Make Room For The Stuttering

Someone Who Sounds Like Me

Posted on: August 31, 2009

My friend Yara called last night and asked if I had a few minutes to talk. She was emotional and crying before I got even two words out. Yara had been at a friend’s house, sharing dinner and talking. The talking led to disclosure of Yara’s feelings about her stuttering, something she had never been comfortable doing before with non-stuttering friends. Yara shared that she decided to mention that she she had been stuttering a lot more lately, and her friend responded back that she had noticed. Yara confided to me that this threw her for a loop, that she expected her friend to say something like, “Oh, its no big deal. I hardly notice that you stutter.”

When the response affirmed that, yes, someone noticed that Yara really does stutter, and the world didn’t come to an end, Yara experienced an overwhelming wave of emotion. She felt she needed to reach out to someone who could understand. She went outside to place a call and she called me.

Now that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but for Yara it was. She has always tried to be covert and has NEVER been open about stuttering with anyone outside of her stuttering world. She always tried to keep those two worlds separate. She has never reached out, always tried to deal with everything on her own.

Yara told me how vulnerable she felt and how surprised she was by the powerful emotions. She also said she wanted to reach out to me because she knew I would be proud of her. I was, and told her that. I also told her that if I had been with her, I would have given her a huge hug. And she said, “maybe that’s what I need. Isn’t that odd?” I reassured her that this was not odd at all, that we are all human and need our humanity to remind us of  just that. Yara went on to say that she called me because she wanted to hear “someone who sounds like me.” And she said she had never felt so “free and empowered.” I paused after she said this, a long silence, needed for both of us to let this run through us.

Those words brought me to tears. I felt so moved and proud at that moment, which I don’t fully understand. I was honored that she felt safe enough to do that, to show her emotions and vulnerability with me. I made sure to tell her that, which seemed to bring fresh tears. But they were  good tears. We had shared a tremendously powerful moment. Yara mentioned that her stuttering has been much more pronounced lately and she has felt overwhelmed by it. I gently reminded her that it is all part of the process and shared that my stuttering has been changing and evolving too. Yara mentioned, “Isn’t it funny how our control changes from day to day?’

This exchange took no longer than twenty minutes, but it so touched me. That my friend felt safe enough to call me at a vulnerable moment, and that I was able to be present with her.

Life is made up of moments like this. And it’s about the richness that we cultivate and seek. We have to be sure we are ready to receive these moments as they happen.

Will you know what to do when someone reaches out to you? Sometimes, you don’t have to do anything. Just open your heart.

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5 Responses to "Someone Who Sounds Like Me"

Oh wow ,this is so close to home and as i’m reading this emotion has got to me too.
I was at friends last night and i feel i can be quite open there ,but friends mum said ”Actually i don’t think your speech is that bad ,i spoke to a guy and he’s was so much worse than yours ”
i didnt know what to say b/c for me at the moment i’m struggling with my speech ,it is an issue to me ,so only chatting to someone else that stutters truly helps as they get it…..
So thanks Pam for sharing this experience with us
lisa xx

Feeling safe is what it is all about and when someone finds me to be a “safe harbor” it really fills my heart with joy and overwhelming emotion. I know I feel very safe with you Pam.

jamie

I love this!! What a rare and special gift to be able to feel safe and vulnerable with someone. I always treasure when my friends/clients/strangers share a part of them so personal. get how huge it can be especially because I am typically a private person.
To be able to be there for your friend and just listen is sometimes more than enough! Pam— I love the personal growth that you continue to explore because it leds to this authenticity of sharing what only you can. Everyone has a story —and there are people who need to hear it!

Wow, beautiful.

The feelings experienced by both of you. The way you tell it is like being there experiencing it with you.

Wow! I’m so glad she felt safe enough to talk to you, and I’m so glad you were able to be there for her and with her. That’s an amazing gift to have 🙂

I feel that you’re very right about the last part you said, about just being there and open your heart. I’ve found on several occasions that if I just keep quiet long enough, the person I’m talking to will find that they actually can talk about what they want and need to. If I start talking and giving my opinion on everything we may not get to the real issue.

I hope Yara tries to talk to more of her friends who fluents, and that they understand. Good luck to both of you on your journeys!

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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.