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I Am A Stutterer


My 3rd Grade Poetry!

My 3rd Grade Poetry!

“Among my stillness was a pounding heart.” ―Shannon A. Thompson

 

 

 

At an early age, I noticed I couldn’t get certain words to come out of my mouth. I had thousands of consonants and sentences I needed to express, but they were trapped inside my head like an elevator full of anxious people.

 

Sometimes, though, I had to be still. I had to be silent. I had to use substitutes for the words I truly wanted to say. For example, instead of informing somebody I lived in Minnesota, I’d say something like, “I live in a city called Duluth.” Minnesota, apparently, had too many vowels, and I just couldn’t articulate the entire state at one time:

 

M  I  N  N  E  S  O  T  A

 

This language barrier caused embarrassment and humiliation for me. In the third grade, we were required to do an oral report on Death Valley. What if the kids laugh? What is I can’t get the words out? What if I fail, God forbid?

 

I can still hear myself stuttering, “Um, Um, D-D-Death V-Valley is the lo-loest point in N-North Am-m-merica.”

 

Yes, the kids laughed. They laughed hysterically and despicably until sweet, silver haired, Mrs. Anderson scolded them. “Now, go on, Kim, you’re doing fine.” To this day, even though I’ve not been to Death Valley, I know every single sweet detail about it.

 

At any rate…

 

What I couldn’t express completely, I wrote. I took notes and scribbled on tablets until the lined pages were overflowing with paragraphs, stanzas, unrecognizable dialogue, quotes, and short stories about my weird sister, the girls I despised in middle school, the neighbor’s Siamese cat, and my big fat- beautiful Italian family. I remember lying on my bubblegum colored carpet writing for hours upon hours.

 

And it felt damn good to release all of the crowded, crazy muses from my psyche.

 

After all these years, sometimes I find myself with A’s and W’s and M’s stuck inside my throat like dried up ink, like an accumulation of the alphabet all mixed up. I stutter and stammer when I can’t get the entire thought out at once. At times, when I’m on the phone, a ballpoint pen is ready to spell out Minnesota. This way, I can write it out as I’m speaking. For some strange reason, writing it out fully and saying it slowly works for me.

 

What I’m trying to say is this. If I’m quiet in your presence, don’t assume I’m stuck up, or snotty, or unknowledgeable about the subject. In all probability, I’m straitening out the vocabulary inside my jam-packed head so each sentence falls into place before I talk. I’m just being still for a moment.

 

Yeah, that’s what I’m probably doing.

 

—–Dear reader, how do you express yourself? How do you remain still?

 

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36 Comments

  • Reply
    Dad
    September 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Even when I was coaching, I was afraid to introduce my team thinking that I would
    mess up, and people would laugh at me. Mostly at banquets. But through prayer
    and practice I have overcome that fear.
    Love You
    Dad

  • Reply
    Trish
    September 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Kim! We all tick a little differently and it is nice to have insight into each other.
    I recently asked a close friend if she thought I was a sociopath. I legitimately thought it could be true because I don’t understand emotions and the way people express things. It’s not that I don’t care- I care very deeply about certain things but there is some emotional thing that I see most people have that I am missing.
    I started looking at personality tests- In the past I had brushed them off because I didn’t want to be stereotyped or pigeonholed… But I wanted to know why I seemed so different.
    I found out that roughly 5% of the population is “like me”.. And what a relief!! I’m not a sociopath after all! I found out that I process things in my own (well, not exactly because I’m with the 5%) way. And I recharge in a different way. And now I am working on being OK with that. Self awareness hopefully leading to self acceptance 🙂 Right now, I am loving the mantra “I am enough”.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 19, 2016 at 4:44 am

      Trish,
      YOU ARE ENOUGH!
      And I love you love you love you.
      Such a gifted, beautiful, interesting woman. x

