The following is a "letter to my stuttering" written by Laura, who is 14, and is reproduced below, with permission.

Dear Stuttering,

Hello. I guess I don't have to introduce myself because we know each other quite well. I think that you arrived at my house in second grade. You might've been there long before but maybe you were hidden in a way, because my parents just thought I was learning to talk or something.

Sometimes I have tried to hide you, believe it or not, and I still do. But instead of a game of hide and seek, you don't hide willingly. It's not like I can say: Yo, stuttering! Get lost for a while, okay? I have been trying hard to deal with you and not try to hide you but it is tough’

As you know I have been trying to avoid you, and I'm sorry for that. You have come in to my life and I think you are here to stay. Even though I can control you with stretching, slowing down, etc, you will still always be there, sneaking up in bad situations. Now, I know it's not your fault, it's not really mine either

I just have to work on not tensing up and using my techniques. My techniques make the stuttering come out easier. So, instead of things like: b-bb-bbbbb-bbbb-all. I'd say: b-b-ball. But, I think you know what I am talking about. Am I right?J It's also hard to talk about you with other people, and I guess that is relating to hiding you. I mean, what am I going to do? Just go up to one of my friends and say: Guess What? I stutter, but you probably already know. I mean sometimes it is easier than others. If a friend says something like: Oh, what are you doing this afternoon? Instead of saying: Oh, nothing, I'll say: Well, I have a speech therapy appointment. And then that might lead to a longer conversation. I think the difficult thing is to just start to conversation, because it is hard to come up with that first sentence. Do you know what I mean? But, once I am in the conversation I am totally fine and I am almost as relaxed as in other conversations. Almost. I think the one good thing about you is that you have helped me be more understanding. Now, understanding is a pretty broad word. I mean if someone has a lisp, and everyone is making fun of him/her sometimes I may stand up for that person, because they really have no reason to make fun of them.

It is hard to explain but I just feel more compassion for people, if you know what I mean.

Well, Stuttering, I think it's time for me to wrap this letter up. I think I have said what I need to say. I think that I am getting much better about being open with you. And I have tried to not avoid you as much but, I have to admit, I don't willingly tell people I stutter. Normally at the end of a letter I would say something like: Hope to see you soon, but in this case, it is more like: Hope to not see you soon. But, I think if we run into eachother, which I am positive we will, I will do just fine, and just have to deal with your company.


added July 11, 2002