Make Room For The Stuttering

Craig Shares: Fight or Flight?

Posted on: October 11, 2010

This post is written by guest blogger Craig Stevenson. Craig and I “met” through the on-line support group Covert-S. His comments appeared on a threaded discussion last week, and I loved his insight and honesty and asked him to share his piece here. Craig is from Idaho and manages two recycling plants.

To me, the old saying, “you can run but you can’t hide”, may be true, but serves no purpose. I think managing stuttering is different for men than women. I went to school with the same kids for ten years. I got teased in school all the time. One kid in Earth Science class teased me so much we finally fought it out. I had been afraid of him for years. My first punch bloodied his nose and the fight was over just that fast, and he never teased me again.

There were many more fights, some I lost, some I won.  I got in a lot of trouble for some! I do not condone or recommend violence as a solution to managing stuttering, but gently to suggest boys will be boys and sometimes without any other support, fighting happens. I know there are different ways of facing our stutter.

The worst part for me was getting in a shoving match between first and second periods and agreeing to settle it after school and having to go through the rest of the day thinking and worrying about what the outcome would be. Not wanting to get in trouble for fighting, we always did it after school, thinking no one would notice a black eye the next day.

For me, I learned a fight is a fight and a cousin taught me that in a fight, if you don’t throw the first punch you’ve missed half the fight. I think what he was trying to say was “meet it head on right then and there.” I never started a fight and I never ran from one either and whether I took a beating or gave one, I always felt better after. I almost always cried whether I won or lost, and I can’t remember anyone I did not become fast friends with after.

I think at some point in your life you have to make friends with your stutter. Every time you run from it, it wins. I think the way you make friends with your stuttering is to meet it head on. Some days it kicks your butt and some days you kick its butt, right? It doesn’t really matter who wins as much as knowing the fight is essential.

To put it bluntly, I would rather be dead then spend the rest of my waking moments, days and years, wondering about when I was going to die. I spent my youth hiding and I regret every day I did. The “wait till your father gets home” was much worse than what father did when he did get home. I think waiting and hoping we don’t stutter is so much worse and painful than the stutter itself is, and the really sad part is, we do it to ourselves.

Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug. But, you have to keep the windshield clean if you want to miss more bugs. I got an old green tea-shirt from a past NSA convention from Judy Kuster. It’s dark green and on the front in big white letters it say’s “I STUTTER SO WHAT?” You don’t have to wear it (although it’s a great idea), but I think it does say the right thing about how we should FEEL about our stutter.

Don’t waste time trying not to stutter! Don’t feel bad or afraid of it when you do meet stuttering head on.  For me, learning how to control my fear of stuttering did more for me than trying to stop the stutter.

Please feel free to leave any messages or comments for Craig here. Thanks for sharing with us Craig!

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7 Responses to "Craig Shares: Fight or Flight?"

Wow Craig! It seems like you have learned a lot about your stuttering, by the things you say here in this post. I am glad to have read it, your a good writer and obviously want to help others by virtue of your experiences.

Thanks for the complement. Only the idea was mine. The writing was mostly Pam. She is the great writer.

Nice piece, Craig!! Funny thing though – I’d forgotten about the old green T-shirt! And you are right – it has an important message – even if you don’t wear it;-) Judy

I do wear it and my other NSA tee-shirts all the time and not under anything. Thanks for that tee-shirt I just love it.

” learning how to control my fear of stuttering did more for me than trying to stop the stutter” – Dead on Craig! I’m working on desentization mostly to hearing myself make stuttering noise rather than block. Great job!

Thank you very much. There is more than one road to Rome. It worked for me. Good luck.

thank you Craig for this. I always enjoy your contributions on Covert-S and regularly mention them to my support group. I used to suffer badly from anticipatory anxiety but after years of work I am now delighted with the feeling of freedom that reducing the fear stuttering has given me

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