Poem: Why are you looking at me like that?

The article's author, Anita Blom

11th May 2021

Why are you looking at me like that?

By Anita S. Blom

Why are you looking at me like that?
Have you never seen me this sad before?
I love to talk
Joke and tease
Tell you what I think and feel
Answer back
Explain things
Tell you how much you mean to me
Tell you why I'm so sad
But the words, they just get stuck
 
Why are you looking at me like that?
Have you never seen me this angry before?
People talking past me
They laugh at me
They cut me off and fill in my words
They don't believe in me
I can, but cannot show it
Don't get the chance
And I can't even yell at them
Because the words, they just get stuck
 
Why are you looking at me like that?
Have you never seen me this happy before?
I laugh and I dance
I chat and I joke
I don't care
I have a new friend
I love my job
My brother just called
My daughter was praised in school
And the words, they just keep on flowing
 
Why are you looking at me like that?
Have you never seen me this confident before?
Sure I can talk, if you just give me some time
Sure I can do the job, if you just let me show it
Sure I'll sing you a song, if you just hear me out
I feel good
I know I can
I know I'm OK
I'm proud of who I am
And the words? Who cares!

The story behind the poem

As a person who stammers, the emotions around stammering vary from situation to situation. 

Stammering can be frustrating as it comes and goes, causing me physical tension and even a headache or a hiccup. In some situations it's simply in the way when the words are there but won't come out. 

I've learned to accept myself as a person who stammers.

People can be frustrating when they hang up the phone, fill in, feel sorry for me, laugh at me, or seem to think I need to be 'fixed' or 'cured'. For whose sake? Maybe my listener needs to be 'fixed' instead by learning how to be a patient listener, without preconceptions. I know what I want to say, so just hear me out. It might be worth waiting for.

Sometimes life just flows. All is well and I feel good, whether I stammer or not. And the better I feel about life and myself, the better my flow. 

I've learned to accept myself as a person who stammers. I'm no longer ashamed of my stammer simply because it's not my fault that I stammer, and I no longer let stammering hold me back from saying what I want to say. 

These four emotions take turns in my head all the time. But I'm happy the last one always comes out as the winner.

Read more poems and articles from people who stammer at our Your Voice section. Want to submit your own poem, creative writing or article? See our Share Your Story page to find out how.

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