Why I Intentionally Tried to Stutter My Starbucks Order


On July 7 something I never thought would happen to me, happened. I got mad at myself for being fluent. Weird, right? Whenever I open my mouth to speak I hope for fluency and I am always delighted when I am, except for that morning.

I was in Chicago for the National Stuttering Association Conference and I went to Starbucks for breakfast that morning. That sounds weird based on what happened in June between a Starbucks barista in Philadelphia and a stuttering customer. (I’ll give you a second to read the story if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

As a proud PWS (person who stutters) I planned on going to Starbucks that morning in Chicago and intentionally stuttering my order for two reasons. One, as a show of solidarity. Secondly, for my self-growth. You see I once tried intentionally to stutter in speech therapy and immediately shut that technique down because of the flood of bad childhood memories that filled my mind. That was more than four years ago, and I haven’t tried it since.

One night at dinner I was talking to a friend about my time in speech therapy and my strong disdain for intentionally stuttering as a technique. Her response was, ”Try it again.” I immediately shot it down, but she insisted. Maybe I wasn’t ready then, but I should try again because maybe I’m ready now. A couple of days after that conversation, I went to Starbucks with the mindset of intentionally stuttering on my order.

I saw this experience as my opportunity and I wasn’t going to say no because in the words of Stephen Fishbach,

“When opportunity knocks, you have to let him in, because opportunity is a mean dude, and, if you don’t, he might burn down your house or steal your car.”

I went up to order my breakfast which consisted of a chocolate chip muffin and a glass of milk, and my order came out fluently. Second nature took over and before I could even intentionally stutter my order was in the system. I was aggravated at myself but vowed to go back on Sunday and intentionally stutter on the same order. I went back to Starbucks but again fluency took over before I could think about intentionally stuttering.

Maybe the reason for me not intentionally stuttering at Starbucks is that I’m still not ready for it. Perhaps my subconscious knows those two opportunities on those two days were not the right ones. However, when the right day and opportunity come I will be ready.

I won’t give opportunity another chance to steal my car or another chance for me to grow and become even more confident in my stutter.

Photo credit: HAKINMHAN/Getty Images


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