Last Monday, about fifteen of us met at the YWCA on a warm June evening, including two SLPs/SLP students and several newcomers to the Brooklyn group (welcome!).
After the opening words, one member started us off by bringing up a recent episode of the podcast StutterTalk about the physical struggle associated with stuttering. It began a lively discussion about our own experiences with exhaustion, struggle, and pain around stuttering — and how many of those sensations can be compounded by the shame and embarrassment we feel about the way we look and sound when speaking. Even when we logically know that stuttering is okay, the air blockage and pressure can be extremely jarring, bringing up ingrained feelings of failure.
That said, some of us were firm that the struggle of stuttering is purely physical — not something we can “positive think” away. It seems that this is a deeply personal distinction, and we were reminded of how unique each of our journeys is. While a few members responded to the idea that speaking for us is just not an easy act, and that’s okay (like exercising, it is something that simply requires effort), others do not see a benefit to the exhaustion that comes after speaking all day.
During our meeting, we also talked about how memories of childhood teasing still feel very immediate, and one member brought up how his stuttering has changed as he became older. For him, there was a moment when stuttering stopped being on his mind so much — although he still stutters, a lot of the anxiety just went “poof” after a certain age.
To end the night, Geoff brought up the idea of approaching the mayor’s office with a plan to educate human resources departments in New York City about stuttering. Since HR people are often the first line of defense for job applicants, it is especially important that they know that we are viable candidates. Are you interested in being part of this initiative? If so, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll go from there!
A couple other announcements:
The NSA Midtown group is meeting tomorrow night from 7:30 to 9pm at the Aspire Center (248 West 35th Street, New York, NY). We hope to see you there!
The NSA’s national conference is happening from July 5th to 10th in Atlanta, Georgia!There’s still time to register if you’re interested. It’s a joint conference with the International Stuttering Association World Congress, so it’s especially special this year.
Have a great month!
Emma, Chris, Roisin, and David