Make Room For The Stuttering

Looking At Yourself Stuttering

Posted on: January 16, 2018

I am re-purposing this post that I wrote about 6 years ago, about watching yourself stutter in a mirror. I have always had a very hard time with this. I was reminded of this when I saw a friend post about looking at her stuttering as an mp3 file and seeing the breaks and “dead air” in the audio stream.

Several years ago, I facilitated a story-telling circle with a very supportive audience. These were people who understand the value of sharing our stories, as any one story has the potential to trigger an impact on someone else. So this group were wonderful listeners. I felt very honored sharing some of my stuttering stories with them.

It was very empowering for me to tell my stories, especially to an audience of people who do not stutter. And because it was story telling, which is very different from giving a speech, I did not use notes. So I wasn’t quite sure how it would unfold, as I planned to just tell from the heart.

I knew it would be special, so I had a friend record the three stories I told. I wanted to have a record of what I told. I spent a lot of time editing the video clips, as I planned to share my message with others.

It was very hard watching the videos of myself  stuttering. It is one thing to hear myself stutter, like when I do the podcasts or even just hear myself talking to others. But to “see my stuttering”, it kind of brought tears to my eyes the first time. I saw how deliberate I was, I saw what my pauses looked like, I saw what multiple-repetitions looked like. A couple of times, I saw one eye squeeze closed when I blocked. And I saw some physical tension.

Watching myself tell my stories and stutter very openly with people I did not know well was very emotional and poignant for me. I wondered as I watched (the video) what the listeners thought as they watched me.

It was not easy watching the first time. But I did watch several more times and it was easier. I caught the point where I almost choked up, but didn’t. And I realized that sometimes I stutter a lot, and sometimes hardly at all.

I don’t think I could ever purposely practice stuttering in front of a mirror. It would be contrived, not real. It would not help me be anymore comfortable stuttering publicly.

It takes a lot of guts to be who you are in the many different areas of our lives. And to look back on those moments and realize just that. Watching myself be myself in front of others can’t be replicated in private with a mirror.

Real life needs us to be ready to be ourselves when it counts. When sharing our gift of self can make a big difference.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. 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 2017.
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