Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘authenticity and stuttering

Episode 229 features Leah Graham, who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina. Leah stays busy through her work as a Childcare Financial Aid Social Worker. Her wife and two dogs keep her busy too!

Listen in as we discuss the challenges of using the phone more (because of the pandemic,) advertising and disclosure, Leah’s therapy experience, and being non-apologetic about stuttering.

We also discuss effective communication. Leah says, “When I stutter freely and let it flow, I believe I am at my best as an effective communicator.”

Leah also speaks about career aspirations. She used to keep a mental list of jobs she couldn’t do. She doesn’t think that way anymore. She wants to be a lawyer, and has shed the belief that she cannot do this. Leah just took the LSAT exam, the first step towards achievement of her goal.

We wind up this great conversation talking about authenticity and being willing to strip away the layers of doubt and shame. Once those layers are broken down, Leah proudly exclaims, “The world is my oyster.” Yes it is, for Leah and for any of us who stutter.


PamEpisode 189 features Sigriour Thorlacius, or Sigga, who hails from Reykjavik, Iceland. Sigga is in her second season of being Chair of the Icelandic Stuttering Association and is only the second female to have this role since the beginning of the association in 1991.

Sigga is also a student and is particularly interested in public education and how we are raising our citizens. She has decided to focus in on Adult Education, as adults who return to school at non-traditional ages face stigma and pressures that are very parallel to that which people who stutter face.

This conversation was one of those where we had no clue we would wind up doing such a deep dive. We talked about self advocacy, unintentional authenticity, reacting to other people’s reactions to our speech and the energy drain we who stutter face when we are constantly thinking and listening to our inner head chatter.

We also talked about listening and how people who stutter actually get people who don’t stutter to listen closely to what we have to say.

Sigga also spoke about her experience at the recent Joint Congress in Japan and what participants have in store for the ISA World Congress being held in Iceland in 2019.

The music used in today’s episode is credited to BenSound.



Last night in a Stutter Social hangout, we had a rousing conversation about whether one would take a pill to cure stuttering if it was available. There were 8 of us in the hangout and there was a lot of discussion on the pros and cons of suddenly being fluent.

Several people said they would take such a pill in a heartbeat. They want fluency and the ease of communication that comes with it. They couldn’t really fathom why someone who stutters would choose NOT to take the pill.

Several people indicated that they wouldn’t take the pill because they’re not sure they’d like the person they might become. After stuttering so many years, one of course gets used to being the person they are, stutter and all. And some said that stuttering has helped shape the person they are.

One person said that stuttering or suddenly being fluent brings us choices. Fluency would bring us choices that we don’t now have. We might choose to put ourselves in speaking situations that we’d never dream of now.

And it was mentioned that if we didn’t stutter, we wouldn’t have the rich connections and friendships we now have in the stuttering community. Of course, we’d have other friendships with people that don’t stutter that certainly could be just as rich as those we’ve made.

It’s certainly an interesting question. Personally, I wouldn’t take such a pill. Being covert so long, I hated my stuttering and did everything I could to deny it existed and to pretend that I was fluent. It worked but at a toll. It was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting to live a life of hiding. When I finally couldn’t take it anymore – when I felt so inauthentic I felt like a fraud – I made the decision that I wasn’t going to live like that anymore.

I embarked on a journey of self discovery that I could live, and even thrive, with stuttering. I learned how to stutter openly and to accept that it’s a part of me. I learned how to stutter fluently. It took me over 8 years to reach that point and as far as I ‘m concerned, there’s no going back. I like who I am. I like all the pieces that make up me. And stuttering is one of those pieces.

What about you? If there was a pill you could take that made you fluent, with no side effects, would you take it?

PamEpisode 120 features Gina Davis who hails from Oakland, CA. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is working on getting licensed. She plans to start off gradually with a small private practice in psychotherapy.

Gina is also a writer and film maker. She has a book, True Rock, scheduled to launch this fall. The book is about a rock band who wants to be terrible, in order to desensitize themselves to their fears of failure and being held back. The book has many parallels to stuttering, which we discuss, of course.

Gina has also started a blog, which showcases her writing, her book and her film making. Check out Cracklebash here.

Listen in as we discuss the covert lifestyle, perfectionism and dealing with the tough emotions of fear and shame. Gina shares an interesting observation about stuttering she once heard: “Stuttering is a disorder of self-presentation.” This was a deeply honest and insightful conversation.

Feel free to leave comments for Gina here on the blog, especially since she is not on Facebook. Remember, feedback is a gift.

The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

You can see the You Tube video we discuss in this episode below.





Episode 42  features Nora O’Connor, who hails from Los Angeles, California. Nora is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She presently works as a therapist in a residential drug treatment program for male parolees.

Nora shares how she always wanted to be in the helping profession. But she thought for a long time that being a social worker with a severe stutter (that she did not accept) was a real oxymoron. It’s a good thing for us that Nora worked this out, because as you will hear, she is a real gift.

Nora shares glimpses of her very personal journey with addiction and the dark depths of hopelessness. She turned to alcohol and other drugs to deal with her stuttering, and has now celebrated 15 years in recovery. She strongly believes that this journey has influenced every aspect of her being. It has also helped her find the beautiful, strong woman Nora always was, just waiting to emerge.

Listen is as Nora talks about what authenticity means to her, and how she discovered that bringing her whole true self to the table is very inviting to others. We also discuss finding acceptance, and how Nora wants to move beyond that, to just “being”. Not being a woman or person who stutters, but just being and breathing. (By the way, check out Nora’s blog, Just Breathe and Stay Human, for more on that).

We also talk about the important people in her life, and how Nora is excited to discover the opportunities that await her in the next decade. I always look for a key phrase or thought that a woman who is telling her story shares with us. This was hard, as Nora shares many gems. But in addition to the apt title of this episode, I loved how Nora refers to stuttering as “humility in disguise.”

Nora also co-wrote a paper on Self-Image Issues as part of a panel presentation on Women Living with Stuttering for the 2002 International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) on-line conference, which can be found on The Stuttering Home Page, an absolute wealth of information on stuttering.

The podcast safe music clip, “Today Then Tomorrow” used in this episode is credited to DanoSongs.

If Nora’s story touches you (as it did me), be sure to leave a comment. Feedback is a gift.

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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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