The members of the Pittsburgh NSP recently decided to write a letter called "A conversation with My Stutter" which was then read and discussed. I recommend this task for other chapters. Personally I was quite amazed at the angry and hateful tone of the post that follows, so it was a learning experience for me. Kevin Eldridge


If I appraise my life today...I must admit that it looks pretty good. I am married to a wonderful woman, have two adorable daughters, and see much good in all that is around me. The path I have followed has taken me to a nice place. However... that does not let you off the hook. You may have helped me to show empathy towards others, compassionate and friendly, you may have even led me to a career which I find quite fulfilling....but you also made my life hell.

It was because of you that I cried so many nights in bed. It was because of you that I stood shaking in my Junior High School gym shorts and T-shirt as I waited for the gym teacher to ask me my name...knowing that nothing would come out. It was because of you that I was afraid to answer the telephone or talk about my day at school at the dinner table. It was you who made me feel like an idiot. It was because of you that I dreaded reading out loud so much that I would walk out of the room when the student in front of me began reading. I would wait in the bathroom until I was sure my turn was passed, feeling like a failure the entire time that I stared at myself in the mirror, as I washed my hands over and over; the smell of urine present while in the room, and in my mind for the rest of the class.

Then I got older... It was because of you that I took "English for potheads" instead of AP English where I would have had to orally present, even though the kids from all my other classes were there. It was because of you that I didn't call the women in my class I wanted to date. It was because of you that I would go out on a date (having asked the woman in person) and then not be able to call her back the next day. It was because of you that I never ran for school office or tried out for the school plays. It was because of you that I had to listen to someone else butcher a presentation I had written for a teacher at an award ceremony, because I was too frightened to do it myself. It was because of you that I felt that I just didn't add up in school.

You evil creature... you ruled my life for so many years. I was just a kid. How could you do that to me? I had done nothing to you. I was just an innocent kid. Yet you wrapped yourself so tightly around me that I couldn't escape.....that I almost gave up.

So... I must admit that the path you helped engineer has led me to nice place. However, you also blocked many other paths that I could have explored. So much else I could have seen, could have done, could have experienced... that you took from me. It is for this that I can not forgive you. I hated you then, and still hate you now. My God tells me that I am supposed to strive to be compassionate and forgiving. You may have taught me to be compassionate...but you didn't teach me well enough that I can feel compassion for the likes of you.

By the way....stay away from my kids...unless you want to see my full fury. I will not let you do to them what you did to me.

posted with permission April 23, 1997