Posts Tagged ‘covert stuttering’
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?
Episode 164 features Sofia Espinoza, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, although Sofia is originally from Peru. Sofia works for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. She is an engineer and works in IT, implementing systems.
Sofia went into engineering because she thought it would be a field where there wouldn’t be much talking. When she began her Masters program, she saw it was much more interactive and would require talking and class participation. It was at this time that Sofia began researching support opportunities and found the NSA and Toastmasters.
She threw herself into both at the same time, as well as seeing a counselor. All of these things helped Sofia to graduate.
Listen in as we discuss covert stuttering, baby steps, shyness and anxiety, and the pain of stuttering. We also talk about wearing armor to protect ourselves and how heavy that armor can be to carry around.
Sofia attended her first NSA conference this year, as it was held in Atlanta. We talk about her experiences and her favorite workshop.
The music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 158 features Jennifer Allaby who hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada. Jennifer retired from a career in social work, most recently working with First Nation communities.
Listen in as Jennifer describes how about a year ago she began to seriously look at the stuttering part of her life. For about 30 years, she had been covert. She says it had become like work to keep up the façade of not stuttering.
She explored the stuttering community and marveled at how open and welcoming people have been. She also shares that since becoming involved in the stuttering community, she’s learned a whole new language.
We also discuss Jennifer’s involvement in Toastmasters, which she describes as the best thing she’s done for herself. Jennifer’s initial goal with Toastmasters was “to stutter,” and to be the best communicator she could be as herself.
Jennifer also explains what Toastmasters is for those who may not know, and shares how welcoming and supportive other members are. Nobody expects perfection, she says. It’s gentle and you don’t feel pressured but you do feel accomplishment and appreciation for what you’ve done.
The music used in today’s show is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 156 features Elizabeth Wislar who hails from Chicago, IL and now lives in Athens, Georgia. Elizabeth is a teacher of students with disabilities, is mom to amazing daughter Clare and is really into fitness.
Elizabeth has been teaching for 17 years and prior to this year, had been in denial and covert about her stuttering. This year has been her coming out year, as you’ll learn from listening to her story. Knowing another teacher who stutters and asking her students to embrace disabilities was the catalyst Elizabeth needed to come out of the covert closet.
Listen is as Elizabeth talks about introducing her class to Nina G, a comedian who stutters and also has learning disabilities. Nina spoke to Elizabeth’s class via video and the class also used Nina’s book, “Once Upon An Accommodation.”
We also talk about the relief Elizabeth feels from finally being open about stuttering, her father’s stuttering and the concept of stuttering being a disability. Elizabeth is going to be a co-leader for a new NSA chapter in Athens and will be attending her first NSA conference this July.
Music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 153 features Lisa Costello, who hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, although she is originally from the East Coast. Lisa works in real estate and enjoys yoga, cooking, traveling and poker.
Lisa is new to the “stuttering world.” She only began researching stuttering about 6 months ago and has pretty much immersed herself since then. Prior to that, Lisa led a covert life.
It was when she began to be overly tired and drained all the time and realized it was from the mental exhaustion of hiding stuttering, that she decided to take action.
Listen in as we talk about Lisa’s recent experience at the America Institute for Stuttering’s (AIS) 3 week intensive therapy program. She explains how she has pledged to herself that she is no longer going to hide and wants to be open. She talks about advertising, telling clients, “Don’t fret, I just stutter.”
Lisa also talks about how much she has done that keeps surprising her, in such a short time. Since returning from AIS, she has led two of her National Stuttering Association chapter meetings. And she says she’s more at peace than she’s ever been. She’s learned she’s an effective communicator.
Lastly, we talk a little about Lisa’s love for poker. This was a great conversation that went way too fast. Check us out.
The music clip used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 150 features Jia Bin, who hails from China. She is currently living in Michigan in the U.S. while studying for her Master’s degree in secondary education. Jia taught English in China for 9 years, and is currently teaching Chinese here in the U.S. to high school students.
Listen in as Jia describes why she wanted to come to the U.S. She was looking for a way out and thought she’d find the answers to stuttering in the U.S.
We have a fascinating conversation about the cultural differences between China and the U.S. Jia describes China as a “culture of shame” where it comes to being different. In China, it’s all about being the same. Differences are shameful and shame is hidden in China.
We also have a rich discussion about covert stuttering, finding support through the National Stuttering Association and stuttering with confidence. We also talk about Jia’s speech therapy experiences and the huge emotional attachment that stuttering really is. She talks of carrying her country on her back when she talks.
This was a great conversation that could have gone on for hours. Feel free to leave comments or questions.
The music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.
Episode 148 features Karen Krajcer, who hails from San Antonio, Texas. Karen teaches creative writing to high school students and is also working on her own novel, titled “Whisper, Sing.”
The novel is about two siblings who stutter, who make dramatically different choices about how they deal with their stutter. Karen shares that the emotional truth of the novel is based on real life experience.
Listen in as we discuss what it is like to be a covert stutterer and how it can take over your whole life. We discussed missed opportunities, “coming out,” acceptance, speech therapy and so much more.
We also discuss Karen’s involvement in the National Stuttering Association – she reinstated the San Antonio NSA Chapter. Karen talks about how important it is for people to just show up at support meetings, as it can change their lives, like it did hers.
And we discuss Karen’s part in the book “Turning Points” which was discussed in the last podcast episode. Karen wrote an essay which became a chapter in the book called, “The Problem of Passing,” about her experiences as a covert stutterer.
The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.