Saturday, November 6, 2021

Fabulous STAMMA

While work continues on Merrill and Leo’s lot to the immediate south of me, preparatory work in the lot to the immediate north of me was going on at full tilt yesterday where they were falling more trees in advance of starting construction on their home. THUMP! I giant dull thud would reverberate through the neighbourhood each time a giant Fir tree was felled. It was rather exciting to watch.

My land line isn’t working. Do I care? Not really, given my speech issues. But I tried to report it and dealing with Telus is a total pain. Now, even their chat feature is robotically operated. I could not connect with a person. Euck! I spent all morning this morning trying to reach a live person on the chat feature of Telus’s website and finally succeeded. But what a chore!

My Stamma Zoom group was intoxicating. My sessions online with fellow stammerers are as valuable to me as were my sessions with Dr. Shoja. I adore my peers and I learn a lot from them and from the speech language therapists who host our sessions.  Yesterday’s session gave me energy for my upcoming workshop with the Canadian Stuttering Association.

The other night I watched Minari on Prime and loved it. Then I watched another movie I wish I hadn’t seen. I did not know what was coming.

I continue to learn how to live with FND. I gain knowledge from my experience and reflective insights. I have waves of ‘rough seas’ sometimes, and sometimes I feel like my old self. During the rough patches, I speak with my fake Aussi accent. A speech language therapist and host of my Stamma group asked me, “Why don’t you speak with your accent all the time?” I wish I knew what to think of my resistance. 

I once dated a deaf man. We were very young. He and others of his community disapproved of cochlear implants. My friends saw the devices as symbols of shame and disability; my friends felt completely fulfilled and in no way disadvantaged. I would not dare speak with my accent with my fellow stutterers because there are those who cannot do what I can do. I feel rude using my accent in my Zoom meetings.

Also, for me, if not for others, my voice is a big part of my identity. I feel fake using the accent. I feel somehow unclean using it—if you can believe that. I will, use the voice of course; when my speech is as bad as it is right now. It feels worst to take so much time to say a sentence, so I use the accent. For short periods, I’m fine with it. Five-and-a-half years in, and I still struggle in so many ways with my speech.

Tonight, I go to my potluck dinner with my fellow dog walkers. I’m looking forward to it but it’s going to exhaust me to talk unless I use my accent.

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