Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘voluntary stuttering

Episode 56 features Chloe Barnes, who hails from Northamptonshire, England. Chloe will soon be 20 years old, and is in her second year of University at Brighton, where she is studying to be a primary teacher.

Chloe and I were introduced by Perla Ernest, whom we met in Episode 45. Chloe identifies her stuttering as covert, appearing mostly when she is stressed or under pressure. She did not pursue therapy until two years ago, when she decided to try the McGuire program before heading to university.

Chloe has a wonderful sense of confidence and does not take herself too seriously. She also has a delightful sense of humor and engaging laugh, which you will hear many times throughout our conversation!

Listen in as we discuss meeting other people who stutter for the first time, and how others who stutter can serve as a mirror for us. We also discuss active listening, and how stuttering can make us poor listeners and even a bit self-absorbed.

Chloe talks about the support and coaching of the McGuire program, as well as how she uses voluntary stuttering. We also discuss being proud of our differences and being happy with our unique self. Chloe shares about joining the Drama Society at University and her all time favorite character she portrayed on stage.

The podcast safe music clip “Gently” is credited to DanoSongs. Feel free to leave comments for Chloe or just let her know how inspired you were by her story. Remember, feedback is a gift.

An article was posted in the UK newspaper “The Telegraph” (May 5, 2011) with the headline, “Colin Firth admits he is struggling to lose his stutter.” Firth portrayed Bertie in the movie “The King’s Speech”, the reluctant king who stammered. Firth, who does not stutter, learned to deliberately stutter for the role.

He did a brilliant job, as we know, as he won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the film also swept the other top awards, Best Screenplay, Picture and Director. Firth showed with grace and dignity the difficulties faced by a person who stutters. But Firth is an actor, only portraying stuttering. He has not lived with the daily challenges of not being able to speak easily and effortlessly like most people do, without even thinking about it.

In this article, Firth is quoted as saying  (about Helena Bonham-Carter, who played his wife, Elizabeth), “Whenever I was stammering if I caught her eye she was usually looking at her watch or yawning, hoping the moment passes as quickly as possible, fortunately when the cameras are on her she looks delightfully supportive.”

I wonder if Firth was even remotely aware that people who stutter often face listener reaction just like he described. People often look away when someone is stuttering, or glance at their watch or look otherwise uncomfortable or impatient.

This is the body language of negative listener reaction that is often so tough for people who stutter to face. When a listener looks away or yawns or tries to interrupt us or finish our sentences, it is not uncommon for the stutterer to feel invisible, de-valued, unimportant.

This is what makes stuttering so complex. It is often that which goes unsaid that results in stutterers feeling shame, embarrassment and/or inadequacy.  Non-verbal body language is powerful and conveys just as much, if not more, about how a listener is listening and responding to us.

Firth may have been joking or just making an indifferent remark when he mentions that the actress portraying his wife, Queen Elizabeth, would look away when he was stammering. He also states in this article that he is having a hard time “losing the stammer” he deliberately practiced and performed for the role.

I wrote a post just about two years ago called The Things We Take For Granted. In that post, I wrote this line:  “It is not what is uttered, or heard or seen. It is what is not heard, what is felt and what matters” (most).

It felt like the same theme again. We very often are more affected by what goes unsaid than what is said by us or our listener. Non-verbal body language says a lot!

What do you think about what Firth says about his co-star looking away and wishing his stammering moment would pass quickly? And what do you think about Firth struggling to lose a stutter/stammer he never had?

Episode 44 features Anna Margolina, who hails from Redmond, Washington, by way of Russia. Curiousity compelled me to find Anna and “hear” her story. Let me explain!

I found the January 2011 issue of  Toastmasters Magazine in my mailbox two weeks ago. The  headline “From Stuttering to Public Speaking” on the cover grabbed my attention immediately. I flipped open to the article and saw five people profiled.

They were all successful Toastmasters who also happen to stutter. Four of the five profiles were men, one of which I know – Russ Hicks  from Dallas, Texas. That was pretty cool, but I didn’t want to know more about Russ (sorry, friend). I wanted to know about Anna!

I was drawn to “her” story, because women who stutter are practically invisible in media, and here she was a Toastmaster and featured in a magazine. There was no personal contact information provided for Anna, but her Toastmaster club name and city was noted. I knew that was enough for me to find her!

I found her club on the Toastmaster International website and sent an email to the club contact. I asked if they would forward a message along to Anna. They did, Anna responded, and we connected. Anna was happy to share her story and voila, here we are.

Listen in as we chat about acceptance, negative self-talk, and positive change. Anna demonstrates “blocking” and how voluntary stuttering helped her face her monster. We also discuss Toastmasters, of course, John Harrison on Redefining Stuttering and Neurolinguistic Programming.

This episode is an absolute treasure trove. We dive into everything. This is the link to the article on “From Stuttering to Public Speaking” which only scratched the surface and fueled my fire to “meet” her and hear her story.

Anna also happily shares a video of one of her speeches on stuttering. You have to see this! She’s great!

Episode 38  features Maria McGrath, who hails from Santa Barbara, California. She was born in Ireland and lived in London for a long time before moving to America just over a year ago. She trained and worked as an accountant, and has recently begun the adventure of bringing the McGuire Programme to the US.

I “met” Maria after reading a wonderful article she wrote, called “My Turn: Stifled by a Stutter”, which was printed in The LA Times. I emailed her my thoughts about her article, and invited her to tell her story here.  The health section of the LA Times published her piece in conjunction with the opening of the new movie, “The King’s Speech”. (which has huge potential to increase stuttering awareness all over the world).

Listen in as Maria and I chat about her younger days and some of the purposeful avoidance situations she found herself in. Maria is a great story-teller, as you’ll easily tell. We also talk about confidence, being in control, and moving through fearful situations.

Maria is taking great leaps outside of her comfort zone with her recent work in figuring out ways to advertise the McGuire programme here in the US. Information for the international McGuire programme can be found here.

Maria would be happy to chat with anyone interested in learning more about how the McGuire programme changed her life. She can be reached at (805)727-3734 and her Skype name is mariamcgrath.

Credit for the podcast safe music, Today Then Tomorrow, used in today’s episode goes to DanoSongs.

Feel free to comment or ask questions for Maria in the comment section, and Pam always loves to hear your feedback too!


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2021. 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 2021.
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