I Wanna Be……Just Like You

klumbAbout the author:  Gloria Klumb

I am a person who has stuttered all my life.  Spent the first 40-plus years thinking it was my fault that I stutter.  In the late 1990’s I purchased my first computer and found out there were Stuttering chat rooms on Yahoo.  That is where I heard for the first time “It’s Ok To Stutter”.  Also this is where I heard about the National Stuttering Association (NSA) for the first time.

In 2001, I think it was, I attended my first NSA conference in Boston.  Since that year I have only missed two conferences.

I moved to Madison Wisconsin to be near a NSA chapter, and over the years became the Chapter leader.  In 2007 I was Chapter Leader of the year. In 2011 I was the NSA Member of the year, and in 2010 I received the Outstanding Service award from Wisconsin Speech Language Pathology.

I have had a few stories printed in the local newspaper about stuttering and the NSA.  In 2013 I moved back to my hometown and tried to start a new chapter here.  I am still working on that.  Now at the present time I am trying to make sure that the local teachers know about stuttering by sending them pamphlets.

A number of years ago when I was trying to come to terms with my stuttering I was really down and thought about all the comments that have been told to me. I always felt no one understood nor did they want to.  As an adult and having speech therapy that did not always help, I still felt lost. I was still running words together and avoiding a lot.  It did not help my feelings towards stuttering and the hate was growing.

What really was starting to help were online support groups and being able to finally talk to others who stutter.

So here are my thoughts from back then:

I Wanna Be……Just Like You

I Am But A Child
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

I Speak, But Can Not
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

I Am Growing, But Can Not Speak
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

I Do Not Understand
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

I Have Grown, But Can Not Speak
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

I Watch You Speak, But Still Can Not
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

I Speak A Bit Slower, But Can Not
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

Keep Up, I Can Not
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

Please Don’t Interrupt
Please Don’t Say “What’s with You”
I Wanna Be, Just Like You!

See I Stutter, That Is All
I Really Struggle, But I Can
I Can Do This, Honest I Can


Today I find that my thoughts are not always on stuttering.  There are a whole lot more things to think about.  But I still remember all those struggles and thoughts.

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I Wanna Be……Just Like You — 16 Comments

  1. Hi Gloria. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s great to hear that the NSA was so helpful and that you’ve been so active in making a difference for others. Have you had any feedback from the local teachers about the pamphlets you’ve sent?

    • No I haven’t heard back from any schools. I usually don’t. My main goal is to make sure they can tell their students they are not alone. Thank you for reading this.

  2. Gloria,
    I was moved by your poem. I really liked the end when you said, “See I stutter, that is all.” You mirrored those sentiments when you ended your article by saying you find that your thoughts are not always on stuttering. I can see that stuttering is just a small part of who you are.

    I think many young people who stutter would benefit from reading your article or even hearing you speak about your life’s journey. It reminds me of the “It Gets Better” campaign that was popular a few years ago for gay and lesbian youth. Things can seem really bad when you are young, teased and labeled uncool by your peers. But as adults we realize that life really does get better and people’s insensitive comments are not always the end of the world and can’t determine our happiness.

    Good for you for staying involved. Wouldn’t it be great if when you handed out those pamphlets you also told your story to the kids who stutter and their peers at the school. You can always contact a school’s speech-language specialist to organize a chat (online or in person) with students who stutter.

    • Thank you for reading My poem. It took me many years to get to this point. The journey taught me lots.

  3. Gloria, thanks so much for writing this and sharing it with us. You are an inspiration. So glad you have involved yourself in the stuttering community. Thanks again.

  4. This is beautiful, Gloria. It touches deep within the soul. Having met you after those days when you wrote this poem, I can say that you are one of the most sincere, magnificent, kind, gentle individuals I have ever known. You are unique, as are we all, and I am so happy to have you as my dear friend.

    • Thank you Deb. It’s been a long road but am glad I made it. Well worth the trip. Let’s get together soon

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts from the past, and I am happy that you have become so involved with groups within Wisconsin. I am a first year grad student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Communicative Sciences and Disorders program. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned constantly wanting to be like other speakers, and almost seemed to be reassuring people that you did not want to stutter. Was this what you were trying to convey? I appreciate the opportunity to read your post.

    • In my younger years (before my 40’s) I HATED the fact I couldn’t speak. I always thought it was my fault and felt lots of shame. I always wanted to be like every one else. In school or home no one would talk to me and explain what was wrong with me. Was always told to just stop stuttering. The internet and Yahoo stuttering chat groups change my thinking. Or I should say was the start. Finding out about the NSA and meeting people in real life who stutter was the best thing. It was 2001 I think, I finally went to my first conference. It took BERNIE Wiener a year to convince me. One of the best weekends of my life.

  6. Dear Gloria,

    Thank you for posting this. Sometimes the best way to express feelings is through a poem. I appreciate your willingness to be open and to also help others through your self expression. As a first year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology, I hope to be a better clinician than you experienced. I want to be a trustworthy SLP, a great listener, and a person who just wants to help a person who stutters accomplish their goals in the ways they want to. If you feel called to reply, do you have tips that could help me in the future be a better clinician, so that people who stutter can feel confident in reaching out to SLPs? Thank you again for your post; I appreciate you sharing your emotional journey through a poem.

    Lauren King

    • Lauren, I really don’t have any tips except I know the education of slp’s about stuttering is so much better. I think that with a person who stutters it is always good to get to know them. Include and understand how they feel about stuttering. A fear of words can really hinder a person. It’s like a circle.saying a word blocking badly on it puts fear in the person who stutters. So next time they stutter harder longer or just skip the word. That’s what I did skip the words.

  7. Dear Gloria,

    Thank you for posting that beautiful poem. As a future SLP, I think it is important to educate about stuttering but also the feelings that coincide with it.I hope you continue to educate your local community about stuttering and share your experience!

  8. Hi Gloria,

    My enjoyment of reading your paper was enhanced by the fact that I already knew a great deal of your history.

    I have fond memories of those early encounters (with you and others) in the chat room back in 2001. I, too, owe an enormous debt to those interactions. They opened so many new and exciting doors for me.

    Although we have since gone our own ways, it’s satisfying when our paths occasionally cross at NSA conferences, or via a mutual online forum.

    Gloria, I wish you good health and contentment for the future. I’m sure that others who are familiar with your journey WANNA BE JUST LIKE YOU. 🙂

    Fondest regards


    • Hi Alan, it is good to hear from you, IT has been a long time. I hope our paths will cross again in real life. Take care

  9. I think it’s wonderful that you have pamphlets to give out to local teachers on stuttering. As a future SLP, I think it’s important that people are educated on stuttering and the emotional effects it can have on somebody.
    I loved your poem, especially the lines, “I Really Struggle, But I Can– I Can Do This, Honest I Can”
    It shows such optimism and you’re a great role model.