Make Room For The Stuttering

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Posted on: April 27, 2010

A conversation I just had via email with a fellow PWS just made me think of this line. It is from a  Christmas song, one that I used to love when I was younger. I loved the melody, and the fact that each key line was repeated.  

The second chorus goes, “Do you hear what I hear? Do you hear what I hear? A song, a song, high above the tree, with a voice as big as the sea, with a voice as big as the sea”.

Most people who stutter probably don’t think of themselves of having a voice as big as the sea. But we do as we keep speaking out and speaking up. Our voice gets louder and louder.

My on-line friend Sarah had recently watched one of my videos and asked me if the stuttering she heard and saw was my usual way of stuttering. I asked her why, and she said because it was so easy and struggle free.

I commented that if that was a compliment, then I was saying thank you. But I also jokingly said to her that I wish I didn’t even do easy and struggle free stuttering. I would of course prefer not stuttering at all. And then I said, just kidding – my stuttering is what makes me “me”.

This brief conversation made me think about perception, which is loosely defined as our understanding or intuitive recognition of something.

Over the last several years, people have commented to me that my stuttering is pleasant to listen to, as it is easy and relaxed.  Today Sarah mentions similar and adds that it is struggle-free.

I have never perceived my stuttering like that. I hear my stuttering as interrupted, broken speech, that makes me feel tense and sometimes self-conscious. That’s my perception. Then others perceive it as relaxed, easy to listen to, free of tension. It makes me wonder – do you hear what I hear? How are we perceiving the same utterances differently?

It feels funny to say “thank you” when someone says that to me. Am I supposed to say “thank you”? Are they paying me a compliment?

Or are they just pointing out their perception, as if saying, “well if you have to stutter, at least it’s the nice easy, relaxed kind,  that’s easy on the listener”.  Are they saying it in comparison to their own stuttering, or stuttering that they have heard if it’s not their own?

Perception! A funny thing. Two people can perceive the exact same thing, sight or sound completely differently. Like the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Or “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

I now may think about this the next time I hear the line in the song, “do you hear what I hear?”

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2 Responses to "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

I really enjoyed this post. I think what we perceive matters the most! Great analogy!

I really like that song too:) I love Christmas<3. I have listened to you stutter before and that also that you have a very relaxed and easy way of stuttering BUT that is my opinion of what I hear and perceive I don't know what is happening inside of your own mind. when you were a kid you probbaly that it was really hard and was fustrating to talk like that and it was a struggle to talk because that was the only stutterer (you) that you knew and could relate to.

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