Make Room For The Stuttering

Do We Ever Forget We Stutter?

Posted on: April 15, 2015

I participated today in a great conversation about all things stuttering on the weekly Wednesday Stutter Social hangout.

We were talking about stuttering with confidence and whether practicing our speech increases confidence.

A couple of people mentioned that they intently practice speaking every day for one to two hours, to themselves. This practice helps those particular individuals feel more confident when they are speaking to others.

One guy mentioned that sometimes after practicing and feeling more confident, when he is speaking with others that he actually forgets he stutters.

I did a double take and mouthed “what?” I couldn’t wrap my brain around this.

The facilitator of the hangout asked us to reflect on “forgetting that we stutter” and think of a time where we might have experienced this.

To be honest, my first instinct was, “Nope I have never forgot that I stutter.” For years I tried to hide my stutter. I dealt with the mental gymnastics of word substitution and avoidance,which was a constant reminder of stuttering.

Now that I no longer do that (mostly) and stutter openly – more on some days than others- I am reminded every day that I stutter. Sometimes those stuttering reminders come at the most inopportune times.

But after the hangout was over and I thought about this some more, I found myself thinking that I sort of knew what the guy meant. There are times when I am very fluent and if I have a stuttering moment, it’s not really noticeable. At those times, when I’m not thinking of stuttering, I can understand how you can actually forget about stuttering.

At these times that I am not thinking about stuttering, I am also not acknowledging it. Perhaps by not acknowledging it, for a brief time, we can actually forget we stutter.

What do you think? Can you fathom ever forgetting that you actually stutter?

2 Responses to "Do We Ever Forget We Stutter?"

To be perfectly honest, I am more aware of it now than ever! But, as with most things, I suspect it will cease to dominate my thoughts once I mentally “turn a corner” and actually make the move from covert (oh, so covert) to overt – or, in other words. when I get over myself. It’s not the actual stuttering that stops me. It’s the emotions tied to the stuttering that give me grief. So, for now at least, I can’t forget what I haven’t accepted fully. I’ll get there.

Hi Jenn – I totally understand what you mean. After years of hiding my stuttering, speaking freely and overtly now does remind me indeed that I stutter. It’s hard to forget you stutter when you’re still dealing with emotional responses, such as shame and fear. And I still occasionally have secondary behaviors while stuttering, such as squeezing my eyes shut (well, usually just one eye) while caught in a block.

So, yep, I get you. For me, it almost never the stuttering that I have a hard time with – its the response to it that I struggle with. Chest tension, face flushed and hot, feeling fear and anxiety – those are worse than the stuttering which only takes a few seconds.

You’re right – you’ll get there.

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