Hi! My name is Willemijn. I am a 19 year old girl from the Netherlands and I study design.
I always believed my stutter started when I was 8, but when I was watching old videos I realised I’ve always stuttered. I only noticed it from age 8, when people started laughing about it. From age 8 to 12 I didn’t care about this, I had a lot of confidence and was the class clown. This changed when I went to highschool. Presentations, doing theatre, things I absolutely loved, suddenly became my biggest nightmares. My classmates would make fun of my stutter while I was presenting, it was horrible. That’s why I started hiding my stutter, all the time. I only said what I could say fluently, and never asked questions.
This really worked, because my stutter was almost gone! Nobody knew I had a stutter! But.. I was still always worrying about it, and I couldn’t tell anyone because no one had ever heard (or remembered) my stutter. This was when I realised being a covert stutterer didn’t solve anything. If I would stutter again, I could at least face my fears and say what I want.
So when I was 17 I started talking and making art about stuttering. I forced myself to stutter when I met new people, so I didn’t have to hide it anymore. I accepted it as a part of me and realised I didn’t die when I stuttered and people laughed.
People will react in a normal way if you react to your own stutter in a normal way. Most people like it when you proudly show your weakness and it encourages them to do the same.