WHAT?.....ASHAMED OF FLUENCY?
by John Larkin
Could that be true? Is it possible to actually have the experience of being
ashamed of temporary fluency? The answer for me is yes. Let me explain.
I have been traveling around the world as a pop star since February of this
year. Both my single releases of "Scatman" and "Scatman's world" and my Album
"Scatman's world" have climbed into gold and platinum sales in many countries
worldwide. The media exposure I have had has been wide and varied;
including television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.
On one particular day in Oslo, Norway, I was doing a series of 12 telephone
interviews for press throughout that country. The interviews were 15 minutes
each. After a while, one would sort of lead into the other.....hang up, ring,
hang up, ring, hang up.
The message from me was the same for each call. I would talk about what the
first single was about...."stuttering"....and I would go on to explain how I
had to put my stuttering out there first to let the world know that I am a
stutterer; so that people wouldn't be surprised when they heard me talk.
I would explain that I finally gave up trying so much to be fluent....and
began to give myself permission to go ahead and stutter. I would say that I
was now concentrating more on overcoming the "shame" of stuttering itself.
Well, now we get to the good part.
By the time I got to about the 10th caller I was saying the message by
rote....and, as many stutterers have experienced, I was going fluent by
"repeating from memory".
The last interviewer became skeptical because here I was talking about my
stuttering without stuttering.....he was understandably wondering what the
heck was going on. Well, he brought it to my attention....he said: "You
have been talking about stuttering and I haven't heard you stutter once"......
Then he asked me the heartbreaker...he asked if I was trying to "use the
stuttering community as a gimmick to further my career"?.......
Well at first I was insulted by the question, but when I stopped and thought
about it, I could understand why he might think such a thought.
I WAS FLUENT AND I WAS ASHAMED OF IT!!!!!
And, my embarrassment continued as I went on to explain that occasionally,
some stutterers do experience temporary fluency. I don't think he believed
me, or at best, he was still skeptical at the end of the call.
That was the experience, as it happened; and to my recollection that was the
first shame I've ever felt over NOT stuttering.
So, my fellow stutterers, I leave you now and my heart goes out to all of you
and your experiences.
Love to you all,
added November 20, 1995