I have a stutter.

And no, this post isn’t about The King’s Speech (which I did just watch and thought was truly wonderful); this is something that’s been on my mind for awhile. Something I wasn’t sure that I wanted to reveal.

Reveal, you ask? Isn’t a stutter sort of self-evident? (Or you might if we were having a conversation) Yes, reveal is the correct word because you could talk to me for years and not once hear a stutter or a stammer out of me. So, how can I say I have a stutter? Because I do.

In order for you to hear that stutter you have to be close to me, my wife hears my stutter all the time, as does my best friend, occasionally my parents but no one else. In order to work around the problem I tend to think through what I want to say before I say it, and not in the instant before I speak but I have my mind running constantly to organize my thoughts comprehensively so that should any particular subject come up in conversation I will have thought through my answer for a long time before joining in the discussion. That sounds obsessive, but all I truly mean is that having a stutter and trying to hide said stutter has caused a tic in my thinking that allows me to cover it up completely.

With those close to me I tend to talk of the ordinary details of life (going to the store, the weather, plans for the weekend, basic small talk) and those ordinary details of life are when my stutter manifests itself. If you ever do get close enough to me to see that, all you’ll really see is a strange pause, a fleeting annoyed expression and then a continuation of my words. Not debilitating by any means, just irritating.

I’ve had this stutter for as long as I can remember and as a kid it manifested in not wanting to talk very much. I was the youngest kid in my grade, one of the smartest, one of the smallest, I was already a target and the last thing I needed was to give the kids who were attacking me more ammunition. I wasn’t aware of the stutter as a condition, had no idea I could get help with it, and would vehemently have denied it if anyone else had brought it up with me. My reaction was to develop that strange thinking tic I mentioned earlier and to not talk much when the subject was mundane. Which created an odd dichotomy in that I would expound upon subjects in class, arguing with teachers, explaining my positions clearly and logically and then say very little the rest of the time. As I got older I was able to work the rote responses into my mental tic and reduce the danger of stuttering. But that way does not lead to real conversations about real life, it leads to surface conversations about life so still to this day I much prefer an in depth conversation to an ordinary, everyday conversation.

With those close to me I relax the rote responses and just speak as it’s coming out of my head and then I stutter.

My stuttering, and my solution to that stuttering may seem odd but it works for me so I see no real need to get help at this stage of my life. Especially since it would be very difficult to demonstrate what’s happening to an actual speech therapist since I don’t stutter in front of strangers.

It can be a little difficult (though, again, not much) but if even a mild form of stuttering like mine can effect a life in strange ways I can’t imagine what it’s like for those with a serious stutter.

In the end this isn’t just a very long-winded way of explaining why my posts on this site tend to be very… long-winded…,

Or maybe it is.

I could be wrong.

Mostly, I just thought it was interesting.

But I could be wrong.