I know now that you didn't know, I know now that you thought you were just being a "cool" kid who wanted to pick on the kid who you found weak, I know now that you thought you were just trying to help. I can never go back and change those moments but I can sit hear, type, and one day say to you that I forgive you. As much as I bottle this in, as much as I don't want to remember... I remember. I can never erase when my stutter and you made me feel like. You both won. When I was just this person trying to be a normal human being you took that away from me.
Imagine sitting in a room with 80 students and a substitute teacher pulls out the
She then says "Please tell me your last name also when I call you," You hear names called one by one by one, everyone is just saying their name so smoothly. But then you hear your name called. "Allyson...K" as she stops with confusion on her face. "How do you say your last name?"
I think to myself "Why in the world does she want to know my last name? Just know I am Allyson and move on," I start to say "Kauzlarich" and I can't get from the K to the A. I am stuck. I am so stuck that the whole room goes silent. Silent in a way I absolutely hate. Silent in a way my anxiety is shooting up to my brain telling me to escape somehow. In this block, I stop and start again.
All of a sudden she says "What...you can't even say your own last name?" she says loudly with a laugh. I stop, my eyes get big, I am so in shock that this lady had the audacity to even say that to me. As I look around everyone is staring at me. Like they were waiting for me to say something or maybe I had a good comeback that got me sent down to the principal's office.
I sat there waiting for someone to stand up for me. I sat there waiting for my so-called friends to say something. But no one did. No one did anything and in the silence, I was forced to bottle my emotions until that bell rang. I just looked, smiled and said "yeah I can't", looked down, and let her move on.
The bell rang and I dashed out of that room. I felt the tears just pour out of me. As I walked out of that door all of my friends asked "Ally are you okay?" and I really wanted to turn around a yell and scream at them. However my go to line "I am fine" came slipping out. I felt so angry at myself for stuttering. I felt that this lady caused me to feel like my voice wasn't even worth defending. I felt no one could stick up for me, even myself.
Imagine you are playing the game "popcorn" and someone calls on you...
Think back to your younger school grade days. You are in class and the teacher wants us all to read a paragraph. As she tries to find volunteers she says "actually let's just do the game popcorn. One reads and then after they are done you pick and etc etc."
One boy starts reading and internally I am screaming, I want to walk out of the room, I want to literally die because I don't want to read or have anyone choose me. I hoped no one picked me. As time went on and other picked others to read I felt a sense of confidence, sometimes it's like a wave. But then suddenly I hear "Ally,"
I cough, "hmm", and find where they left off and the sentence began.
As I start the first word I get stuck right there, my inner critic who I didn't know at the time starts yapping saying "just stop" but I keep pushing and thinking "maybe I can do this."
As words come and get stuck and I keep on pushing through all of a sudden my teacher starts reading. Yes, you read that right MY TEACHER STARTS READING THE WHOLE SENTENCE. I stop, look up, and she just reads what I would of read and then picks someone. Was I a ghost? Did I not even read and I was playing a game in my head?
I start to cry, I felt like I totally got pushed down and that a voice like mine never deserved to read.
Imagine sitting in a room with your classmates and you go to answer a question...
I accepted I knew the answer...accomplishment. I put my hand up...bigger accomplishment, heck that is freaking brave! I started to answer: YOU GO GIRL...
Bless my teacher for being ever so sweet to have me answer, but little did I know I would get those reactions with the "popular girls." I go to start speaking and I then hear those laughs. I hated them for laughing at me. And as I am still trying to explain my answer my stutter is very present. I then told the teacher I forgot the answer and as I sat there all those times I slowly felt myself asking why did I even speak?
Better yet, why did I even think I could? They took my power... they made me feel like I was nothing. They made me think I had no right of even being a human being who just wanted to talk.
Imagine that. just imagine.
All those times I had to introduce myself to the class, always try and avoid this because of these horrible situations. And I don't really want to go into a lot of detail in this section, but there's one that will always stand out.
Some people don't understand and it's not their fault but this was just downright rude.
It was the first day of 8th grade, and I was in my new class. (The first day always terrifies me because I know we will have to introduce ourselves.) The teacher greeted us all with a smile and says to us that we are going around to room, standing up, and saying our names. I say back in my chair wishing I was invisible, as usual. Then comes my turn, and I get up off my chair.
"I.... I am... A- A.." I stop and I look down and think "crap crap crap that was so bad I gave my stutter away..they know something is wrong."
As I go back and retry one student then begins to laugh, and I mean obnoxiously laugh and points his finger at me. And this laugh was just the laugh that ended that trying to say my name. I started to cry, I walk out of the room and the teacher took care of that student.
Now, there are a lot more situations I didn't go into or didn't mention. I wanted to bring to light these in specific.
I know as people who stutter we all had our horrible and traumatic situations. I know it hurts to go back and say that is really where that root comes from. And if you are a person who stutters and is reading this know that we can overcome it all, and we can go from being afraid of this all happening again to saying "you know what, I may stutter but I am going to own it and if someone wants to make a scene and make us feel like a little fish in a big sea, they don't get to steal me being me anymore." I think these situations made us realize how strong our stutter can control us but also how many people just are rude, and as much as we want to we can't change that.