Friday, 4 June 2010

Ramble ramble ramble

I'm sure you've all got this before; "ya I stutter sometimes as well." Stuttering because you're nervous, or in a rush, is not the same as permanently stuttering. Just because you have experienced the physical sensation of a stutter does not mean you understand how we feel. You do not realize how much it is on our minds, how we choose to say or not to say things, how we avoid situations because of it, how depressing it can be on our bad days, how humiliating it is at times, but most of all how frustrating it is.

I realize you are trying to make us feel better but really you just annoy us [me]. I also hate how that statement gives the impression that it's "ok" to have a stutter. It gives the impression that that specific person will still treat you as a human. As if we should be somehow grateful for treating us like a normal human being. I have heard that sentence so many times in my youth and every time it has just annoyed me.

Another one I get quite often is; "I used to stutter as well." Now this one is a little different... I tend to ignore the comment most of the time. I generally feel that if they really used to have one they managed to control it before they turned around five or so, and thus can't relate to how I feel. However, today I spoke to a girl who had one until she was sixteen and managed to control it. It was interesting... I wanted to ask her like 3000 questions about how her life has changed but chose not to... One thing I did pick up on was that she was very surprised when I told her that I had done various therapies in the past and they hadn't helped.

That was my ramble of the day. Thank you for reading :)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A late-night update

I got a new part-time job. I now work at my local cinema. My responsibilities are heavily focused on customer-interaction; selling food, directing guests to their screens, seating some guests, and cleaning up after people. It has been a pretty insightful experience. After all, this is my first job where my main duty was serving customers (I did very little of this at McDonald's). I would be talking for hours on end to customers.

Firstly, the interview process was interesting. The one-on-one interview went fine until I brought up my stutter and then I couldn't stop stuttering. The group interview went great. Ya... I can't really explain it. Either way, I was surprised that I got the job. Why would a cinema that prides itself on great customer service employ someone who can't communicate effectively? Thus, I feel sort of indebted to them. I feel as if I owe them for taking a "risk". I guess that says something about the respect I have for my stutter.

Anyhow, I've been in the job for two months or so. An outsider would probably compliment on how well I have managed my stutter. I rarely get blocks and manage to interact with the customers like everybody else, yet I find time to critique myself. I feel disappointed every time I can't get a word out, every time I say something different to avoid the stutter, every time I see that the customer is a little confused as I babble on. So whilst I may talk for 6 hours without a significant block, I get angry with myself if I get a small short block.

That said, it doesn't really affect my ability to perform the job. I can communicate on the radio, albeit at times a bit poorly, I can interact with the customers and so forth. However, I know I could do better. I feel that my stutter is my limiting component to perfection that so many of us strive towards. How can I be a better employee if I can't overcome this stutter? And I do want to be a better employee.

I have often spoken in the past how I felt that the best course of action was to accept that I stutter and just progress, however, at times that feels like accepting defeat. I don't like to lose without a fight.

Does my personality define my stutter or does my stutter define my personality?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Is it a disability?

I keep asking myself if stuttering is a disability. I'm sure some people see it as one, but I'm not sure. I always have trouble answering the disability question when I apply for something somewhere. Am I truly disabled because of my stutter? Am I unable to carry out day-to-day activities?

I personally do not think it is a disability in the true sense. I can still talk on the telephone, I can still speak in front of large audiences, I can still do presentations. I realize this may seem as if it doesn't apply to all people who stutter, but it does. You all can do it. The only difference is the length of time it takes for you to do it.

The way I see it is that stuttering is kind of like if you had a limp. The limp does not prevent you from going to the store across the street, nor does it stop you from participating in a marathon. It just prevents you from doing those things as easily as people who have no limp. OK, maybe not the best analogy but you get what I'm saying.

A bit off-topic, but I really dislike when people compare stuttering to those who are paralysed. I saw this recently somewhere where people who stutter said that mocking someone's stutter is just as bad as mocking someone in a wheelchair. I think that is a pretty gross exaggeration.

