Make Room For The Stuttering

On Change

Posted on: February 19, 2009

“It Is What It Is”
I have said these five words to myself many times, both silently and out loud. “It Is What It Is.” Sometimes, I have said it out loud just to hear how it sounds. Sometimes, I have said it aloud to someone else, thinking I was reassuring or comforting them. I have said it to remind myself that, try as I might, I cannot control everything. Some things are out of my control, and I have to recognize that and just let it go. It is not healthy to hold on to things not in my control. Sort of like the serenity prayer. It’s important to know the difference. I am certainly guilty of holding on too long.

Letting go is a process – it takes time. Just like change takes time – and is also a process.

Funny thing about change – it doesn’t just happen to one person. The other person is affected as well, even if it’s only a byproduct. And when one person grows and changes and the other doesn’t, another change happens. The relationship itself changes, and not always for the better. Thus, my use of the expression “it is what it is”.

When I kept my stuttering hidden for so long, I “was” a certain way. I fell into a pattern, holding on to habits, some of them bad. I didn’t realize it at the time. Some of those habits protected me, or so I thought. People got used to quiet Pam, who avoided certain situations, deferring to others to make choices for me. I was almost invisible sometimes.

But as circumstances in my life changed, I was confronted with an inevitable choice. Stay the same and stay stuck, or venture out of my little box, take risks and see what life had to offer. I chose to see what life offered when I was in charge. I began to make decisions that were good for Pam, without feeling guilt. (Well, in most areas anyway- I have many thoughts to share on guilt as well).

I began to trust that it was in my best interest to engage with the world, offer my gifts and have some control over my evolution as a person. I discovered I had always let life just happen and then found myself picking up the pieces when things went bad. I never put myself first. It was more fulfilling to be part of a world that I was contributing to. I had more control, and felt ownership over both the good and bad. I was becoming strong, confident, and on my way.

But as I grew and changed, it became noticeable that my partner was not at all rejoicing. Rather, it appeared he resented this “new me”. He started criticizing my involvement in new activities, and would say negative things when I talked about my involvement in those things and how excited I was to be experiencing this stuff for the first time.

He asked me to stay home and skip things I wanted to do, and would try to guilt me. When I tried to tell him how I felt, he told me he didn’t want to hear it, made it seem like my feelings weren’t important. He clearly did not like the idea of “Pam putting Pam first”. I could tell. He yelled a lot, or gave me the silent treatment. Tension became more commonplace, as change happened. Trouble was, I was relishing the change, feeling it warmly envelope me. I recognized that it was a needed change, a change for the better. My betterment.

It seemed like each step I took forward, he was trying to pull me back. I tried to reassure him that change and growth is part of life. I wasn’t leaving him behind, but invited him to come forward with me. He doesn’t want to go. He wants things to stay the same. He has made this clear in his words and actions. He has always had a need to be in control and in charge. And I have decided that I don’t want to live like that anymore.

I am no longer in hiding, afraid to show my true self to the world. He can’t control me the way he used to, the way I allowed him to. I am making choices now. That is a big change for him, for both of us, for our relationship. Our relationship is not the same as it was when I was afraid to show my emotions and stuttering. It has changed. I have changed. I have evolved. We have decisions to make – I have decisions to make. We may not agree on the decisions that are ultimately made. We will face even more change. This much I know is true: change doesn’t only happen to one person.

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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.