Despite getting to a place where I feel very stutter-positive and overt, I still only disclose that I stutter if I have to. I’ve told my students and their parents, my coworkers, hair stylist, physician and of course my friends. Usually I don’t tell strangers unless it comes up, like the Uber driver when I went to DC or the new hygienist at my dental office. I haven’t really perfected a general statement, so usually wait for an appropriate opening or when things are getting awkward. But a few difficult situations have happened lately that have pushed me to disclose more often.
First, a few weeks ago I was in a car accident on my way to work. I had to talk to the other driver, a police officer, tow truck driver, both my principal and assistant principal, and another coworker who came to offer help. I was very shaken and my stuttering could only be described as quite noticeable. I struggled to get every word out. Needless to say, I had to disclose. I was afraid the police officer would think I was being dishonest or think I had a head injury or something. However, I was left with a feeling of success even though it was a pretty awful experience.
The other hard thing was that in February, our 15 year old dog had a stroke and passed away. Speaking with vets is hard enough, but the panic and grief involved made it so much harder. This, and the fact that many conversations were over the phone. I had to disclose and every time and I felt better for doing so.
One not-so-hard thing is that we now have a new puppy. Her name is Zuzu and she is a 2 month old Lab-Pit mix. I have had to recite this list of information to so many strangers in the past week. Apparently puppies are stranger magnets! I’ve felt really good about this experience as well.
This song has been running through my head for the past few months and I feel like it fits these situations well.