In Part 1, we reviewed a little bit about what stuttering is, and, moreover, how it affects people on a physical level. We were educated, that, this is more of an issue than it may seem, and, it affects more people than we actually realize.
On to Part 2!
It’s about about to get personal! I have a speech impediment. Albeit, mild. In this post, I want to share a bit about my story, for the sole purpose of, simply, further shining the light on this issue of stutterers and speech impediments, and the reality that is this issue! This is not about me. Although, based off of my perspective, as a stutterer, I believe I could have some valuable insight to offer you, and key ways you can best relate with people that are like me. I’d like to tell you about it. That is, the main purpose of this series. Stay tuned for this in Part 3.
Here’s more about me, and what happens in my personal social interactions. A little look into my life, as someone who stutters.
All people, even non stutterers, stutter at moments. However, non stutterers are doing it just because they feel nervous, they are distracted, or because they’re trying to find the right words to say. Or, some kind of external factor. Because I have a speech impediment that is so mild, whenever I speak and I stutter a little, and my voice shakes, people tend read me wrong and think I am just nervous, or that I’m struggling to find my words. Because they don’t even know I have a speech impediment.
I am serious. Customers that come to my job, which I have worked at for a few years now, tell me moments later after asking me a store related question, and me answering it, (briefly stumbling on a word or two) they will say “Is this your first day?” because they draw an assumption based off of how my voice sounded, as opposed to the other employees at this store sound, who aren’t typically stuttering. When my voice shakes and stutters, they also think, many times, that I do not know what I am talking about. They think I’m unsure about what I’m saying. “Are you sure?” or “You might want to get someone who knows, just to be sure.” I’ve gotten this too. I’ve gotten a MYRIAD of statements like this.
None of these statements towards me are inherently negative, most people really honestly DO think I’m nervous, or unsure. They don’t know that I struggle with a speech impediment, because, they don’t know about the disorder, they don’t know me, or any others who struggle with it. All in all, it is just frustrating, really, when I am being professional and doing my job well, and they are doubting my logic, and its reliability. I’ve gotten tired of it, to be honest. One time when someone was questioning/looking at me in a doubting way, I told them “Yes, I’m sure. I just have a speech impediment.” that made them feel very embarrassed, and uncomfortable.
I’ve also had people just look at me and comment that I seem nervous. When, really, I may actually be feeling totally chill. Having a speech impediment, mild or not, is an aggravating thing to have in pretty much every scenario, no matter how you look at it.
Stuttering, Let’s Talk About It: Part 2