Make Room For The Stuttering

Who Influences Us?

Posted on: February 5, 2010

In preparation for a talk I am doing next week to SLPs, I have done some extra reading of blogs and professional papers on stuttering. Not that I am not already an expert. An expert on my own stuttering, of course! I just like to have fresh ideas on my mind.

I have thought, what influences us when it comes to our stuttering or fluency? Is there certain environments or people who influence us in some way, or that we remember having some sort of impact on us? Even not specifically speech related, I have thought about some of the people or situations that have influenced my life in some way.

I feel like sharing them today. These are some significant people or instances that have made a real impact on me.

My father – my earliest memories are of him yelling at me for the way I talked, or for crying, or for not doing something good enough.

Sr Eleanor – a high school teacher who showed interest and cared about me and even came to my house once to meet my parents to help me figure out what was going on at home.

Wally – a counselor at the Catholic camp that I worked at for two summers (far away from home). Wally escorted me to my Senior prom.

Sonia – my first room-mate at college, who made me realize it was OK to be who I was, because try as I did, I couldn’t be her.

Latourian – the first kid I ever worked with that I just did not like and she did not like me. It was OK – neither of us died from the experience.

Mary – the first person I met at my very first NSA meeting. Listening to someone who talked like me and realizing she was like me, and totally normal, was very reassuring.

Peter – one of the first people who talked openly about the covert struggle. His openness inspired me to be more open about my “secret”.

Jim B- he publicly ridiculed me at work about my stuttering, propelling me to finally want to stand up and speak up for myself

Jean- a wonderful counselor, person and gift. She helped me through some dark times, and then faced her own. She is with the angels now, still watching over me.

Jay – he walks with me on this journey, helping me to see myself and feel my feelings. He allows me to be me when we are together and is not afraid to explore tough stuff.

Rich – my best friend for 23 years. We love and support each other unconditionally. He has helped me understand emotional intimacy.

Kim and Trish – two of my sisters. We have reconnected in a real way after so many years of absence. We lived the same childhoods, yet we are uniquely unique.

My mother – her sickness made me grow up so much faster than I would have had I had a choice.

Me – I have made many changes in the past several years. Sometimes I don’t even recognize  myself anymore. I ask. “Who’s that?”

Who has significantly impacted your life? How does it feel to think about these important people? I feel I have paid tribute to them, in some respect, even if the experience was not entirely positive.

5 Responses to "Who Influences Us?"

I read your list I couldn’t help but think WOW! Some truly awesome people came into your life. I can think of a handful of people that have truly impacted my life in a big way in regards to my stuttering. In no particular order.

1.Professor from college. His the first person I can remember who truly waits patiently for to me to finish what I am saying, and doesn’t seem uncomfortable with my stuttering. I still find this amazing three years later because I never told him to do any of that. He is also the first person I sat down with and had a conversation about stuttering, and boy it felt AMAZING! I still keep in contact with this professor.

2. Another professor from college. After he observed me teaching a lesson, I asked him if he thought my stuttering got in the way. He responded by saying, what do you think? I said I didn’t think so. He said I didn’t think either. Those few words meant the world to me and still do! I could tell he really meant it too! I still keep in contact with this professor.

3. My awesome friends who I’ve become open about my stuttering with.

4. Everyone involved in my speech therapy group!

5. So many people in the stuttering community!

When I think about this people I feel very blessed to have had them come into my life. Without them and their support I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Exactly Sarah. When we allow ourselves to be open about our stuttering and anything else we have feared, all of a sudden it seems as if our life is full of amazing people. Even some of the bad experiences I have had with people seem a blessing now. Becasue we learn from the good and the bad in our lives.

I couldn’t believe it myself when I sat and thought about this. My list could have went on to be much bigger. Maybe in another post.

A new friend (Patrick) shared with me: “When we put forth our fears, we no longer fear them”. Stuttering too, right?

Yeah, I agree with what Patrick said. Today, I was doing some speech assignments by calling Coldstones and and asking what time they closed. I was trying to self-advertise and the lady hung up on me. I knew it was coming because she was saying hello? hello? I decided to stay in my block and continue work on keeping sound in my block. Afterwards, I just started laughing I guess at the fact that she actually hung up on me. That was the first time ever someone had hung up on me.


Unfortunately, I cannot publish all of your comments. Thank you for the link to the McGuire program and for your interest and support of John Harrison.

I will look forward to meeting you in Cleveland. I have met Mr Harrison once at a NSA conference and have one of his books on public speaking. I am sure he knows you are using his name and linking yourself to him, yes?

Its funny, but you use some of the same language, phrases, and even misspellings that someone else did here. That person was not very supportive, and in fact, made many rude comments about people who stutter who check in to this and the many other blogs on stuttering. That’s why this blog automatically checks for spam and not-no-nice comments.

I welcome positive and helpful comments anytime.

Best wishes to you, Marcus, and thanks again! Please keep reading.

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