  • Reply
    Elephant's Child
    September 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I adopt other people’s accents. And if they stutter so do I. It isn’t intentional, but it happens. Which is embarassing. And people have thought I was making fun of them.
    So I am often quiet – unless I am with people I know well.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 19, 2016 at 4:45 am

      Dear, S,
      I wish this were true for me.
      I’d like to have a FRENCH accent! xx

  • Reply
    Tia
    September 17, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Love you 💋

  • Reply
    Nan C Loyd
    September 17, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    If I’m on a platform teaching I can express because God is with me. One-on-one not so much. I also have a ton of words crowding in my head, each trying to get to the forefront and push their way out of my mouth. Nah, not gonna happen without great provocation. BUT. Give me pen and paper? Or a computer keyboard? Those words flow out smoothly and I can express “I love you” in a million different words. Or give me goodies and I can create a goody box for someone who is on my heart. I can sing a worship song and make you cry. I can be by myself and never be alone because words are always there – either I’m writing them or someone else is! And sometimes, only in a safety zone with Alpha Hubby, words flow and flow and flow because I know he understands and is always FOR me, no matter what. That only happens with him. I kinda agree with Trish up there – I sometimes think I’m a wee bit… off. But I like me that way so … whatever!!

  • Reply
    Amy@Souldipper
    September 17, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    As a young woman, my bain-in-life was acne. Scooting up the career ladder, I was the first woman to be transferred across the country to Head Office where my role was to make certain all opportunities & door were open for women – equal to men. I would be assigned some really interesting challenges that I loved, but the inevitable pimple would arrive in the night, ready to glow conspicuously while I performed my duties the next day. About a year into my role, I was to attend the Annual General Meeting and make certain everything was in place for shareholders to arrive from across the country. With a “doosey” sitting on my chin, I was determined to act as though nothing was wrong with my appearance. I was quickly gobsmacked when I heard the President of our major Financial firm make his presentation to the shareholders. It was the first time I’d heard him speak in public, under tons of pressure. He stuttered! He struggled horribly. He persisted and made it through. My heart went out to him in such a big way. I wanted to stand up and shout, “It’s okay, Mr. Mingay! I’ve got pimples!”

  • Reply
    Chris Carter
    September 18, 2016 at 5:47 am

    That poem is EXQUISITE.

    I had no idea about this, my beautiful friend. I LOVE how God used it to direct you into your purpose- WRITING. This is your gift. Where words can’t be said out loud, they can be written- and there is such POWER in that. God made a way for your voice to be HEARD.

    You ALWAYS hold power and a profound purpose in every single word you write- and utter.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Chris,
      why don’t you live in Minnesota? xxxx

  • Reply
    Peta Kaplan
    September 18, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for your beautifully written explanation of the consonants like people ‘eager to get out of a crowded elevator.’ That is an incredibly helpful visual for people to understand the feeling behind stuttering. The juxtaposition of challenged verbal fluency and free flowing written words is a powerful one. Creative expression takes many forms and for some it easier to be verbal, others in writing and still others create through non verbal forms of expression, such as painting.

    Words not coming out of ones mouth quite as intended, is of course a typical problem, faced by most multilingual problem who have an accent… and find themselves saying something quite unintended. There usually is not the negative feedback though, which you describe for stutterers. But nonetheless, it is an experience shared by many.

    Well written and honest post which gives insight into the ‘linguistic traffic jam.’

    Peta & Ben

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Peta,
      such wisdom and knowledge and insight, darling! x

  • Reply
    Debbie
    September 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Kim, I sooo admire your bravery … it takes a very big person to openly admit something he/she sees as a flaw. But I don’t see your stuttering as an imperfection, dear. To me, it’s just part of you, a part that helps slow you down so you can gather your thoughts and express yourself better. By the way, you wrote that poem in third grade??? Did your parents and teachers recognize your talent … and encourage it??

