring and doing plumbing for someone who apparently wasn't that cool. Be yourself. Embrace your quirks. Being weird is a wonderful thing.… I have a f—ing football team now, that's pretty cool!
Embrace your weirdness. From a stuttering point of view, don't treat it as an issue. Work through it and get the treatment you want to get, but don't ever see it as a plight on your life. Carry on pushing forward.