A bit of an update:
The King’s Speech was released earlier this year and opened up an opportunity for those of us who stutter to have a real conversation with the public, one we, perhaps, haven’t had before. On the heels of the movie and before the Oscar’s took place, I wrote a piece about the myths I thought were perpetuated through the film and where I thought we were actually moving the discussion backwards. I was lucky enough to have my article picked up by The Time’s Union. If you’re interested in reading it, it’s entitled The king and us, myth and all and is accessible on the TU Web site.
Also worth noting, if you’re local to Troy, NY,I’ll be doing a reading of that piece for Troy Night Out (TNO Facebook page), reading aloud and then answering questions about my process writing it and, I believe, what goes into writing memoir as a whole. That’s taking place Friday, March 25 at 7pm at the Art’s Center of the Capital Region. Do stop by, if you can. A few of my classmates will be reading pieces they’ve written and they’re going to be fantastic.
Other than that, with busines and life settling down, expect posts more frequently over here, though perhaps not as polished as the ones previously posted. We’ll see.
Stay tuned. 😉
I guess you’d say it’s ironic. I make a living helping brands find their voice online, all the while running from the sound of my own. It’s the only part of my stutter I don’t identify with. The only part that never felt like me. So I kept running.
When I was forcibly entered into my college’s speech therapy program, I didn’t fight them on much. When you’re offered up as the sacrificial lamb, acting like a sheep seems all too natural. Polite, even. But there was one instance where I did make a sound. It was when my therapist dropped that tape recorder on the table. Clunky and archaic, it shook not only the table, but my insides. The only thing more painful than the act of stuttering, is having to listen to yourself doing it. Because the machine erases you from the equation. All you hear is the defect.
I had fought my entire youth and adulthood to be Lisa. Just Lisa. She wanted to strip that way in just one session. Screw her. Read more »
As I stand in line, I take a few deep breaths, gently bouncing my leg to work up a rhythm. “We can do this”, I whisper. I’m at my favorite hideaway cafe in Troy. It’s been a hard day and I’m certain the answer to my problems are tucked inside the Almond Joy Latte I’ve been dreaming of all afternoon. I need the sweet combination of mocha and coconut to rescue my nerves and lull me into the evening. My boyfriend playfully nudges me toward the counter – it’s my turn. I take another deep breath.
“Hi. Can I have an Aaaa…Aaaa… a vanilla latte?”
I’ve earned a reputation among my friends for being indecisive. I’ll spend all day talking about the guacamole burger I want for lunch…only to get the grilled chicken pasta when the time comes to order. My friends think I’ve changed my mind under pressure or developed situational amnesia. They don’t understand what’s really going on. How could they?
Word swapping is the part of my stutter they can’t see. It’s the mental scrabble I play any time I open my mouth to speak. It’s when I have to match the word I WANT to say with the word that I CAN say. It’s not always graceful, but it is effective. Sometimes. Read more »
College was one of the weirder experiences of my life. I imagine it’s like that for most people. But my weirdness didn’t come from experimenting with booze and boys; it came from the speech therapy program I was forcibly entered into. The one I was registered for without my knowledge and, to some degree, without my consent.
As if often the case, it took one lap around the room during a freshman public speaking class for me to be outed as damaged and dropped into the Robbins Center – an on-campus, training program for grad students in the Speech, Language and Pathology department. The students need someone to test and finding an adult, female stutterer is like stumbling across a purple bedazzled unicorn in the middle of Times Square. You can’t let it go. My professor made the arrangements for me. I know because one day I received a phone call saying they had heard about my interest in the clinic.
I had never heard of the Robbins Center.
I also didn’t care about the Robbins Center. Had no interest spending my days reciting mono-syllabic words and having my intelligence demeaned with fake phone calls to my customer service reps inquiring about the ‘burgundy sweater with the four brass buttons located on page 142 of their catalog’. I was in college. I was supposed to be reprimanded for my bad choices, but not because I forget to take a breath before initiating a vowel. But, along with being a person who stutters, I’m also a people pleaser.
So here I sit, twice a week, for three years. Read more »