Make Room For The Stuttering

When It Rises Up

Posted on: February 16, 2009

This is another one of my poems. It speaks to my struggles.

When it rises up, I try fiercely to push it down.
Sometimes it comes with no warning, and washes over me like the tide crashing against jagged rocks, much like the jagged edges of my heart.
Other times, I feel the slightest trickle of warning, and I can quell it before it grips and takes hold.
When it surprises me like that and rises up, it overpowers me, bit-by-bit,, until I gasp under its weight.
It is then I fight the hardest; willing every part of me to stand guard, not succumb.
But it does not hold back, starts in my stomach, and rises, causing me to writhe, wincing, squeezing my eyes tight, willing, pushing, an inner battle ensues, sometimes in my head, mostly in my heart.
For I can’t hide when it happens. My eyes well, my face flames, my heart races, my voice fails, I cannot put into words what swirls in my head.
It has no name, no identity, but it has life. A life of it own. I tried to name it, but failed.
When it comes, it mocks me.
I cannot fight back. It saps me. It ties my tongue, locks my throat, leaves me breathless, fearful, for I do not know from where it comes or why it chooses the moments it does to show up, to weaken me. I am left vulnerable, keening, afraid of its strength.
Even in my dreams, it has power, reduces me, lessens me. Sometimes I feel I don’t belong anywhere, like caught in-between worlds.
Sometimes I think about how strange it is that the smallest moments give it life, its power.
When I am moved by someone else, my eyes well right away, and a piece of me is pushed down, and it moves in on me, and my memories.
I dream about being chased, and I remember nothing but broke off words.
I give up like I often do.
When the hot tears come, my cheek burns and a momentary stain is left, which when asked I deny with ease.
It can come even when I think I am happy and pulls me back, and I remember. Sometimes when I am alone, reflecting, the heat of the tears comes first, before the wet, surprising me, no warning. Just there. Sometimes I feel as if I am nowhere, with the road leading to a place I cannot see, cannot name, cannot voice.
Being numb is good, for I am safe, but not for long. Oddly, I almost seem willing to let it in, because it brings human-ness. But that scares me; it is a nowhere place, for it has no name. It is far, far away.
At least when it creeps in, I feel. And sometimes all I really want is to be felt, and held, and told “you are good”, and have someone be proud of me. Is that so hard?
It is then it comes pouring over me, awash with vengeance, reminding me it is not so.
And the fight ensues again, until I give in, and it takes over, the tide crashing again and again over my weakest parts, pulling on my heart, laughing, mocking, reminding me of what I only know.
It has such power.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. 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 2017.