Make Room For The Stuttering

Where Do I Put The Blocks?

Posted on: June 13, 2009

I think I may be in denial about blocking. I do not block, I find myself saying, a lot. When I hear other people who stutter talk about having blocks – both audible or silent – I think to myself, whew, glad that doesn’t happen to me.

But it does. For some reason, I just don’t want to call it a block. Sometimes I think of it as a spasm, others times a tremor or even a “stuck”. Whatever it is, I seem to be doing more of it lately.

Like yesterday at work – and this is really not a big deal – but at the moment, it was. Someone had rang the emergency bell from a classroom into the main office. The office clerk answers it, hears kids laughing, and she re-sets the bell. Kids had got access to the bell -they ring it again. She answers it again. Kids beep back, laughing. (Talk about crying wolf – but it is the last days of school for this year.)  Gym teacher walks by, he says, “well, that’s going well”, and a  couple of us chuckle. Clerk asks me what were we laughing about, and I tried to tell her, “Eric said ‘ that’s g **ing well’ , but I got stuck on the g, really stuck.  It came out “gggggggggggg” and nothing else. I couldn’t finish the word.

She got “the look” on her face -she got tired of waiting – and I just said “never mind.” I half-heartedly laughed it off, but I wasn’t buying it. I felt my face flush, that involuntary thing that always gives me away.  I hardly ever back down and say never mind, but I did. The “g” just wasn’t coming out. It was stuck.

Now, I am pretty sure that what really happened was a block. Its been happening more often lately. Not just on the phone, either. Maybe my stuttering pattern is changing a little bit. No big deal, right? After all, I am writing about making room for my stuttering, so I should be all right with these more frequent “stoppages.” I should be fine with accepting all of the different ways I stutter.

But guess what?  I’m not. I really don’t like this kind of stuttering. Really makes me feel like I am not in control. My repetitions are generally relaxed and easy, with a beat, as I recently discovered (!), but these abrupt stoppages are not my style at all. Not what I have been used to. Not what I have been OK with over the last three years.

I have put together a neat little package of what I call “my stuttering”. It hasn’t included this part. Why the denial? I can’t even call it “blocking”. I use other words. There must be something I still need to work on then, right?  We all have things we have to work on.

This is big for me – to write about and process something that I am presently conflicted about. Usually I feel more comfortable writing about something AFTER I have figured it out. Safer. So, where do I put the blocks?

Copyright © 2009

7 Responses to "Where Do I Put The Blocks?"

So, when we were talking about this yesterday Pam, you were “blocking”. And quite a bit too. (Not long, but more often) And like I told you then, I think it’s very possible your stutterpattern is changing. I don’t know why, or how, but I believe it’s possible. Just like people with TS change tics over the years. (Not to compare stuttering with TS, but you know what I mean, right?)

As for you not being ok with that is also very understandable. Because you are used to the way you talk now, have come a really long way in accepting that, and you feel like you know what’s gonna happen when you stutter now. But suddenly you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. You don’t know how long a block is gonna last, or if you will even get out of it. But you will. You will adapt to this, just like you have every other thing that has happened in your life. And you will learn to see Rainn for who she is, not just a part of her, but all of her. And your friends will be there with you, and support you all the way. I know I want to explore this with you, see where it takes us 🙂

Yes, I was doing whatever this is – stopping, spasmodic, halting, locking, tremoring. I can’t figure out why more of this is going on,and why I really have a problem calling it blocking.

I know it has to do with control, but I think subconsciously, it makes me more of a stutterer than I have previously owned.

I have analyzed my stuttering and put it together in a neat little package that Rainn and I carry with us. There is no room in this box for the blocks. I guess I need a bigger box.

Yeah, I guess you need a bigger box. Cause the stuttering you can’t help… We will have to talk about this, as we have found that is the best way of figuring things out. Maybe our friend will have some input this evening too? 🙂


I think accepting oneself as a PWS is a process and a journey. It’s not just a one time thing, where you have an experience and say, ok I now accept myself as a PWS and that’s that.

As you point out, it’s ok if you have a mild block or stutter, but it’s not ok if you have a severe one. So I think we need to
“re-accept” ourselves as PWS multiple times and under various conditions for it to really become who we are


Hey you guys,

Yeah, this is different for me. Mild stuff is one thing, this I am not used to. I like the way Matt says it: constantly re-accepting self.

But it really is easier said than done. I have found myself getting a little frustrated lately.So processing like this, both personally and publicly, really helps.

And the elephant parable – really moved me!

Hi Pam
I’m so glad you shared this. Blocks feel different from repeating words don’t they? I’m getting to be ok with little stutters which I no longer hide. But when they are hard stutters, or in your case when you block if you are happy to call it that, they feel really out of control and that makes us feel really helpless. I guess as coverts we are not used to being out of control because we have always hidden our stuttering. So when we actually really do stutter or block hard like overt stutterers often do, it is a bit of a shock to our little covert systems. Acceptance is probably ongoing for us, and you will grow your acceptance skin or container to fit this in too.
O by the way, I did my talk at church last weekend and it went ok. I did some fairly audible stuttering on, guess what, the word “stutter” (such a hideous word to say). I had some lovely reactions and am glad I made myself stay with the stutters and didn’t switch the words or do any of the other hiding tricks.

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