At the end of the day, us stutterers need to realize that we can lead perfectly functional lives in all areas of life, except telesales... That would be interesting. Imagine a call centre which only hired people who stuttered!

Anyway... do I think it is a disability? Not when compared to others, no. Do I think it is an inconvenience, frustrating and, at times, tiring? Definitely.

Friday, 5 March 2010


Hey guys, it's been a while. Mainly because I haven't had much to say about my stutter.. but that's changed in the last few months or so. Today I just kind of wanted to talk about how I have only shown this blog to one friend of mine. Nobody else, and no members of my family. It's not that I only trust one person, I have other close friends who I share a lot with. I think perhaps its because I'm ashamed? Maybe I don't want people to see this side of me, to see my inner-thoughts? I mean truth be told I am the emotional equivalent to Mr. Meursault in "The Outsider" (aka "The Stranger"). OK, that's an exaggeration but I'm not expressive with my emotions, especially those surrounding my stutter.

Is it just being ashamed or that I don't want to let others in? I would be interested to hear if any of you have the same feelings that I do. Have you ever gone and found an article or video about stuttering and told someone close to you?

Do you tell people about how stuttering is? I have only had a handful of people ever ask me an intimate question about stuttering in my life. It is kind of sad. I know it must seem to them like the elephant in the room, but I'm pretty sure they find it curious.

There seems to be this social enigma that if somebody is out of the ordinary that we shouldn't talk to them, or see how it affects their lives. I'm guilty of it too. Maybe things would be better if people stopped being sensitive about things that are construed to be not normal.

How do I fix this problem? Do I post this blog on my facebook? I'm not sure I would be comfortable with that. I'd probably just get really neurotic and see how many likes and comments it has. I'm rambling now, and it is almost 4am but I'm sure someone understood what I wrote.

Until next time...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Drive-Thru Madness!!!!

First off! Apologies.. again.. I've gotten quite bad at this whole blogging thing. Problem is though that although I have the urge to write about my experiences I have become quite lethargic with it... I'll try to be a bit better.

So since the last update I've had two jobs. One was at a books factory but that work dried up when the recession hit... I then started work for a fast food chain to help pay with my living fees and it gives me great flexible hours so I can still somewhat concentrate on university. In my interview I explicitly asked to work in the back so I didn't have to deal with customers...and my stutter

Anyway... The first few weeks were a bit boring... I barely spoke to people, kept quiet, didn't engage into conversation. My typical first impression I guess. I started opening up a bit and speaking more but for some reason my stutter is pretty bad when I'm talking to new people. Nobody made a deal out of it which I was kind of surprised. One or two people were curious about it and I entertained their questions but other then that nothing really.

Fast-forward six-seven months till about last month and I'm still there. Things are good, made friends, rarely stutter when I speak to them. There are the few occasional things that I get stuck on... When you make ham/cheeseburgers you need to shout "cheese on" to know how many cheese and hamburgers to make. I know hate the word cheese. Ch-cheese... Ya..

So I was resigned to the fact that I'd just work in the back until... I went to get a Subway one day and the guy behind the counter stuttered. Crap! That takes balls... the amount of options you have for a sandwich, the amount of questions people must ask! He didn't seem flustered at all.. he just stuttered through it all. He picked up on mine as well and we small-talked.. but that was my inspiration that if he can go through that, why can't I?

But.. as usual I just decided not to, until a co-worker pushed me to do the drive-thru window, because nobody else could and I was the last resort. He was there for the first few cars and then left. And you know what? It was absolutely fine. Sure I stuttered, sure I used every trick in the book but it was absolutely fine. When I got into real problems I'd just say "sorry I've got a speech impediment" and they would be happy to wait for me to finally spit out the simple question. Ok, with customer service you're always going to get the odd jerk but that was a rarity.

This got me pretty happy... and I told a couple of friends in excitement but they just kind of shrugged it off. I don't think they realized the mental wall I had just walked through. I can now do customer service. I mean.. I could always do it. But I now know I can. And if I can do that, then I can do more things I think I can't.

