Blocking isn’t the same as when you stumble over your words. Stumbling is temporary and goes away after a good sleep. Stuttering is your behavior, your worldview, your identity.
When I stuttered the most, I thought about learning sign language. Then I could have been writing in the air without having to say a word at all. Instead, my mom insisted that I saw a doctor. He told my mom that I should have my tonsils removed. I don’t remember the whole conversation but I remember one thing. Stuttering feels emasculated.
It’s been 6 years since I saw myself as having the identity of a person who stutters. I took my masculinity back. And I don’t have any physical scars. The doctor never got to perform surgery on me.
Being a person who stutters comes with a constant sensation of not being quite good enough. You can’t say a funny punchline out of thin air. It has to be coordinated. In some cases, you have to practice for hours. But practicing for hours is not a guarantee that you’ll succeed.
Stuttering feels emasculated.
The tricky thing about stuttering is that sometimes you have windfall — a sudden “forgetfulness” that you stutter and you manage to say one perfect sentence after another and you see people laughing and patting your on your shoulder — it feels like you reached the Mt. Everest summit without oxygen. It feels like you’ve done what most people who stutter only dream of. Then you “remember” you stutter. Everything is back to normal. But you got a taste of what it’s like to be fluent if only for a few minutes.
Only now you are even more aware of how much your stuttering sucks.
Some people might feel sorry for you and pat you and say that there is also a bright side of stuttering; that stuttering forces you to develop mental toughness in awkward social situations. Sometimes it helps, if only for a little while. But the devaluated identity is still there in the morning.
The hunt for masculinity
In this society of ours, stuttering is often perceived as a sign of weakness in men in particular. How can a man provide and be tough, when he is unable to speak his mind?
Stuttering feels emasculated, and that drives people. Depending on the person this emasculated status makes people work harder to gain back what is missing. They do what it takes to be Somebody, if only for a few minutes a day. Of course the drive is not a male thing only. Women does it too. I’ve seen it.
Sometimes it works but the history of who you used to haunt you. When you get a family and children you have sleepless nights ruminating about the possibility that your children could begin stuttering too.
Blocking isn’t the same as when you stumble over your words. Stumbling is temporary and goes away after a good sleep. Stuttering is your behavior, your worldview, your identity. It’s who you are and ever will be.
- Stuttering is social anxiety.
- Stuttering is the fear of being exposed.
- Stuttering is picking a job that doesn’t require much speaking.
- Stuttering is choosing a pizza, when you want a sandwich, because “pizza” is easier to pronounce.
- Stuttering is unworthiness.
- Stuttering is shame.
- Stuttering is balancing between suicide thoughts and happiness.
- Stuttering is to be emasculated.
If you stutter you know stuttering is persistent. Even if you manage to take off the stuttering label and see yourself in a different view, there is always this nagging fear that you wake up one day unable to say your children’s name.