A Letter to My Phone, From a Person Who Feared You Because of My Stutter


Dear Phone,

For the longest time, you were one of my biggest adversaries. I think it had to do with the fact that my stutter is/was the worst when I use you. Or maybe it’s because the first time someone equated my stutter with lying was when the two of us talked via you. Regardless of the cause, you were one of the main things I knew I needed to conquer if I were to truly be accepting of my stutter.

During my teenage years and early 20s, I would do anything within my power to avoid you. If given the option of talking to someone over the phone or talking to them in person, I would pick the in-person conversation every time.  The fear of using you was that bad. When I had no other choice but to use you, I wrapped myself in dread as if it were the only thing I had to wear. I would go into my room and write a script for the conversation. I knew your presence would cause my stutter to invite itself into my conversation. I would use relaxation techniques before I used you. I used every technique, trick and special effect available to me in hopes my stutter would be a supporting role, not the leading star, in the production called “This Phone Conversation.” My stutter usually ended being the lead star, I was the guest star and the person on the other end was the audience who didn’t know how to react.

Our biggest issues came when I needed to use you at work. For years, I would run in the complete opposite direction whenever you rang. When I was unlucky enough to answer you, my techniques and tricks went out the window. I had no script to lead me in the conversation. My responses would be terribly improvised because my main concern was ending the conversation as soon as possible. My stutter was once again the lead star and my role diminished to a cameo appearance. It was a production I wish was only available to a select audience but was on display for all to see and hear.

After a second stint in speech therapy and tons of personal growth, I now consider you an acquaintance. I don’t mind using you as a means to communicate. I no longer use a script when I use you, and at times I’ll call a person when others are around. I no longer wrap myself around in dread when I need to use. I now show the production “This Phone Conversation” without any concern who sees and hears it. I now consider myself as the lead star, and my stutter as a cameo. I can now confidently say you were just one of many adversaries I have defeated in my journey to accept and embrace my stutter.

Sincerely,

James

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