Covert stuttering workshop

Covert stuttering exposed! Second workshop, third day. I wrote my thoughts on covert stuttering before.

This particular workshop was a panel of people who were formerly covert. They basically stood up and told their stories. Which were … amazingly like mine. They talked about avoiding situations, substituting words, not participating in activities, the whole bit. Indeed, I was not alone in my stuttering silo!

Just as in previous workshops, I was amazed at how these people just got up in front of a large group and stuttered away, not bothered at all.

They mentioned that there’s not a lot of research out there on covert stuttering. Well … of course. We don’t like to talk. About anything. Or want to associate ourselves with stuttering. So while I didn’t seek out research studies on this kind of stuff, I probably would have considered answering some questions if I ran into a study — say at my doctor’s office or something. But that rarely happens.

Also, there are varying degrees of success when it comes to covert stuttering. I thought this was interesting because it really sums up my life a lot. I have basically a “positive feedback loop” on being covert. What I was doing — avoiding, being silent, etc., was working. My life wasn’t getting any worse, and career-wise, things were continuing to improve. So there wasn’t any motivation in not being covert.

And what is it about being covert that’s so necessary? Well, aside from the usual shame/fear bit, it’s that society really places an emphasis on fluency. Like, perfection. Turn on the tv. Watch any show. Any of them. Nobody stutters. Ever. They’re all reading their lines perfectly. Even on the nightly news if they’re talking to a correspondant and not using the prompter, their words are succint and perfect. Radio personalities are perfect. Books on tape are perfect. Youtube video presenters are perfect. So where does this leave me? Well, I want to be perfect. If I can’t, then well, I’m just not going to open my mouth.

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