Make Room For The Stuttering

I Don’t Want To Be Fixed

Posted on: May 7, 2009

So I have pretty much decided that I am not going to participate in stuttering therapy this summer. It will be the first time in three years.  I am going through a little bit of  early-mourning already, because I really like hanging out with people who stutter, and I like to talk about stuttering. We have group and individual therapy with a graduate student. I will miss the group the most.

I realize that I don’t want to fix my stuttering. So maybe attending a group called “Fluency Council”  is not quite right for me now.

When I discussed this with good friend, and SLP extraordinaire, Joe, who stutters, he suggested that maybe I have “transcended” therapy. That maybe I have got all I can get as a client participating in fluency shaping and stuttering modification. I don’t want to shape my fluency or modify my stuttering.  I really just want to be me, in all of my stuttering glory. And I think that’s OK right now.

But with this realization comes knowing I will seriously miss what has become a Monday night staple in my life. You learn so much by interacting with others who stutter, even when I just listen, or when we seriously disagree. I have voiced my disagreement when fellow people who stutter have talked about fluency being critical, and have challenged people who have said they feel they have failed when they don’t practice their fluency targets enough. I now know why I get so riled up when I voice my disagreement or strong opinion. I have very strong feelings about “who I am being equated with fluency.”

Because I am not looking for fluency. That is not the end-all in my life. I don’t want to be fixed. So if  I am not striving for fluency, then maybe I shouldn’t go to fluency council anymore.  Or maybe I just need time off. Or maybe I am just confused. What do you think?

I am also going to seriously miss co-leading Parent group. I was sort of surprised when told I wouldn’t be needed next semester to help lead the group. I loved sharing my experiences with stuttering – all of it – good and bad – with parents. I loved feeling that I was making an impact. Making stuttering less awful for parents of kids who stutter. I got a lot of positive feedback from parents. I saw value and purpose in my stuttering experience. I think I will mourn this too. Because there is value in what we bring to the table.

If I am all wet here, feel free to let me know. I can take it. 

Also, feel free to tell me that I Rock! All of us are Stutter Rock Stars!

8 Responses to "I Don’t Want To Be Fixed"

On the infant loss support group, we find moms who are at a state of acceptance but aren’t ready to move forward yet because the grieving itself has become a part of their lives. If they let go of the trappings of grieving (even though they no longer feel the grief) they feel they’ve let go of yet another part of their lost baby, and therefore they’re afraid to take that last step.

It sounds as if you’re in that threshhold stage. To me, that seems normal. It’s a phase of the letting go, the way a baby who learns to walk is unwilling to let go and take a step even though he can physically walk. Emotionally, he knows that walking is going to make him a little less of a baby, and growing up is scary.

There are always clingy feelings when we make a transition, but you have reached a state of acceptance where you’re on the threshhold of moving forward. It’s wonderful and it’s scary at the same time, and you do rock because you’re moving forward rather than remaining stuck in something you have come to recognize is a bad fit for you at this point in time.

I agree with Philangelus here, but from another angle: the group’s stage. Groups change and evolve as their members do. It sounds like this group at this time is not ready for your message. They need to try fluency, see whether it works for them, and grieve if doesn’t, before they’ll be ready to try something else.

As you’ve found, there are groups where people are ready for your message.

Very good point, and thanks for sharing that. I was starting to take it a little personally when I felt the group resistance, but I am loosening up and realizing that there is a time and place for everything.

Everybody works at this at their own pace, and I know that. Group dynamics are fascinating actually, and I want to be a part of this group.

There is a place for all of us – I am finding that as I continue on this amazing journey.

For some reason I got the song “Torn” by Natalia Imbruglia in my head while reading this. I am glad you have reached the realization of not needing to be fixed, well done! But why can’t you still go to meetings and hang out with your friends? Do you need to want fluency to be in the fluency council?
I feel bad for the SLP students who won’t get the chance to meet you, and grow wiser from what you could/would teach them. But I get that you don’t want to be the Ginni-pig. There is great value to what you have taught the parent group this year!! Did you get a reason for not going back?

You and Joe rock!!

Most of the people in the group want fluency, so its an uncomfortable dynamic for me right now. Maybe it’s because the group is 90% men. I definitely think men and women have different emotions about stuttering. And I am having a relationship with my stuttering, most of the guys in the group aren’t aiming for that. So, yes, I feel very torn.

I should look for that song! Thanks! 🙂

Tihi, I can send you a link if you want. Also, if you’re worried about what to do on Monday nights, I’m always available to lend an ear ;o) I know it’s not the same though, but I’m here, always.

Hi Pam,

I definitely found your comments interesting when you discussed why you get so riled up when you voice your disagreement about being equated with fluency.

Whenever I attend the NSA conferences with my teammates, I always find myself challenged by new points of view. In many ways, it’s easy to say “Well I don’t have to listen to anyone else and I don’t want to associate myself with those who want to change me.” One time I walked into a local pizza place near my house and there was a sign with Italian proverbs and one that literally translated meant “Respect others and you will be respected.” All of us do have different viewpoints on what we’d like stuttering to be. Some of us love the intensive workshops, others feel it’s not for them. Regardless, I wouldn’t want to be changed. I have accepted myself as a teammate who stutters, and I know I will go forward and embrace the challenges out there, however many there are.

I’d love to hear how the presentation goes.

I will let you know personally, and I am sure I will blog about it.

I am having the local media there – so excited, and so is the school. I went there today to get a tour, and met a couple of kids who stutter, so they’d know me and what to expect before Tuesday. One in 3rd grade, one in 5th grade. They never heard an adult stutter!

Thanks for leaving a comment here! I love your blog too, I have it linked to my site.

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