Make Room For The Stuttering

Dear Stuttering

Posted on: February 19, 2009

I wrote this letter on March 15, 2008

It seems odd to be addressing you when I spent most of my life trying to deny you even exist. And that’s the key, trying to deny you, because you have always been there. You couldn’t be denied, could you? You always turned up, at the most inopportune times. Every time I thought it was safe, and I had the world fooled, you would come storming in, like a tornado, blowing up my spot, making sure your presence was known.

You made me so angry when you did that. I wanted to fit in with everyone else, and you made it your business to make sure I didn’t. I was different. Everyone knew it. You made sure the only way I could keep you at bay was to stay quiet. So that’s what I did –at school, at home, in college, at work. I did what I needed to do to protect myself. I didn’t want to be made fun of, and you didn’t do anything to help me when the kids did. It became easier and easier for me to hide you.

But funny thing, not only was I angry, I was sad too. Did you know that? I always had so much I wanted to say, but you wouldn’t let me. You made me feel as if I wasn’t worthy, as if I didn’t deserve to speak up, that no one would want to hear what I had to say.

I bet you didn’t realize you had such power, huh? Yeah, you held that amazing power over me, for a very long time. Because of you, I had a hard time making friends and hardly ever went out anywhere. I felt alone most of the time, especially with all of the other stuff going on at home. I think you were very tied up in some of that stuff too; you seemed to show up more when things were really bad.

Stuttering, it was because of you that I really started taking things too seriously. I figured if I couldn’t speak well, that I would have to be perfect at other things in order to be noticed. I wanted people to notice me, to say “Wow”, but it never happened when I was a kid. That was your fault. So as an adult, I started trying harder and harder at everything I did, always trying to find that elusive happiness, always striving to do just that much better than the next guy, but it didn’t work. Trying to be a perfectionist was hard work. The more I denied you, the more you were just there, screaming at me that you would not be denied.

You began to toy with my insides more as an adult, as if always whispering to me, “Hah”, I still control you, what are you going to do now? You were no longer just making me angry and sad, you were making me depressed, and sick and tired of living a lie. I wanted to be true to myself.

You actually started helping me, finally, before the real rock bottom moment, and I suppose I really should thank you, for making me so damn uncomfortable that I had to do something or my insides would bust. You weren’t staying hidden anymore, and I had to make a choice. I think I made the right one.

Don’t get me wrong – some days I wish we had never met, but most of the time, I think we’re doing a pretty good job co-existing. I know you’re here, and I don’t fight with you so much. I let you have your say, right? You’re kind of giving me a different sort of power, and that’s pretty amazing.

I now have the Power of Me, and I am in control.

I never thought I would say this, Stuttering, but there’s room for both of us. Just try not to be so blustery, ok? We don’t have to be the tornado in the room anymore. We can just Be!

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