Do We Obsess Too Much?
Posted April 26, 2012on:
Yep, I obsess sometimes. I know I do. When I speak publicly and communicate very well, I almost never focus on how well I did if I also stuttered. Like many of us, I tend to focus on the one tiny little thing that I didn’t like instead of all the good things that did happen.
Take last night, for example. I was at a Toastmasters meeting and volunteered to facilitate the Table Topics section of the meeting. This is the part of Toastmasters meetings where we practice impromptu speaking.
I thought of some questions during break and proceeded to skillfully carry out this part of the meeting. I also had a couple of moments where I had an uncomfortable block. Where nothing came out for about 20 seconds and I also squeezed one eye shut at the moment of the block.
As I drove home from the meeting, that’s what I thought about. Not how great I did at filling the role at the last-minute, but what did the two visitors think of me when they saw that weird blocking behavior? I obsessed about whether I should have said anything to acknowledge that I had stuttered.
As people who stutter, we also seem to obsess a lot over the conversational use of the word stuttering when it does not apply to what we know as a speech disorder.
The next day, the Facebook forums were full of comments from people who stutter who felt offended by the song. Many stated they didn’t like the song because it implied the wrong reasons why people stutter.
Often in the news, especially regarding sports, we will hear or read accounts of a team or player getting off to a “stuttering start.” I have heard people who stutter comment that they are offended by these casual uses of the term stuttering, as it implies negativity about stuttering.
I understand (to a degree) why I sometimes obsess about my own speech and focus more on when I have had uncomfortable stuttering moments and blocks. I always wish it hadn’t happened at that particular time.
But I don’t always understand the reactions the stuttering community has when the non-stuttering public uses “our” word for our speech in another context.
What do you think?