Make Room For The Stuttering

Guest Blogger: Bobby On Dating

Posted on: December 13, 2010

A young man wrote a very poignant letter to the on-line group Stutt-l, sharing his concerns about dating and his fears that women never seem to be able to look past his stuttering. The young man ponders will it ever be possible for him to find someone who will be happy with him as he is. He doesn’t think so!

Several people responded to 27-year-old Justin, and one man in particular shared his very personal story about his own fears and insecurities. I was so moved by his share that I asked Bobby Childers if he would be willing to share on this blog as today’s guest blogger and he kindly agreed. ( These are Bobby’s words. with minor editing).

Dear Justin,

 I have stuttered since I was 5 years old (I’m now 53),  so I’ve been doing it so long I’ve gotten rather good at it.  I started speech therapy back in the 3rd grade in 1966 and I kept at it until 6th grade.  I never had many friends at school or away from school, but I always attributed that to the fact that I didn’t like people.  It wasn’t until much later in my adult life I discovered that I was only fooling myself.

 In the 9th grade I met the girl who would become my wife many years later.  I used to see her everyday at lunch, and would stop by and tell her a really bad joke (which of course took me 3 days to tell it) and then I would run off before she could respond.  I guess you could say that I loved her from afar, for many years.

 I was a hard-core Moto-X racer (dirt motorcycle) from about the age of 8, so I traveled all over the southwest US racing.  It was my escape from the day-to-day frustrations of stuttering and not being able to talk to anyone, including my family.  When I was on my motorcycle, I could talk to anyone, but once I got off, the stuttering came back full force.

 I graduated high school and went to college for a couple of years, but I couldn’t handle the stress of so many “new” people I saw and/or met everyday. Trying to introduce myself was worse than “Nightmare on Elm Street”, so I quit college!  I went back home and found a job where I didn’t have to talk to people much (computers as that is what I studied in college).  I kept to myself, never attempted to date for fear of being ridiculed, laughed at, etc.  I kept racing my motorcycle because that was my freedom from everything. 

 By the time I was 27 I had broken every bone in my body, some 3, 4, 5 even 6 times and was fast becoming a full-fledged alcoholic because of my insecurities with my speech.  In 1985 I was invited to my 10th High School reunion by the girl I used to tell bad jokes to in the 9th grade.  I had a Citizens Band radio in my truck (I was called “The Shadow” and she was called “Rainbow”) because there no one knew who I was or anything else but what they heard on the radio.  For short periods of time I could talk fairly smooth on the radio and when my speech began to falter I would get off for a while.

 I went to the reunion under protest as I didn’t associate much with anyone back then and re-met the “love of my life”.  She and her two kids (girl-7, boy-4) were in an abusive relationship and she was trying to get out with the kids.  About 18 months later she became my wife and I became an “instant parent”.  At the end of January 2011, it will be 25 years we’ve been married.

In 1999 after the son graduated high school, we all went to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM and started college.  The next spring I got into speech therapy at the University due to one of my professors who recommended it.  The student clinicians there (I had 4 over spring, summer and fall semesters of 2000) taught me more than they were supposed to do. 

They did teach me fluency techniques to help ease my stuttering, but they also taught me (I was 42 at the time) that I was more than my stuttering.  I was a real person who had good qualities that I could and should share with others.  I had to leave speech therapy during the spring 2001 semester as I was in my final semester and between work/school, I just didn’t have the time.  But I did try to keep up with the techniques I was taught.

I joined this support group because of my student clinicians, who made a huge difference in my life. I want to give back and help others on their journey. I finally had someone to talk to that actually knew the frustrations, anxiety and pain I felt my whole life.  My wife and daughter helped me understand along with the student clinicians that I really was more than my speech.  Now I have 3 granddaughters (5, 12 and 15) and none of them are bothered the least bit by my speech. 

You need to see that you will find the right girl out there who will accept you for what and who you are, which is not your stuttering.  Don’t go after a girl with the intention of a date; instead look for a friend who just happens to be a girl.  As much as I hate saying this (I’m the one who has stated for many, many years that “I hate wives, kids, cats and dogs” and of course they all ignore me…..so not fair), but women and girls seem to have a unique ability to see inside a guy’s outward persona. 

Women will be able to see through any facade you present to them and will know if you want to know them as a friend or a sexual conquest.  Tell them you stutter, and you have gotten good at it, but it is not the ONLY you, it is just a small part of the real you.  Tell them as time goes on and you become more familiar with her, your stuttering may reduce somewhat, but it is always there waiting on the outside wings. 

You will know soon enough if they like “you” or are ashamed of “you”.  The ones who are ashamed don’t deserve you. Look for someone else that sees beyond the speech.

I was 29 when I got married (actually 28 and 10 months), so there is still time for you to meet the “girl of your dreams”, and she is out there, somewhere where you will probably least expect it. Once you find her, she will be your best friend for life, and will probably become your wife for life in the process.

I have been in your shoes and walked more than a mile in them. Be yourself, if you stutter, so be it, and go on. Don’t make a big issue out of it or she will wonder who you really are.  Women don’t want a phony; they want someone who is real, with real flaws and quirks as they have their own. Laugh with them, not at them, and remember to not take yourself too seriously.

 Bobby

Advertisements

4 Responses to "Guest Blogger: Bobby On Dating"

Hmmm . . . . good advice for men or women, stutter or not. Sometimes its all about how we perceive ourselves, right? If we act confident, then we are more likely to attract people to us.
Good information.

Such a great post Pam. This is really very encouraging for all of us, we all need to be ourselves and not somebody else. Justin should be greatly encouraged by this.

Great post Pam. We need to be who and what we are instead of acting like who we want to be.

We knew Bobby way-back-when. He was “the cowboy” at our wedding 30 years ago. We have lost track and would love to get in touch with him again. He has always been a caring and helpful man … and will deny it if you asks (smiles). Please help us get in touch again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Podcasts, Posts, Videos

Glad you're stopping by!

  • 473,500 visits

Monthly Archives!

Copyright Notice

© 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.