Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. It is also the six-month anniversary of the day my life changed dramatically, the day I started having seizures and stuttering badly.
When Steve left me, he moved in with his friend, Bob, and over the next several months we negotiated the dissolution of our assets and our changing relationship and that often required phone calls. Today, I am thinking about one of those conversations.
He called and asked me to come over. I can’t remember why; he was probably asking me to come over and bring something he wanted from the house. But when I hung up, I somehow became convinced he wanted me back so I bathed and chose nice clothes to wear, thinking we might go out for a meal together to celebrate. But when I got there, nothing had changed.
I’ve had two days of conviction that my stuttering was miraculously cured. Sometimes I want something so badly, my brain (temporarily) allows me to believe that what I want is going to happen. But then, I crash to earth again.
I’ve been wondering: When do I stop fighting this condition? When do I stop hoping to speak normally again? Should I stop hoping to speak normally again? Or should I accept my condition and just get on with living?
I feel myself slipping into acceptance. The Stuttering Foundation magazine/newsletter I that came in the mail is the reason. I see myself on every page. I hear myself in the words of every contributor.
My name is Chris and I’m a stutterer. Let’s move on. Okay, but to what, to where?
First: I have to get the arrhythmia fixed. (I can spell that word now. Another step towards acceptance.)
I look ahead. I have plenty of cash in the bank but don’t want to travel. I have quarterly HIV and asthma clinics on different schedules, I have weekly physiotherapy and psychiatric sessions and soon I start speech therapy. And if/when I get a pacemaker it will mean another quarterly clinic.
Then there is the PTSD; the anxiety disorder. It’s the worst. It’s the reason I stay indoors.
Six months tomorrow. Six months with Dr. Shoja and over those months I have learned how to stop seizures. Since committing myself to house arrest (notice the change in the title image for my blog, above?) they’ve stopped. And I have another eighteen months with the good Doctor and I have no doubt whatsoever that with her help that I’ll completely recover from the PTSD crisis and symptoms.
But I don’t necessarily expect to stop stuttering. The Stuttering Foundation spokespeople talk in a way that reminds me of alcoholics. Alcoholics still call themselves alcoholics even after decades of sobriety and that’s what stutterers do because if they stop stuttering they know it will come back without diligent adherence to an adapted lifestyle. Alcoholics have to avoid alcohol; stutterers have to avoid stress.
So back to “Let’s move on; but to what, to where?”
First The Flame and then I have an idea for a project. It’s an idea for a show called Making Lemonade I could produce. Doing it would bring purpose to my bird dresses and other costumes I could make. I’m a decent writer, a good paper costume maker and I’d have an answer to my questions: “To where? To what?”
The image above is the one I used as inspiration for my peacock dress. It's this image that showed me the variety of colours, where the colours change and variety of patters. )his bird is greener on its tail feathers than the blue peacocks I see here.)
In Rajasthan one morning, I went up on the roof of my hotel and noticed peacocks everywhere — all of them on top of other buildings and I sat there for over an hour so that I could see a peacock fly. It was something I had never seen and worth the wait.