Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘facing change

Have you ever worn shoes that don’t fit right? So tight, it hurts to walk? Or even to stand still? I’ve bought shoes sometimes that are too tight, hoping either they would loosen or my feet would shrink.

Especially leather shoes. I’ve hoped that the leather would soften with wear and conform to my foot. I have stubbornly endured foot pain for days. And blisters. Sometimes it worked. The shoe did soften up and became comfortable. Other times, I realized I wasted my money.

What about shoes that are too big? Have you ever fell in love with a certain pair that didn’t come in your size and you bought the next size up? I have, thinking I could  wear fluffier socks or even two pair.

I remember one time wearing shoes that were so wide, I feared falling out of them. And I did! One of the shoes FELL OFF as I climbed stairs!

So what do you do when shoes don’t fit? You don’t wear them! You get rid of them, ideally passing them on to someone who can use them.

But sometimes that’s hard to do. Even when we should get rid of something that doesn’t fit or we don’t even wear anymore, it’s hard to give up what we know.

I remember years ago when a brand of shoes called “Docksiders” was all the rage. I just had to have a pair. They were leather boat shoes, flat, like moccasins. They had sturdy hard cords as laces. I wore those shoes to death. They became scuffed and the cords broke. I couldn’t find the exact replacement laces, so I tied the broken cord together and still wore them!

I outgrew those shoes, but had a hard time getting rid of them. I kept them in my closet for years, finally parting with them when packing up to move.

I had a conversation with my mentor the other day. I was complaining about how dizzying my life seemed lately. I lost a job that I loved, had a serious bike accident, had to move suddenly due to flooding, and had a temporary job that also ended abruptly. All in the course of 4 months.

I was moaning (crying) about how all of this was way too much to handle and it wasn’t fair. When would I catch a break?

He just looked at me very calmly and said, “Pam, stop. This doesn’t fit you anymore. You know better than most how to navigate changes in life. You’re an expert at it. It doesn’t fit you anymore to bemoan change.”

He stopped me dead in my tracks. Of course he was right. Whining and complaining does nothing to change any of the “drama” that has gone on in my life. I can’t hold on to the old ways of reacting and panicking. That’s not me any more.

Like shoes that don’t fit, we have to get rid of strategies that don’t work or we outgrow. My mentor calmly said, “That’s it. I give you permission to stop carrying all this and just let it go. Can you give your self permission?”

I thought about this long and hard. I want to gently acknowledge all of these things going on in my life and let them go. But it is so hard. I still find myself fighting it, as tough as that is to admit.

When something doesn’t fit, we need to get rid of it and make room for newer things that fit better.

Like stuttering, loss, change and pain – we have to take control, not let “things” control us.

What do you think? Do you still have a pair of old shoes in your closet (like me) that you can’t part with? Why is it so hard?

So much has changed in the last 10 years. Our way of life has changed significantly. My life changed significantly.

Like most Americans, I can remember where I was and what I was doing on that September morning. I was working at Job Corps and a student came in to my office telling me she had just heard about the planes that crashed into the towers.

She was from New York City, as were many of our students. As word spread throughout our Center, many students wanted to call home and check on family. It was tough. We did not allow students to use cell phones during the school day, and many didn’t have them anyway. The phone lines were jammed.

It was a Tuesday and we were expecting new enrolling students from NYC that afternoon. It was my job to drive to the bus station and pick them up. I remember feeling really panicked about going to the bus station. In the morning, we did not really comprehend what was going on.

We still didn’t understand by afternoon. I remember asking if someone would go with me to the bus station. I was afraid to go alone. I remember looking up at the sky, feeling that surreal terror that I know everyone was feeling, but I didn’t know that then.

I felt alone that day, very alone. I know that now because I was not living life the way I should have been.

So much has changed since that September day.

Fear of change and the unknown prevented me from doing a lot of things. I learned about fear and the unknown just like everybody else that day, and forever after.

I no longer work in the same place. I am no longer in an abusive relationship that sucked the life out of me. My grandmother died, my father survived a brain tumor, and my step-father died.

I tried some speech therapy for my stuttering for the first time, and also some psychological therapy, to start working on childhood demons. I am still dealing with fear and uncertainty every day, just like everyone does, but I feel more empowered to move forward instead of staying stuck.

So many people lost their lives that day. Children have grown up not knowing parents who were lost. I have parents that I don’t know well.

Life is too short to not live it. I don’t live life perfectly, as much as I tried to and thought I had to for so long.

These days, I am more open and honest with myself and more willing to confront pain and attempt to find ways to continue growing.

My father’s brain tumor is back. There are things I wish I could say to him, but I have not figured out if I really need to or is it just guilt.

So much has changed, hasn’t it?


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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