Dear World-My name is Lori
From an early age I dreaded saying my name. Honestly, I loved being named "Lori". Originally my parents wanted to name me Lisa but the dog next door had the same name. Understandably, they thought there would be confusion and I should have a different name. Ironically one of my best friends is named Lisa. She stutters too.
You might ask why someone would fear saying their own name. Why would I hide in a new speaking situation? Why would I run out of a room when asked to introduce myself? Why would I hide in the bathroom in school? Why? I'll tell you it was the fear of being laughed at, mocked, looked as if I was plain "stupid. The questions persisted , "you don't know your name?", "Are you okay?", "Do you need help?", "Stop and breathe". I could go on and on but the pain runs too deep. The shame ran beyond what words can adequately describe. My chest would pound and perspiration emerged as the embarrassment filled my heart. (Note: Keep reading. This story has a happy ending) It seemed so easy. For most people the words flowed easily out of their mouth. For most people they never even think about how they speak. For me and many who stutter it was plain torture, but I never gave up on the dream to say my name without struggle or fear.
I have stuttered since age 4. Once I learned to write I started a diary. Daily I wrote "Please let me wake up fluent." "I will pray all night if I have to". The second being the same line I wrote after my grandmother died. Missing her tremendously and hoping if I stayed up all night she would come back to life. Of course that never happened, but as a young child you imagine the impossible.
Fast forward many years I have good news. I no longer fear saying my name nor stutter when saying it. I do not panic, block, cry or run from it. The words flow from my mouth like music. Each time I am relieved. Seeing others I work with overcome fears bring tears to my eyes and joy in my heart.
What do I suggest to those who struggle?
-speech therapy by a stuttering specialist
-surrounding yourself by others who stutter
It wasn't easy but the freedom came. So I say
Dear World. My name is Lori.
Lori Melnitsky is a speech/language pathologist of over 30 years. She specializes in stuttering therapy. Please visit www.allislandspeech.com