For someone who stutters, there are blocks we never forget, experiences we can never shake and pain we just can’t forget. For those who don’t know what it means to block on a word, it’s when you’re trying to say a particular word but your vocal cords tense up and blocks any air flow from coming out, then it all goes down hill from there. The scary part is that you have no clue how long the block will last for, sometimes a couple of seconds and other times a couple of minutes. The longer the block, the deeper the pain goes.
Whenever I block on a word, it’s like the whole world just keeps moving and I’m at a stand still, my life is on pause, trying to get this word out. You know what I’m thinking when I’m blocking on a word? A million things at once. How does my face look? How do I sound? Do I sound stupid? Do I look stupid? Is this word going to come out? Should I use a different word? Do I have enough breath? Should I start over and try again? Should I give up and pretend like I wasn’t saying anything at all? Don’t forget to make eye contact. Don’t look too weird. What does the other person think of me now they know that I’m a full blown stutterer?
Silent blocks are just debilitating, emotionally and physically debilitating. These are the times when I actually believe that living in silence would be better.
When the time comes for the word to actually come out, there’s really nothing else you can do but keep moving on as the world does. In a business meeting I can’t just sit there and think about the pain and how hard that just was, I have to bury it quickly and move on with the meeting, keep on talking, of course all along avoiding the word I just got stuck on. I don’t have time to think about what just happened, I’ve got things to do, people to meet and things to say.
Now I know what you must be thinking. Burying that pain can’t be good at all, denying what just happened cannot be helpful or is it? Is there any such thing as good denial? Denial that just keeps you moving or is that called perseverance? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say that I’m such a courageous person to do what I do, to keep talking even though I stutter. The truth is, I do not feel courageous at all. If anything I feel like a coward. A coward that keeps silent when I don’t want to talk, a coward who avoids social situations cause I know I’ll have to speak, a coward who wants to rely on others to speak for me, a coward living in fear of stuttering and blocking every hour of the day. Tell me, where’s the courage in that?
Whether it’s courage or not I do not know but what I do know is that these blocks I experience are unforgettable. The pain just kind of lives there inside of me and resurfaces every now and then. Even though it’s painful, I don’t regret it. In a way there’s comfort in being unique and also using the pain to feel empathy for others.