Ty's Music Corner

on struggling with a stutter

The reason I’m doing this post is that I’m tired of people criticizing Biden for his stutter-related issues and holding water for left-wing and right-wing fascist supporters of Trump by saying that Biden has dementia.

I get angry when people accuse Biden of having dementia when it’s just issues involving his stutter. Biden is particularly important to me because he’s genuinely helped me be more secure with my stutter. Representation does matter, and I used to not think that representation mattered when I was a teenager, but this has been especially important to me due to my stutter resurfacing year after year.

I have severe hearing loss. Last year when I went to get my hearing evaluated last year, I took a test that showed that I had 30% comprehension rate of words when not seeing someone’s face and reading their lips; when I was able to read lips, it went to a 40% comprehension rate without hearing aids, this compounded with the fact that I had a speech therapist who was working with me as a toddler, I am certain that I had a childhood stutter even if I don’t remember it clearly until I was a middle schooler.

And what I do remember from middle school and high school, is being in class and dreading having to read in class aloud because if I did end up stuttering, I would have looked like an idiot. Looking like an idiot is the unfortunate reality that people with stutters must deal with as judgement from people.

Due to my hearing loss, stuttering, and physical disabilities it all added up into the perfect storm for being bullied. I stopped being extroverted, which is what I was when I was a toddler. I would run off while my mom was in the store and just start talking to random people.

Beaten down by the bullying, I retreated into online introversion. Online no one could tell that I am disabled unless I was actively telling them. So, I retreated deeply, most of my time was spent online reading fanfiction and taking part in a forum for fanfiction where they didn’t know I was physically disabled. Or I was playing video games retreating deeply into fantasy worlds where my disabilities were not an issue.

Not speaking in my day-to-day after school activities more than likely did not help with my speech fluency. I would just be silent even if I think I could contribute to a conversation. This was due to not hearing someone and asking people to repeat themselves when you don't hear something more than once frustrates people immensely so I used to do it but based on experiences I had, I started to substitute words so I could understand the gist of what someone was saying.

The first time I remember really breaking down crying from my stutter was on a Discord call with some friends; I remember getting stuck on a word and I started breaking down and crying in the call, I was crying so loudly that my mom heard me from upstairs and started comforting me because I couldn’t force myself to stop crying. That has so far been the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened in my quite limited amounts of friendship that I’ve experienced.

On a day-to-day basis generally what I deal with in regards to my stutter is forgetting a word that I know I wanted to use but not being able to vocalize it internally or externally, getting the first portions of a word started; sometimes I know what I want to say but I can’t vocalize actually make any noise, I use a lot of filler words such as uhm, like to function in a working environment, I’ll close my eyes while talking to be able to force a word while talking, I’ll start saying the completely wrong thing until I stop myself and restart what I was trying to say, I’ll slur words to continue with speech fluency, I’ll speak too fast for someone to understand so I can say what I wanted to say. These are all issues that I personally struggle with.

On to what happens when I actually s-s-s-s-stutter and what happens after I start stuttering, generally, this only happens when I’m really stressed at work, so what usually happens is I’ll be doing small talk with a customer and then I have to use the script that my work requires for pitching work related add on sales, but when I’m using a script, it gets hard to start the script sometimes so I’ll start stuttering and once I start stuttering, I can’t stop, and then I’ll break down in front of a customer crying; the last time this happened I had a very understanding Christian customer who was ok with me crying in front of him. I’m very thankful to that customer because I didn’t immediately feel ashamed and stupid afterward because of my stutter.

Thankfully, this is a rare occasion these days, but to prevent this I change words I have issues with, or I will struggle with a word, and someone will understand the gist of what I was trying to say and finish it. I've heard that some people who stutter do not like it when people say the word for them but I'm perfectly fine with it now.

It's a very frustrating thing to not be able to hear what someone asked. But these days, it's a lot better since I got my hearing aids, I sometimes still can't comprehend what words people are saying and I do ask people to repeat themselves because I can now normally understand them the second time if I don't catch it the first time, but the anger for asking them to repeat themselves is still there within their tone of voice or if they aren't angry they just won't repeat themself which is frustrating even after I ask.

I no longer feel depressed in my day-to-day life because of my hearing aids helping me hear the spectrum of audio. I have a better short-term memory now that enables me to remember things. My life is great.

If I as a working person deal with all of this at a low stress job, imagine how Biden must feel dealing with this and the unjust criticism that he faces from the mainstream media who it feels like wants Trump again. I really feel for Biden, he may not always make the correct decisions, I know I have issues with some of his presidential policy, but with him as President of the United States I see a better future than Trump can provide with his fascistic dictator qualities at the helm.