Resilience is the ordinary magic that we all possess.
— Masten (2001)
In our zeal to resist medical conceptions of stuttering do we just substitute one normalizing litmus test for another?
By rejecting fluency in and of itself or by asking whether forms of knowledge are consistent with our favorite model of disability, what ways of being do we disqualify?
I’m not comfortable telling another stutterer how to think/feel about their stuttering.
Stutterers are always already resisting how they are constituted.
How are they currently resisting societal demands for fluency?
How are they currently resisting their body’s demands for effortful speech?
Rather than see therapy as a means to liberate the self (be it fluent or stuttered) I suggest we see it as an exploration of the stutterer’s resistance and agency.
We explore how the stutterer has been constituted not to determine who they must be but to determine who they do not have to be.
We explore how they got here but leave where they’re going up to them.
In my clinical experience, most stutterers value both an increase in their ability to resist societal pressures to speak fluently and an increase in fluency, or at least easier stuttering.
To suggest that the stutterer is simply repressed by power (be it societal or bodily) is to deny his agency, his ability to resist power.
Chris Eagle's short story "Situation Cards" is based on several weeks he spent on the stroke ward of a hospital in Pennsylvania where his father was recovering from a stroke. Originally published in AGNI Magazine Issue 92, Fall 2020.