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...