Make Room For The Stuttering

Brain-Lock

Posted on: February 19, 2009

I get very angry with myself when someone teases or mocks my stuttering and I don’t do anything about it. Like a couple of weeks ago when I stopped at the deli counter to order some american cheese.

I was stuttering really well that day, and had trouble saying the brand of cheese that I wanted. Both guys behind the counter showed reaction – one guy smirked at me, you know the kind of look I mean. Usually, I can blow that off. The other guy said something like “if I couldn’t say american cheese right, then I would have to buy chicken wings”. I was so stunned by this stupid comment that I felt momentarily brain-locked. I think the stunned look washed across my face, because the other guy looked embarassed for me.

The guy who commented then had the nerve to say, “Come on – stop playing. Whoever heard of someone not being able to say what kind of cheese they wanted”.

The smirk guy, looking contrite, asked me politely to confirm my order, and I got it out, and he quickly got my order for me. I did not set either of these guys straight – I just walked away.
I was so upset with myself for acting like a hypocrite and just letting this guy humiliate me the way he did. But I did not want to make a scene. There were a couple of people behind me in line, and I just did not have the energy to draw more attention to the moment.

After all, it was just a moment, a stuttering moment, one of many I have had. Why did it bother me so much? Because it caught me off guard, because you don’t just don’t expect adults to make fun of someone, because I hope for better.

The truth of the matter is that stuttering sometimes hi-jacks us emotionally, leaves us feeling paralyzed and unable to react in the moment. And the further truth is that I don’t always want to have to educate or correct somebody about my stuttering.

This is one of the reasons stuttering is as complex as it is – the emotions under the surface that sometimes come out of nowhere and blindside us. I am not superwoman – it can’t be about stuttering all of the time. Sometimes it just has to be about Land-O-Lakes American Cheese.

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