Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘acceptance

I am always surprised when I hear myself express the need to be validated because I still don’t do it directly. I don’t come right out and ask someone, “Hey, can you validate me?’ I will dance around whatever it is that I need, until I hear either directly or indirectly that I am a good person or am loved.

We all need to hear that, right? This may be one of the most basic of human needs, yet for me, one of the hardest. I always believed I wasn’t good enough, or didn’t measure up, or didn’t even count enough to deserve good things said or felt about me.

A lot went into that: the ingrained belief I had that I was no good, that I didn’t matter and that my feelings weren’t valid. And of course, the fact that I stuttered. Putting that all together left me feeling I had no choice but to close myself off from the world.

Now I have opened myself to the world and allowed feelings to be felt. I let things seep in that I had always pushed away. I am beginning to see how good it feels when people affirm me, tell me I am good, and that I matter. Sometimes I still feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, maybe like I don’t deserve it, and other times it makes me feel warm and glowing inside.

I have almost reached a point when I can tell when I need that. And I will dance around the issue with a good friend or loved one, until they tell me something that makes me feel good.

I wish I could be direct enough to just let someone know, “hey, I need someone to tell me I have done a good job. Will you do that for me?”  I guess I also wish that I really didn’t need to hear that at all – that I just know it, that it comes from within.

But we are human. And need to hear others affirm us. We need to be validated. It feels good.

Episode 3 welcomes Annetta Price from Trinidad and Tobago. I first came to know Annetta when she started commenting on this blog and began sharing some of her own feelings about stuttering,which she had rarely made public.

We do a lot of honest talking about how stuttering makes us feel. We cover a lot in a short time, including some of the tough stuff, like feeling flawed, vulnerable and inadequate.

Annetta starts off by explaining that she prefers to be affectionately called Marie, because she can say that, instead of always stuttering on the “A” in the name Annetta.  I was very impressed that she shared that right off the bat – as that certainly is not easy to publicly admit.

This episode features my first attempt at adding a little intro music. It took me a long time to add a 15 second clip. I am confident that I will get better at this each week.  Musical credit for “Silver Shine” goes to “Free Royalty Free Music” by Dano Songs.

Annetta authors a wonderful blog herself, called Finally A Mom. Her blog has been commended by the community health blog-o-sphere, as her personal experiences helps many, many women. Check it out!

Feel free to leave comments or ask Annetta questions.

In this second episode, Pam is joined by Sarah Bryant, a woman who just recently graduated from college and is looking for a teaching job.  Sarah talks about some of the challenges she faced while stuttering in school. We also talk about advertising and acceptance, and how stuttering influences social relationships.

Sarah recently contributed her story to this blog in a written form, where her raw emotion and authenticity really resonated with readers. Her courage at still a young age is commendable. Read her blog entry here!

Sarah also shares how worried she gets about creating a poor first impression with people she has just met, because of the stuttering. We reflected on how many people worry about first impressions, stutterers or not! And Sarah acknowledges that she no longer focuses on the goal of attaining fluency.

So listen in as Sarah and Pam chat about how stuttering influences us. Feel free to leave a comment.

My live interview today on NPR radio went well. I was happy with the flow of our conversation. Round Table host Joe Donahue does a great job of making guests feel comfortable in the studio. It helped that I have been on the program before, so I was familiar with the set-up, how to use the microphone, how far away to sit.

The producer had me send some talking points, but Joe basically crafted the interview so it was a good back and forth flow between the two of us.

I was very happy that our local radio station, WAMC, and NPR welcomed me on to the show to discuss stuttering. Take a listen. I would love your feedback!

Pam on NPR to discuss National Stuttering Awareness Week

This week is National Stuttering Awareness Week in the United States, specifically from May 10 – May 16, 2010. (It was proclaimed as such in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan).  May also happens to be Better Speech and Hearing Month. So this is our week to talk about stuttering, raise awareness and educate others who may not understand the stuttering experience.

For the last three years, I have tried to do something “public” to help spread the word about stuttering. In 2007, I was a guest on my local area’s NPR station during this week to talk about stuttering.

In 2008, I got the chance to appear on a public television station’s health channel to promote stuttering. Later that year, I got to do a similar community television program for our local library. They aired it continually during October, to mark International Stuttering Awareness Day.

In 2009, I wrote an article about stuttering and had it published in the Albany NY daily newspaper, The Times Union. I also had a blurb about stuttering run in the weekly “Check Up On Health” column right before stuttering awareness week.

This year, the features editor for the health column at the Times Union, Jack Leadley, ran my small piece again yesterday to remind people about what stuttering is, some tips for listeners, and links for support and resources.

And I will be a guest again on Albany’s  NPR station’s program “The Round Table” with host Joe Donahue on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 10:35am. Here’s the station and channel information. I am looking forward to coming back on NPR radio, and gratified that they find it important enough to dedicate some air time to stuttering awareness.

I will point to the link when WAMC posts it, probably by the next day.

What will you do to spread the word and raise awareness about stuttering? One of the best things we can do is talk about our stuttering openly and often.

I am really excited to add an audio section to this blog that I hope will be at least weekly.  Good friend Daniele Rossi, creator of  the site Stuttering is Cool, encouraged me to start a podcast that would just focus on women who stutter and our stories. There doesn’t appear to be any other podcast devoted specifically to women and our stuttering journeys.

Danny has helped guide me through the basic steps of launching a podcast and adding it to this site. He may not realize it, but he will probably become my podcast mentor. He helped me get some (free) recording software and was patient with me as I worked with my first audio file longer than 10 minutes. I met Danny on Twitter, along with lots of other really amazing people who just happen to stutter.

I pretty much know this will be a work in progress. I hope to get better each week with the logistics of posting audio files. The most important thing is the honest dialogue with women who stutter as we share our stories.

I am pleased to welcome my very first guest, Tamara Nunes Williams. She is a wife, mother, daughter, college student, and care giver to persons with disabilities. And she happens to stutter. She has an amazing story.           Please listen to Episode 1.

When you get involved in the stuttering community, you meet so many really special people. As we know, stuttering is random and visits people from all over. Its so much fun getting to know people, hearing their stories and making new friends. Technology is amazing – phones, webcams,skype, video – everything makes our world smaller and allows us to share.

I have been tweeting with a guy who stutters from stutterblog, and also joined his community over there. (Check it out!)  He has recently taken some steps to welcome stuttering into his life and work towards acceptance. Part of this process is talking with other people who stutter, of course, whenever you can. We learn from other!

Thad invited me to chat with him about stuttering. We agreed we would record our chat, so he could post it on his site. And I couldn’t resist putting them here too, and giving a shout-out to Thad. I will admit that he is MUCH better with technology than I am, as he was able to put our two videos together side by side. The videos came out great. So take a few minutes to listen in, as we discuss some honest issues about stuttering. Thad took some risks, and has moved one huge step closer to acceptance by speaking out like this.

I was really honored to chat with him, and look forward to more honest dialogue about stuttering – which makes us unique and special.

Part 1 – Thad and Pam

Part 2 – Thad and Pam

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2020. 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 2020.
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