Stuttering and Shaking

I was out for a walk the other night with my partner, and we saw some neighbors heading our way. I didn’t know them, but they were nice enough to stop and say hello. They then asked about us — being new to the neighborhood and all that.

And then he approached me, wanting to shake my hand.

Are we doing this? I don’t think we’re doing this still.

But I wanted to be friendly! We’re neighbors! Having a little chat.

At the same time of the handshake approach, he introduced himself, and I had to say my name.

I honestly don’t recall if I shook his hand or not. Because my eyes were closed, and I was trying really hard to say my name. A lot harder than I should have, yes. It took me a few tries, and I got stuck, and I didn’t say anything for a little bit, and then dragged out the r, and then … who knows what else. You know how it is.

I finally said my name, and then retreated back a step. The conversation went from there (no mention of the stutter, nor did I bother advertising). Sometimes, well, sometimes it doesn’t feel right in the moment.

So we chatted for a while and then went our separate ways. I didn’t think about it much after that other than making a note that it was a notable stutter in recent memory. I’m still stuttering obviously, but with COVID and everything else, there aren’t as many in-person introductoins to worry about.

I think years ago I would have beat myself up over it and felt bad about it for hours afterward. I got over this within minutes. I think the next time I see these people I may bring it up. And my feeling to bring it up isn’t so much about me and my situation. I’ve learned that generally speaking, people don’t know about us. About stuttering. So if I can education another couple about it — that it’s just who I am and will always be — that should be the goal.

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