I stuttered as a kid. In that, brain goes faster than tongue, so I already had a stumbling block. 3rd grade, I learned to create a small mental space to sort the words out in.
That space was also useful in working on the eye contact thing, which I still work on ,as different individuals have different comfort levels.
(I didn’t teach myself – it was in school training with a speech therapist)
3rd grade was. hm… 8 yrs old I think. Strawberry paste on the back of my throat put on with a Q-tip to teach me conscious control of my tongue, along with creative visualization (the ‘gap’ in the mind in which to sort out words before speaking aloud)
Stutter was gone by the time I entered 4th grade. It’s “still there” but with the tools to fight it, nobody knows it.
That “gap” has been invaluable to me in life. It was small for the stutter, enough for a few words.
At age 11, I had biofeedback training to work on “generalized anxiety disorder” (probably ADHD in retrospect) which made a bigger mental workspace.
Through the years, I’ve tried to grow it in different ways.
A book on Vipassana meditation as a teenager was also helpful. In my late 20s, my foray into Eastern Orthodox (Christian) “Jesus Prayer” expanded it more. After that, a little Osho in my early 30s.
The gap is “real time”, taking advantage of the natural lag in conversation or activities. There’s usually a “moment to think” and I cram it full of quick thinking.
Sometimes it gets overloaded, which I don’t like. When it’s overloaded, I simply “react” and I don’t like just reacting as I don’t feel self-control when I do.
That’s what I mean when I say nobody knows I stutter. The brain works at a different pace than the world around me (too slow or too fast but rarely at the right tempo).At both ends of the gap? Tempo. Mismatched tempos.
Gears can work too. Inner gears never mesh with the outer gears. My vocal chords is an outer gear. My body coordination is an outer gear. Inputs (visual, sound, touch, kinesthetics) are outer gears.So, this workspace is an ever changing “middle gear”, trying to keep both sides in sync as best it can.That’s why I love writing for conversation like this. i can control the tempo and have it match mine.
It’s probably why I always worked well with kids. Their tempos are fast and ever-changing and I can easily keep up as it matches my own natural tempo well.In dealing with adults, it can be very frustrating as they’re like stones or work with many inferred layers of communication – usually layers of lies on top of lies to sort through – and that can be frustrating to sort out in the short time allotted in verbal conversation.So, to coordinate eye contact properly with all that going on, is a pain.
Man, I couldn’t do all that, Alexander. I only practiced to “smile with my eyes” maybe 3 yrs ago.
I liked acting in school but they always stuck me behind the piano instead so I didn’t get on stage as much as I wanted.
It was probably for the best. I could play anything on the piano but my acting was … meh — but that’s why I wanted to do it. But… they ALWAYS needed a pianist so… there was Kenny
Gap…. Bubble — seeing a pattern here
My bubble is small. It’s enough to encompass my vocal chords, body movements, one on one conversation.
It’s no good in groups. If I had to keep a group mesmerized, I couldn’t hold up my end for long. My bubble won’t extend that far for long.