So this is a quite personal blog post.
I have a stutter. It’s not too bad, it’s not always obvious, and I mostly don’t pay any attention to it these days. But is has had a significant impact on my life. I can’t always tell what is my choice, and what is due to my years of not wanting to end up in public speaking roles.
I wanted to recount some observations, comments, and experiences. This will be a rambling, heartfelt post.
During school, both primary and secondary, I dreaded public speaking. Even to a class of people I knew well. From finding out about an assignment requiring a presentation, to the sometimes obsessive preparation, to my sweaty palms, thumping heart, and shaking legs as I stood up to speak. It was not fun. Stumbling over every few words, occasionally pausing to take a deep breath, try to steady myself. Feeling like time was going so slowly. Looking from person to person in the audience, gauging their reactions to my torture. The relief I felt when I finally finished, and could hide away back into the audience. Telling myself it wasn’t so bad. So glad to be finished.
There were quite a few goes at speech therapy. Some of it helped a little. Much of it felt hopeless, like I was being shown something that was easy, and why couldn’t I get it? I remember being told a few times that I would grow out of it. It’s just a temporary thing. Well, unfortunately no. It’s still there, hanging out for when I’m nervous, scared, tired, angry. Whenever expressing myself is important.
I’m glad I can write about this now. I’m not looking for pity. This post is mostly for myself. And, maybe, to help other people who stutter.
I have some regular, usually annoying, experiences thanks to my stutter.
Tare usually the worst. Then there’s getting stuck on a sound that leaves me with my mouth open looking like a stunned fish.
Steven. This may be a small part of the reason I have to concentrate and pay attention to people’s names when I first meet them. I don’t know.
And now some of the more intriguing and wonderful aspects of my stutter.
Finally, I am so glad The King’s Speech exists. I don’t know if it’s a good movie or not, but it reflects feelings I’ve had about the way I sometime speak so damn well.
This review of the movie as it relates to stuttering is quite good:
The film portrays stammering with sympathy and accuracy (as expected given the writer David Seidler stammered) and will no doubt do much for stuttering awareness.
However the film’s strength is that the true nature of stuttering as a disability is obvious for all to see. Apart from the physical difficulty of speaking, stuttering was clearly impacting on George’s emotional health and on his relationships.
This film gives the stuttering community a wonderful opportunity to discuss and develop their public awareness message. In this way a disorder which until now has led sufferers to bear the brunt of ridicule and discrimination might be more sympathetically and more accurately regarded. “The King’s Speech” has the potential to join the classics of cinema by being emotionally engaging, historically interesting and socially relevant.
I cried through most of this talk the first time I watched it.