Make Room For The Stuttering

Is Stuttering Part Of Your Identity?

Posted on: July 1, 2016

When I think of my identity, I think of things like brown hair, blue eyes and being short. I think of the tattoos I have and the fact that my initials spell my name.

I also think of my stuttering when I think of my identity. Stuttering makes me unique. It is very much a part of my identity. People know me for my stuttering. I’ve heard people at work (a school) refer to me as, “You know, the one that stutters.” defines identity as a noun: condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing.

So stuttering is one of my qualities, a distinctive characteristic that distinguishes me from other people.

There was a time when I thought stuttering was bad and shameful and I did everything I could to try and hide that part of me, that part of my identity. But I was never truly successful hiding it. It was there, not going anywhere, like my blue eyes are always going to be blue.

This reminds me of an exercise I do when I talk to kids who don’t stutter about stuttering. When explaining what it was like to try and hide my stuttering, I have the kids experience a physical and visual exercise. I ask for a volunteer from the audience and give the child a large grapefruit. I ask her to try and hide it somewhere on her body where it’s not going to show. The audience enjoys the child trying to hide it in her clothes – in her sock, in her pocket, in the hood of her sweatshirt. No matter where she puts the grapefruit, it’s lump can still be seen on the person. Trying to hide it is fruitless! 🙂

Like trying to hide stuttering was fruitless. It didn’t work. Over the years, I’ve grown to accept all parts of my identity, both the things I like and the things I don’t like so much.

Having identity makes us human. It makes us unique. It distinguishes us from the pack. Stuttering is part of my identity and I no longer try to fight that fact.


3 Responses to "Is Stuttering Part Of Your Identity?"

Pamela, I love your attitude, your fortitude, your work and your spirit! There is one thing I regret about it and about many stutterers, the widespread belief that there is no way to whip or even greatly diminish stuttering, and that doesn’t have to be true. Times change. Humans learn to improve themselves. As I’ve said before, I had a crippling case of stuttering in my teens and twenties, but after six sessions with a psychiatrist and ten-plus years of experimenting and creating my own techniques, I found ways to control my stuttering to the point that it is undetectable by others; yes, I still have stuttering fears, and I sometimes stutter but even you couldn’t detect it 99.9% of the time. I’m old now; I don’t need money or a career; I just want to help stutterers. Stuttering is my charity. My book (Stuttering & Anxiety Self Cures on Kindle) explains my methods. I will GIVE the book to anyone who emails me ( and asks for it. I have been giving it away. It IS helping some people!!! I even Skype with some, as many as time allows, all at NO charge. Won’t you at least allow me to give you the book and give it a try? I have zero motive other than to help stutterers. Why not accept my gift? It’s not a light switch, of course; it won’t turn-off your stuttering cold, but I’ll wager it will make a major dent in your stuttering. You’ll then have an even greater message for your hungry audience. Regardless, I will continue to applaud your efforts. With best wishes, Lee

Hi Lee – I’d love to talk with you sometime over Skype. I think that would be a great experience for us both. As for your offer for your book, I am wary of anything that has the word “cure” in the title. I don’t want to be cured – I don’t think there is something wrong with me that needs to be cured. Medical diseases need to be cured, not a difference in the way we speak. I have never wished for fluency. There was a time when I was ashamed of my stuttering but now as I look back on those years, what I was really ashamed of was how I reacted when someone judged me or reacted negatively. I would get defensive, hurt, angry and have physical signs of such – red face, tightened chest and shoulders and sweaty palms. But I never recall wishing I was fluent. I just wanted to accept myself as is, with warts and all. Stuttering is part of me – it has hugely shaped the person I have become and for that I am grateful. I’m not broken, so I don’t need to be fixed. Let me know when you’d like to chat via Skype. 🙂

Pamela, you take my breath away. It’s your spirit that I love! I understand your position, but mine is juxtaposed. Franklin, as I recall, said “Reasonable minds may differ” and so do you and I. I always wanted fluency, and I believe that most can have it, if they have a good game plan and lots of resolution. I use the word “cure” in my book-title, because I consider myself “cured”, because (although the fears remain and I still need to leap-frog a “block” here and there) it’s virtually impossible to catch me stuttering. My goal is not to “fix” anyone; it is to “help” them have an easier life. Since my methods have made my life easier, I assume that it could do much the same for others. I have been “cured” (as I define it) for decades, but it was work to write the book; so, I put it off until the shadow of the grave hangs over me. Before I go, I want to help as many stutterers as I can. As to Skyping, any time you like. What time zone are you in? I’m in Atlantic (NY plus one hour). Mornings 8A-11A Eastern or afternoons after 3P work best during the week, and AM’s on the weekends. Whatever you are eating or thinking, do bottle it, and you’ll make a fortune! : )

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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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