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Not an imperfection….Only a bit of a discomfort when one has SO MUCH to say, darling. xxx

      PS. You like the poem? I thought it was horrid. x

  • Reply
    Balroop Singh
    September 18, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Your poetry is wonderful Kim and so are you!! Love you for sharing your story and inspiring us all. Imperfections are those blessings of our life, which make us stronger. 🙂 Stay blessed dear friend.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Balroop,
      your encouragement spurs me onward! xx

  • Reply
    totally Caroline
    September 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    How wonderful that you kept your old poetry! Even then you were so eloquent, even if you did stutter. I am so glad that you took up writing so early on, we all need an outlet for our feelings. For me it was drawing. These days its my blog, my journal, and sometimes just sitting still.
    Lots of love, C

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      –YES! sitting still is what I strive to do MORE. “BE STILL and Know That I am God.” My all time fave. verse.

      Hope you are well, Caroline! xx

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    September 19, 2016 at 4:11 am

    You are so wonderful Kim. All of you. I fumble with my words because I’m an anxious awkward person. Words get messed up from point A to point B and well it sometimes comes out as a hot mess so I end up staying quiet. Then sometimes my doctor puts me on medication that removes that little filter and well – it’s a party of words…like a GD salad of words. My husband won’t even associate with me. Just kidding. I think people think I’m drunk a lot. I’m not. I’m just weird. And medicated. 😛

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Love you just the way you are. Even medicated! xx xx

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    September 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I am so glad you took that pen in hand. ♥ I think you’re amazing. I occasionally stuttered as a child, out of fear. I overcame it by singing. 🙂 Love you more than words, Kim!

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      September 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      MORE than Words!

      WOWWwwwwwwwwwwww! Luv You, my sweet Guru. xxx

  • Reply
    solidgoldcreativity
    September 20, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Wow! Your poetry, your thoughts, in grade 3 are incredible! What a special person you are, Kimmy. Love knowing you xxx

  • Reply
    Jeri
    September 20, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I tend to mash my words together when speaking when there’s a lot I need to get out. When teaching, I just used to laugh a bit and then make a weird noise and get on with things. So I guess that’s fairly mild when it comes to stuttering, but I can relate to this post a lot.

  • Reply
    Dana
    September 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    You write so well, Kim – clearly and with such expression. I wonder if that’s partly because you’ve struggled with saying the words out loud? Sometimes I want to use a word I’ve read often but never said, and I’m afraid I will mispronounce it – that’s a weakness for me. If I’m with people I’m close to, I will ask them if I’m right, and try to remember so I can say it correctly the next time.

  • Reply
    marie kléber
    September 21, 2016 at 1:03 am

    I love your Poetry Kim. I love you.
    God gave you a talent, your words on paper make miracles.
    As a kid, I was way too tall, a real dreamer and felt ou-of-place most of the time. Talking was a nightmare. Writing set me free.
    Sending you kisses from sunny Paris

  • Reply
    Lisa thomson
    September 23, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I wouldn’t ever guess you had this insecurity as a child because you express your thoughts so eloquently on paper. That must have been terrifying, Kim yet you found your passion for writing through this pain. We are all the better for it, too. The world benefits from your passion. I express myself by writing and by drawing, painting and journaling. Thanks for sharing this part of you xoxo

  • Reply
    Beth Teliho
    September 26, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    How cool that you have this from 3rd grade! And what insightful thoughts for that age….
    Love Love Love that you shared a flaw (or an old flaw). I’m always terrified of using a word wrong when speaking and writing. I obsessively check definitions to make sure I’m not making a mistake! Sometimes, it takes me a while to process what people say to me, and I find I misunderstand a lot because of that, also very embarrassing for me. Once, I overheard this lady tell someone else that she has trouble processing when people are talking, and she laughed about it so nonchalant that it made me feel more comfortable about having the same issue! Now, if I feel I’m not comprehending something, I often just tell the person who’s talking to me, like that woman did, and I laugh…because it really isn’t a big deal.

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