Tuesday, April 30, 1996

Fluency: When is enough enough?

I often participate on this list as someone "who has overcome stuttering"... Then I qualify it by saying "to a large extent", or I say something like "it's no longer a problem". The fact is that I have a very hard time labeling myself at this point.

The fact is that I continue to call myself a stutterer both for philosophical and practical reasons. My philosophical reason is that I believe in an organic component to this affliction, and I believe that my efforts MAY have helped me compensate for it. It is also possible that it would have followed that natural course for me in any case. Still, if it were possible at this point to go into the brain and know exactly WHAT made me prone to stuttering in the first place (yes, John I mean blocks too)... it would probably still be there. In this sense I call myself a stutterer.

My practical reason is the very well known positive effect of "acceptance". If I do accept that once in a blue moon I can still get caught by a surprise block, I won't make a big deal out of it, and panic, and think "OhmyGod it's back...!"

The fact is I now NEVER enter any situation, be it phone, meeting, public speaking, argument, whatever, with even the slightest concern that I might stutter, and I usually don't. When I do it's most often only noticed by me or it's quickly brought under "control". I had major problems in these areas as a teen and beyond (I'm now 50).

So, am I fluent "enough"? Yes, I am fluent enough to give priority to just about every other aspect of my life. No, I am not fluent enough to think that I can't improve any further or that I can't learn something from this list.

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