Make Room For The Stuttering

Does The World Look Inside?

Posted on: February 22, 2009

When I stutter, sometimes it is repetitions, or prolongations, or a pause or silence. I hear it, and sometimes still get momentarily embarrassed. I might squeeze one eye shut, or break eye contact, which I know I shouldn’t do, but that is my “shame habit” coming out to play.

I can tell how a listener hears it – reactions vary. A look of surprise flashes quickly, raised eye brow, silent question forming, silent struggle to remain patient and composed. Sometimes it is more blatant – a look away, or a smirk, or a full blown giggle. Then sometimes the incredulous voiced question – Are you OK? Are you just playing? Whats going on?

Does the world ever look inside me, to see the real me, past the stuttered moments, past the quick embarrassment, but to just see me. Pam, who is real, with feelings, aware of a different speech pattern, full of emotion – empathy, compassion, shame, fear – does the world see inside or does the world get stuck at what they heard or saw?

We should get into the habit of looking inside -that is where beauty and hope live. Being stuck is “outside stuck”, like your head being stuck in the circular cut-out of a big wooden fence, a fence meant to keep people out. We had one like that around our yard, to keep people out. Thing was, I always wanted them to come in, and look inside. They would have seen so much.

Once, I tried to fit my head in that circle and imagined getting stuck, much like I got stuck with words. I imagined that’s how it must look to the world, who only seeks to look at the outside, which is not the true picture. If you look inside, you see what I see – words swirling, ready to leap out and take their place outside, but kind of being processed first, in my inside place, where I double check if it is safe, much like I double checked that my head wouldn’t really get stuck in the fence opening. I guess lots of kids try that – it is irresistible to see if you can defy stuckness.

When you stutter, you experience stuckness from the inside, and only you can see that. By the time I’m unstuck, the world has gone on to something else outside and I am left with the fence.

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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.