THE BLOG
20/02/2015 04:06 GMT | Updated 21/04/2015 06:59 BST

Strength in Silence

We all held our breath, dug fingers into palms, hoping, urging, and willing his tongue to let him talk. Every last bit of me wanted to leap over, create a distraction and save him from the torture of silence - and make it all better.

If there is one thing I love in life it's a good old rant.

In many ways words are my therapist. Written, spoken or spat out in anger a problem shared may be a problem halved, but a rant is double the volume and twice as satisfying.

As we know, I am not one for being quiet. Not having a pen or paper in the CBB house for a month was troubling because without the ability to make notes, I was struck mute. And it is not a feeling I like.

Which is why meeting Musharaf Asghar from Educating Yorkshire this week was so profound.

As fans of the program will have seen, Mushy has a severe stammer which stops words escaping from his head. Behind his eyes, which laugh a lot, you can sense a whole world of expression locked in by his own tongue.

Imagining a life without language seems terrible. Thinking about words you want to say but can't - infinitely worse.

And despite this, he came to talk in front of a studio audience of 300. Most sixth formers I know would rather throw their iPhone down the toilet than speak in front of their class, let alone a crowd of strangers.

I have endured many job interviews with individuals blessed with the gift of speech but too idle, fearful or self-conscious to use it.

Mushy is not afflicted by this fear. Despite the knowledge his words may fail him, he came prepared to stand and face the silence which threatened to fill the room his words wanted to go.

We all held our breath, dug fingers into palms, hoping, urging, and willing his tongue to let him talk. Every last bit of me wanted to leap over, create a distraction and save him from the torture of silence - and make it all better.

But the strength of Mushy, and every other young person with challenges in their lives - is that they don't need saving by some foolish woman with too much to say. They are braver than that.

They don't need someone finishing their sentence either, they just need time.

A stammer may be a cruel flaw. But feeling so awkward you are forced to fill the void with your own noise is a greater weakness and a fault of mine. Not his.

Parents can imagine how hard it would be to have a child stammered to silence, leaving you helpless in the face of an enemy you can't even see to fight; a diagnosis without a cure.

In amongst the noise and nonsense of TV, Mushy showed us, loudmouths, worried about how we look or trying to be funny, to be cowards.

Facing an audience, collectively agonising in the long pause, Mushy was the bravest of us all. He was able to face it down, to wait patiently for words to come and to understand, when they didn't, his strength in silence is the most powerful tool of all.