Couldn’t Possibly Be The Same Person
Posted April 10, 2011on:
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.