Make Room For The Stuttering

The Real World

Posted on: March 5, 2009

Its funny when people say things like, “in the real world, people don’t do that” or “I would never act like that in the real world”. Like the world you and I live in is not real.

I work with high school students and they say stuff like this every day. They assure me that they would never wear their jeans down to their knees, or color their hair green, or use profanity in the real world. They convince us, and themselves, that they can turn their feelings and behaviors on and off to suit the situation. That they will become someone else when its time for the employment or college interview.

Now with high school students, I can accept this, to some degree. They’re young, haven’t had too much experience yet, and don’t have too much perspective on what “real” really is.

But those of us who have been around for a while know what real is, or at least have a pretty good idea. Its not what we see on TV, or at the movies. Its what happens as we live our life. It’s our experiences and our interactions with the world. I am not very good at turning things on and off. With me, its pretty much “what you see is what you get”. Even with my very variable and situational stuttering.

Someone commented on a post that I made recently on another forum and indicated that the “real world” doesn’t accept stuttering. That no matter how real we are and with how we present ourselves, that the world is uncomfortable with overt stuttering. That it makes sense for people who stutter, who are in the public eye, to keep it hidden. That stuttering is a social stigma.

I suppose it is. There are always people who need to be educated on stuttering, because after all, there is only 1% of the population that stutters. The other 99% can’t be bothered with us, don’t have time, feel uncomfortable around us. Shun us, would prefer that we email or text message.

I live in the real world. I talk to school personnel, parents, students and community members every day. Sometimes, you wouldn’t know I stutter. Other times it is very obvious. But, as the kids say, “I do me”. That’s all I can do. I think the kids I work with respect the fact that I am very honest. I will mention that I stutter, and that I’m OK with it. I think kids instinctively know when we are “bull-sh*tting” them. They can see right through adults who are lying. Need an example? Just open any newspaper and see who is making news and for what.

I am not on an “acceptance pedestal”. I just think that in this world full of discontent, disconnect and just plain dissing, that being “Real” is not such a bad thing.

Welcome to the real world, kids.

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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.