Make Room For The Stuttering

Let It Be

Posted on: April 7, 2011

I found myself responding to someone who was thinking out loud about stuttering. She said, “I just don’t get it.”  I mused she probably was referring to, “Why is stuttering so unpredictable?”

The variability and complexity of how we sound, how we feel, how one day it’s one way and the next it is completely different is quite amazing. To me, anyway. There are some who will surely find ways to describe stuttering that does not include the adjective “amazing.”

For a long time, I tried to figure things out – why this, why that, why some people react one way, why others say dumb things, why sometimes I am like an open book, and other times, I find myself with heat on my face and my heart thumping. I stopped trying to figure it out.

It is so much easier to just let things be the way they are going to be. It sounds simplistic. Perhaps it may even seem to minimize the struggle of stuttering for some.

I have an embroidered framed art piece of one of my favorite sayings, “It Is What It Is”. I used to think that even thinking that about stuttering or my reaction was a “cop-out”. Some things are just going to happen and life will go on. I have determined that to be a fact.

No matter how hard I try to analyze or rationalize or convince myself otherwise, some days I am going to stutter a lot and feel tense, and some days I am going to hardly stutter at all.

I think sometimes its harder to just relax and let my natural self be. I had become so used to making excuses, rationalizing, over-thinking, obsessing about everything. It’s what I did, all of the time. That was when I considered myself very covert about my stuttering.

Now, to just relax and be, really BE, sometimes I have to remind myself of just that – that who I am is really OK. Screw everyone else who doesn’t think so.

Yes, this is hard to do in a (perceived) judgmental world, but I guess I just have reached the point where all the needless worrying about how I will sound or what someone will think is just not so important anymore.

Just like the song says, “Let It Be”.

7 Responses to "Let It Be"

I think that is one of the best written articles yet…the whole world should read it & get the message…

I think part of the reason we don’t like accepting what is, is it feels like we’re not going to try for anything better.

I think of it as conserving energy. Yes, stuttering isn’t small, but it reminds me of “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

Stuttering seems to be a very nasty brick wall. It changes shape, it moves, it disappears and reappears, it regrows in strange ways. That’s what it is, and you can’t change its nature.

Accepting that means that, instead of trying to break down that wall, you use your energy on things where you can make a difference.

Recently, I sent an e-mail to one of my professor’s I still keep in contact with. I told him how I had put myself out there as a PWS, how scary it was for me, but it didn’t kill me. It was okay. The guy I was talking to was patient and kept great eye contact even though I was really struggling. The last thing he said in his e-mail was “Be free to be you.”

Pam, in my case I discovered there is always a reason if I feel more tense or disfluent. So I usually ask myself – what I am trying to block – some emotion that I don’t want to experience, some action that I may later regret, etc? There is always something. Then I ask myself – in this situation, can I be more expressive, more creative? How can I have more fun with this? Sometimes I am too tired and disfluent state seems so welcoming, but since for me falling back into disfluency means blocking, not just stuttering, I decline this invitation into comforting stuttering state and try to make an effort and switch back to fluency. And I confirmed that on many occasions it is possible to switch to a more fluent state – by being more expressive, finding a state of having fun and finding out what emotion I wanted to block. When you develop a habit of thinking why you feeling what you are feeling and why you feel more blocked – stutering can become truly amazing. A unique thing we have and which is worth investigating and playing with.

Anna – I love the way you suggest playing with it. Most people probably wouldn’t considering playing with our stuttering, as its “bad” and we don’t play with bad things.
Not sure I completely agree/understand the connection to stuttering and emotional blocking – but indeed this is why delving into our stuttering allows us to have a relationship with it, as we both have discovered.
Cricket – yes, the “brick wall” analogy fits well. Many people think they can never conquer the brick wall, but as you point out, as it changes, we need to, and that’s how we can figure out ways to “let it be”.
Sarah – I continue to be amazed at your incredible growth in such a short time.
Judy – I am touched you commented. This is the first time you have, so now I know you have read some of my stuff. And that means a lot to me.

Pam, about emotions it may be not so with you – only you are the judge:) I remember long time ago me as a child yelling at my SLP (yes, he intentionally made me angry as he admitted afterwards) and then him stopping me in mid-sentence saying “you don’t stutter”. I didn’t pay attention then, but now after reading all this load of books that I have read, I started noticing those things. When I swicth focus on being more expressive and more true to myself, rather than more fluent, I get better result than when I strived for fluency. Also when you start observing and experimenting, it indeed becomes fun instead of stressful and frustrating. It is not for everyone, but if you are adventurous and like to poke things in order to see what happens, try it.

Yes, Anna, you are right – we know our stuttering best and should be the only judge that counts. When I said I didn’t agree, I also noted I don’t really understand it.
But I do see what you mean by playing with our stuttering to see what happens. A SLP and good friend once told me that – to play with my stuttering as much as possible to understand it more. I wasn’t sure about it when he suggested that, but now that I am so much more open and hearing about yours and others experiences, I do see a clear connection between how relaxed we are and less struggled speech!

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