Make Room For The Stuttering

How You Talk

Posted on: March 20, 2009

Yesterday I ran into someone I used to work with quite a while ago. After catching up, she mentioned that she had seen me on a television program about stuttering that I did last year. (The PBS station replays it frequently. Sometimes at midnight. Other people have mentioned that they have seen it when unable to sleep and randomly flipping channels.) She seemed reluctant to say the word stuttering -she twice referred to it as “the speech thing”. She went on to say that she never knew, that I did a good job covering it up.

I have another friend who also seems uncomfortable saying the word stuttering. When we talk and my stuttering comes up (which it rarely does), he refers to it as a communication issue.

One of my sisters also is very uncomfortable with talking about stuttering, and the once or twice we have dared to go there, she has used the phrase “how you talk”. She has shared with me that her daughter has done very well in recent speech therapy, but she pointed out that is is not related to “how you talk”.

So this makes me wonder – are people in my world uncomfortable with the word stuttering? Even though I think I am very open, and often talk about stuttering. I know growing up, it was totally taboo. The fact that I stuttered was never mentioned, it almost seemed like a bad word. Or maybe people think they are “sparing” me in some way by not calling a spade a spade. Are they trying to be polite? Respectful? Politically correct?

I used to be extremely uncomfortable with stuttering, obviously. That’s why I hid it for so long. And used so many tricks or avoided. Could it be that I am still giving off some kind of vibe? That people feel the need to use some form of euphemism? I don’t think I do, but maybe I need to check myself. And its certainly not with everyone. Maybe just certain people? Hmmmmm.

On my resume, I note the NSA – a National Speech Advocacy organization. Whats that all about? It looks like I don’t want to use the word stuttering myself on a professional document. Is that true?

I am not going to be too hard on myself. I am just reflecting on some things that maybe need to be reflected on.

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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.