I have found that my emotional health, with regards to my stuttering, is a lot healthier now that I have accepted it rather than fight it. I'm not saying don't go to therapy, I'm just saying that for me... I've given up the fight. And the sooner I manage to adapt my life's goals and ambitions around this fact, the sooner I will be at peace with my stutter. But more about that in another post!

Wow... that was really long.. If you've read this far thanks!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Soo.... The weather!

Well.. I've been really quiet over the past month and that's mainly due to one reason; I've not given my stutter much thought. Not any thought really... It's so weird how my mindset towards stuttering changes so drastically from when I'm at university to when I'm home. Overall I'm currently in a "good" period with regards to my stutter (this will definately jinx it now) and have been pretty fluent. Obviously I still stutter but I get the feeling that I don't confuse people when I talk.. You know when you stutter so much in a sentence you don't even know what you're saying anymore? Ya.. So that's all been good.

I'm even more fluent in German, my second language which I'm fluent (well obviously I don't mean that type of fluency.. I stutter.. but you know what I mean!) in. Now, what I've noticed is that I absolutely suck at controlling my stutter in foreign languages, maybe it's the stress? The unfamiliarity? Who knows... All I know is that I can't control it half as well as I can in English. Thus, I don't like speaking German or learning new languages, which is a shame because I have a knack of picking languages up. -Funny how a linguistic person has a stutter no?-

I'm not really sure why the sudden fluency came about... I pen it on the girlfriend post I spoke about earlier. The magics of relationships blaaadeeh bla bla. Anyway! My point... I recently had to go to a "refresher course" so I wouldn't have my driving license taken away. It's basically the automotive version of A.A. Naturally talkings required... and first day I was nervous, heart was in my throat and I was using all the "tricks" I knew to come off as someone who didn't stutter. Eventually I stopped caring and would stutter through the sentences in German. Albeit, "fluently"... And as I did this I noticed the stutter less.

Which brings me to my closing point, perhaps what we stutterers need to do is not to fight stuttering, not to use our minds against it, but rather accept it. Go with the flow of the stutter. If the stutter doesn't want you to finish a sentence then so be it. I think that the only reason people will make a deal out of your stutter is if you do. Perhaps this is why it was seldom an issue in primary/middle/high-school.... I didn't make an issue out of it (lets exclude 1-2 years) and so nobody else did. And perhaps the only reason the stutter will overcome you is if you let it to. Something which I have definately done in my opening year of university. I go to university tomorrow, and this time... I'm going to try my best to not worry about the stutter.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Future! Aaaargh!!!

I often find myself pondering, "how on earth are you going to overcome that with your stutter!?" If any of you have been in some of these situations it would be interesting to hear, even if they've been horrid.

Right, so the future situations I fret about... Notice how most concern marriage!

  • Proposing to a woman, I assume that given how I don't stutter as much around girlfriends that this shouldn't be too much of an issue.. But then again I can only imagine how nervous it would make one feel.
  • Saying "I do" at the Altar... (see above). I guess I could always nod?
  • Saying your vows at the wedding... aaah... now you include a room full of people. Perhaps, if I were to get married I could do some sort of interpretive dance.
  • I would imagine that if my brother were to marry I would be best man.. and the best man has to give a speech.. so ya.. Same as last one, interpretive dance anyone!?
  • Getting pulled over by a cop. This may seem weird.. But, I would assume that if a cop pulled you over it was due to your driving. Add the stuttering to the equation and his first thought might be that you're drunk on drugs? Then you include the nerves of the situation and, and and!
  • Job interview. I've not had a job interview yet perse, I've had jobs.. but no job interview. This is probably the least of my worries out of the list at the moment as it would be one-on-one and either you get the job or you don't.
  • Doing a presentation for your work... It's inevitable isn't it? Public speaking... aaaah, I'll touch on that whole farce on a later date.

That's all the ones I can think of off the top of my head at the moment...