Meeting the Stuttering Brain

After the shenanigans in France, my buddy and I headed up to Luxembourg to meet Tom Weidig of the Stuttering Brain. And yes, it was a full-on stuttering vacation, complete with three countries and plenty of people who stutter.

I met up with Tom, and he gave me a great walking tour of Luxembourg City. What I noticed first was that Tom stuttered, but he just plowed on through, still talking, still communicating. And none of it bothered him. I was still getting used to listening to other people who stutter, but this was inspirational for me. Tom didn’t slow down one bit in his tour (he also walked pretty fast) and as someone whose family is from Luxembourg, he had a lot to tell.

We ate dinner, and he shared his thoughts about stuttering and his attitude toward it. A lot of what he said echoed the workshops during the NSA conference. But with Tom, it was more direct. It was great to meet and talk to someone who had such a healthy relationship with his stutter.

After dinner we walked through the city some more. Tom even tried to find someone who he knew just so I had to introduce myself! Fortunately he wasn’t successful. We had some ice cream — I ordered what I wanted — and then we parted ways.

Let me briefly summarize my understanding of Tom’s points on Stuttering. Then I’ll get into them more this week.

He didn’t state them this way per se, but after thinking more about it, it follows a natural sort of course.

1. Before the stutter, we imagine what horrible things are going to happen to us if we stutter if we are found out. But that’s just a theory. And theories should be tested.

2. During the stutter, we feel that if we are stuttering, it’s a negative situation. Thus, we make negative connections with situations. Then avoid them in the future. However, these connections can be broken and positive associations made.

3. After the stutter, we feel regret or shame. We identify ourselves with the stutter, and thus become covert. This becomes who we are instead of our true selves. Thus, we lose our authenticity.

You can see how they are tightly connected and flow into each other.

What I really enjoyed about Tom is that I felt challenged after talking to him. Everything he said was clear and made perfect sense. Everything he said could be put into practice to make myself more accepting of my own stutter.

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