Easy avoidance

Wow, is it ever easy to avoid words. I’m talking to my boss, asking about taking time off in July. Instead of saying a “week,” I say “seven days.” Terrible. But I could feel that ‘w’ wasn’t coming out, and I wanted to just get on with it. A quick think back at the conversation also reveals that I didn’t breathe right and had my shoulders haunched up, causing more tension than necessary.

Talking myself into this

Regarding this conference — it’ll probably require that I talk to people. And as someone who stutters, I really haven’t been a fan of that.

Most of my stuttering life, I’ve shut out things like conferences and social meet-ups because I talk my way through what might happen, decide I don’t need it, and then that’s it. Like for this conference, because of that hard-wired response, it went like this:

So you’ll go there, and you’ll meet someone who stutters. And then what? You’ll talk to each other, realize you’ve been through the same things and then …? What are they going to tell you that you don’t already know? You know there’s no cure, so … what, you’re going to get therapy and solve all your problems in 4 days?

But this is exactly the mentality I need to break out of. The point of this blog. The point of going to an intimidating conference and facing down the fear of talking to strangers spontaneously. And what better conference to make my first? Nobody is going to judge me! Nobody is going to laugh at me when I [can barely] introduce myself! People will laugh knowingly when I get stuck on my name and then point sheepishly to my nametag. They’ll be patient with me!

Alright, this is good. The mental state is changing. Now to clear it with the family and get permission from the boss …

…so here we go.

After years of writing my thoughts and experiences with stuttering in notebooks and journals, it’s finally time to get this blog going. Some of the pages are already up — About and FAQs. As stated on those pages, I’m pretty lousy at blogging regularly, so please be patient.

I suppose the first thing to talk about is the National Stuttering Association’s annual conference.

It’s only two months away, but I have some vacation time I could use to go. Since I’m living and working in Saudi, I need to sort it out pretty quickly.

The irony of course is that I’m pretty intimidated by going to a conference … with hundreds of people … who I don’t know … who I’ll feel I have to talk to … since I paid to fly over and whatnot. I know that most of them will stutter, and I know many others will be speech therapists and professionals. But it’s still intimidating. On the other hand, if I’m going to come out publicly (mostly to myself) that I stutter, then well, time to embrace the whole thing. With the exception of one person who I knew in high school, I don’t actually know anybody else who stutters. This effort should hopefully change all that.

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