Make Room For The Stuttering

Of My Own Volition and Taz

Posted on: April 14, 2009

I remember the first time I heard anyone suggest I try voluntary stuttering, I remember thinking, “what a ridiculous thought”. I couldn’t imagine doing on purpose that which I had tried to avoid or cover up for years. It just didn’t make sense.

But it did make sense. When I learned that voluntary stuttering actually gives you some control over your stuttering, that made sense to me. Because control has always been an issue with me.

I had very little control over what happened as a child growing up in chaos. I had no control when my mom drank. I had no control when my dad was constantly criticizing me or ruling the house with a physical fist. I had no control over my speech. I was yearning for something to be in control of, even as a scared little girl.

Years later, as an adult, I would have stuttering moments where I felt such a lack of control that it felt like I was that terrified child all over again. Sometimes I drag my words, and my jaw and lips seem to go with the drag. It is like a tremor in my lips -where I have absolutely no control.I never knew that this was actually referred to as “blocking”, because when I was covert I also denied that I stuttered.

Now that I am being open, overt and accepting, having a tool for control was intriguing in a way.
I could choose where and when to stutter purposefully, and I could control how it would sound. Except of course when the voluntary stutter turns into a real stuttering moment. That happens once in a while, and the control changes.

I have found voluntary stuttering to be most useful when I actually talk about stuttering. Either one-on-one or in a group. If I am “not stuttering enough” I will throw some purposeful stutters in, for good measure and to lend credibility. Yeah, that’s right. I sometimes feel I am not stuttering enough. That is a thought perhaps unique to covert stutterers. That feeling of being caught between both worlds. Oh, what a bittersweet feeling.

Being able to stutter on purpose gives me a sense of control, even if only for a millisecond. I have initiated the stuttering and I am in charge of that space. Even if it turns real, which is OK too.

Now I know why I am so enthralled with my Tasmanian Devil auto air freshener. It has long lost any scent, and is faded from the sun. I also have a favorite Loony Tunes character shirt with Taz proclaiming to be a “control freak”. So Taz and me have something in common. We share that “feel-good” feeling that comes with having control of a little piece of our world.

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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.