Make Room For The Stuttering

Couldn’t Possibly Be The Same Person

Posted on: April 10, 2011

I went to a show last night and found myself seated next to someone I worked with 10 years ago. She asked, “do I know you?”  The look of recognition happened for both of us at almost the same moment. Well, she had to double-check and ask my first name and I knew her first name but couldn’t think of her last name until I was driving home.

We chatted while waiting for the show to start, asking each other what we have been up to. She asked an interesting question. She wondered if it was possible that someone who writes articles and letters to the editor in our local newspaper uses my name. I told her I have had some pieces published. And she asked “what do you write about?”

I could see her trying to puzzle something out. I told her I have written about stuttering. And she questioned, “like reviews?”, articles?” I said yes. And she said she remembered seeing my name in the paper over the years but figured it couldn’t be me because I never stuttered. And I smiled and said, “well, yes I do, but I was quite good at hiding it.”

Then her friend sitting next to her says, “but how is that possible?” And the one I knew guesses, “strategies?”  And I said, “avoidance, word switching.”  And then since they seemed genuinely interested, I told them the brief version of “my story.”

What struck me about this brief exchange is the realization of how good I had been at keeping my stuttering secret many years ago. I worked with this woman for several years. She never knew. In fact, she was certain the name she had seen in the paper had to be a different person. And as I stuttered while talking to her, her look of surprise was really genuine.

When moments like this happen, I am reminded of how very far I have come. And how deeply I had buried the real me. And how I really am a completely different person these days.

4 Responses to "Couldn’t Possibly Be The Same Person"

Hey, Pam….I loved this. It’s very encouraging, isn’t it?

Pam, you made a very courageous choice. To abandon avoidance, to stop pretending that you are something else, to refuse to live in fear. It is interesting that you actually were able to cover your stuttering so well. I never was able to do this. I don’t know if I were able to hide my stuttering to the point where it wasn’t detectable at all, would I go to all that lenght to make changes in my speech? Or would I be content with the fact that I can hide it. But I am sure glad that you made this choice – otherwise there would be no such wonderful podcast:)

The energy it took to do that was so much that I eventually couldn’t stand it and couldn’t do it as effectively , and the real me started seeping out as I got older and more unhappy. So when I started trying to find a way out, the way found me, and the rest is . . . . . well, you know the saying!

Thats a pretty kool story.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. 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 2022.
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