stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

“Sing when you’re winning”

Posted on: August 5, 2009

…but if you can’t sing, can you ever win?

I can’t sing anymore. I’d really like to be able to.

It’s one of the things I miss most since acquiring this stammer. However, singing and stuttering aren’t a match made in heaven – by any means.

What used to make me feel all kinds (elation, serenity, peace), now is just another means of ridiculing me – reducing me to nothing more than a public embarassment.

Actually scrap that, it would outwardly embarrass me if I had the guts to keep attempting to sing out loud – but I don’t. Instead I just inwardly feel the shame of not being able to participate, of not being able to contribute.

Today’s my brother’s birthday. “Come on”, I said to my boyfriend. “Let’s ring him and sing happy birthday”. Yep. I forget everytime.

The boyfriend just asked if I was sure I wanted to, if I was sure it wouldn’t just upset me again and leave me mute again. He’s a wise one, that boy.

Like so many things (ringing someone up, asking for help from a stranger, responding to little old ladies chatting to me in the toilet queue etc), I go to do something and then remember that my mouth and brain don’t like to coordinate how they used to anymore and just feel utterly useless.

More often than not, I persevere with it and make myself do whatever it is I’m particularly reticent about – but singing, now I just can’t keep doing that to myself. It’s particularly upsetting.

I don’t know whether it’s because it’s not even my own words I’m still struggling to get out, whether it’s frustrating because these lyrics are so deeply ingrained in me from years of listening, whether it’s down to the songs sounding normal in my head until I open my mouth and something completely different comes out, or whether it’s down to that lovely misconception that all stammerers can sing, apparently.

Well, whoever decided to spread that one around just makes me feel wholly inadequate. “If that nice Gareth Gates can do it dear, I’m sure you can too.” Hmm, maybe not.

Maybe people need to start realising that stutters behave differently in different people, and particularly that if you have an almighty thwack to the head that your speech will inevitably be different to someone suffering from an anxiety based speech dysfluency.

Or maybe I’m being unfair and just venting. Either way, neither is probably very conducive; it’s not like anyone’s perceptions of stuttering will change overnight, nor is me letting off a bit of steam likely to render me into one of the Three Tenors.

It’s a shame really. I used to have quite a good singing voice. Maybe one day it’ll come back. Here’s hoping…

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