This project is the beginning of a series I plan to write on shame. I believe shame is the single largest hurdle that any man must conquer to realize his true self and purpose. I attempted many times to make this list and have never been able to do it. I’m writing this in public to hopefully convince you into writing one in private. It’s embarrassing and brutally uncomfortable but I’m all about having conversations that are tough to have; If for no other reason than to connect to others through vulnerability. I want to wake up in the morning and just be myself. I can’t do that because I have toxic shame attached to self-image, most of all my stutter. Here’s my list, I did the best I could to shed light on things I’m shameful of that I know I probably shouldn’t be.
I beat the shit out of myself every day. I hate my stutter, I hate that I hate my stutter and punish myself for not being strong enough to overcome it or just except it. Realistically those are the only two choices.
I have no idea what it’s like to not think about my stutter. It has never for a second left my thoughts. When I wake up the first thing my brain does is start rehearsing moments I will have to speak that day.
Lying down to sleep has never been a good experience even as a child. I think of nothing but the times I stuttered that day.
I’ve never met another stutterer in my adult life and I’m terrified to, I have no explanation for this.
Everything, everybody and everywhere have a connection to my stutter inside my mind. I remember what each person I know will most likely talk about and words I can easily say that are relevant to that individuals typical conversation topics start flooding my mind.
I regret missing life. The authentic life moments or amazing connections I could have had with another human being but don’t remember the conversation because I was focusing on not stuttering.
The time spent trying to predict every question and have an answer that I could say and you could understand.
The awesome job I didn’t take because I couldn’t say the company name.
The voluntary demotion I took because I couldn’t handle the amount of technical speaking involved. You can use synonyms in casual conversation but not in trade talk.
Wishing everybody didn’t look so uncomfortable when I spoke
I tell myself I’m feeling sorry for myself and its self-pity. I do this in hopes my tough side will help me fake it in front of my lady and kids. Stuttering in front of them is demaculating.
I love words. I love beautiful flamboyant words. I love words that embody the context of a sentence in one connected linear chain of 7 to 10 letters. It’s really difficult saying words over two syllables so I probably sound really stupid to others.
I’ve gone dizzy during conversations more times than I could count.
I cannot truly comprehend that people see past it. It’s too disgusting.
I’ve learned to stop it so it doesn’t happen often anymore but when my face locks up. My mouth is stuck open forming drool my eyes locked in a stare at whatever they were on at that moment and I can’t get it back fast enough so I’m stuck there paralyzed watching in slow motion everyone pretend not to notice and turning their bodies away from it as a social disconnect to the freak. If my kids or fiancé see it I sink into a hell hole of self-disgust that can last for a month.
Ordering food in front of a crowded table makes me so nervous I avoid any situation it might happen. I will work late as an excuse to miss or be really late to that party. It’s not the waiter I’m worried about. It’s that the whole table goes silent awaiting the freak show.
I leave about half of all conversations or verbal interactions in a state self-hate.
I am completely aware that to others my stutter is a minor part of me but to me it’s the whole of my existence.
I pretended to be deaf a few times. I’m not proud of that but I did it because one more funny look that day would have forced a violent reaction.
I wish I could have a conversation about my stutter that lasted more than two minutes before the subject got changed. It’s really mentally healthy for me to talk about it.
I’ve had to block out half of my childhood to function as an adult. I couldn’t remember it if I tried.
No one I know actually knows me. Everything I say is filtered by what I can say so Iv rarely expressed my true thoughts.
Alcohol doesn’t help my stutter but it allows me to be the person I would be if I didn’t obsess about it.
My dad looks down every time I stutter when we talk
These thoughts are what I battle every day. Finding the balance of accepting that there is truth to them but also understanding that much of it is a projection I am forcing on others. I think we all do this and discard it into the abyss as self-pity instead of confronting it. Chalking it all up to self-pity is self-abuse. Compassion towards yourself is not weakness; it’s what creates strength within you to overcome the depreciation you’ve imposed on your own value. If allowed self-care into my life and for the first time in my life I’m starting to see myself as those who love me see me. Pick something you feel shameful for or that you dislike about yourself. Write down every thought that comes to your head. Ask yourself honestly are these absolute facts or is it only real in my observation of myself. Answer each one truthfully and if there true let’s get to work fixing it and if there not just the fact you are now aware of that means it has no more control over you. A thought cannot control you if it is being observed by you. There is now an emotional disconnect between the limiting belief caused by toxic shame in your subconscious programming. What’s your shame? What is it that you are ashamed of or overly insecure about that is not allowing you to be authentically happy with yourself? What are you projecting onto your wife, kids, parents? Now go do something that feels good to you and cut yourself some slack.
Photo credit – firstname.lastname@example.org