May Recap | Barbecue in Prospect Park This Weekend

May Recap | Barbecue in Prospect Park This Weekend

We had a fantastic May meeting with around 24 members and 5 first timers. After sharing and connecting for the hour and a half meeting, we met up at our usual bar to decompress and talk some more. We are so thankful for everyone who showed up and below is a short recap of some things we talked about.

First Times

In one group, we had a number of first timers and second timers, so we starting sharing all the forces in our life that brought us together that night. A few shared that they were going through a pivotal moment in life where stuttering felt relentless and all other efforts felt futile. Others shared how they wanted to meet other people who stutter and share stories and listen to experiences. Whatever the reason, we all agreed that we were all present in this moment and here to ask and receive support from people who just get it.

Stuttering at Work

One member opened up about his recent experiences with avoiding stuttering at work. He posed a simple, yet loaded question to a room: how do you confidently say what you want to say when you stutter? Body language was brought up, from having good posture to eye contact, and the saying “fake it till you make it” resonated with everyone in the room. We all generally agreed that we are our own toughest critics when it comes to stuttering. Many people often don’t care and yet we put so much pressure on ourselves to speak and come across a certain way that we sacrifice our sanity, comfort, and words. However on the flip side, we also talked about how there needs to be a balance. Even though it is completely valid to reclaim power of how we control our emotions and perception, the fact is our spontaneous internal reactions are important to us and we can always leave more room, self-compassion, and patience for us when dealing with stuttering.

Another group discussed brought up that when we most want to make a good impression on someone and not stutter, we tend to be more likely to stutter, and to stutter more. For example, some of us want to not stutter around co-workers, which leads us to stutter more around co-workers. Telling our co-workers and bosses that we stutter can feel liberating.

Speech Therapy and Meditation

Another group talked about how a lot of us had speech therapy when we were young that consisted entirely of the therapist telling us to practice making certain sounds or saying certain words. We noted how unhelpful and hurtful this therapy was; and in retrospect, how unsurprising it was that it was unhelpful, given that most of these therapists had little to no actual training in or understanding of stuttering. On the other hand, some of us more recently have had really helpful speech therapists, or psychotherapists, or speech coaches who were helpful, so we discussed that too. The bad speech therapy we had was misguided in part because we “know” how to say the words. Our inability to say certain words seems to be situational, happening randomly to a certain degree, but also more likely to arise in certain situations than in others.

The power of meditation and guided imagery techniques was brought up in one group. Someone expressed that it can feel relaxing to focus intensely on an imagined scene of talking to people and not stuttering. Someone else, agreeing that meditation is powerful, and inspired by the idea of Metta meditation, suggested a different focus. What if instead we concentrated on the image and feeling of stuttering, and imagined the feeling of being loved by our audience and ourselves in that moment? Mentally rehearsing kindness toward ourselves when we are alone and calm can make it easier to feel acceptance of our speech later during a real stuttering moment. Shifting our goal from not stuttering to acceptance of our speech can feel so good.


Announcements!

 

Barbecue This Weekend in Prospect Park – Sunday, June 3

Join us for a fun afternoon of barbecue and sun in Prospect Park this Sunday from 2-5 pm! We will be posting more information on our Facebook page here the next few days. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

National Stuttering Association Conference – July 4th Weekend

Our annual National Stuttering Association Conference held July 4th weekend is coming up very soon! If you haven’t booked your hotel room and signed up for the weekend of awesomeness, now’s the time! Check out all details  and make your reservations here: https://westutter.org/.

 

Next Brooklyn Meeting Reminder – Monday, June 11

If you’re looking to attend an additional meeting every month, come and join the Brooklyn group at Brooklyn YWCA (30 Third Ave) the second Monday of every month. Their next next meeting will be on Monday, June 11 from 7:30pm-9pm.

 

Next Manhattan Meeting Reminder – Monday, June 18

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, June 18, 7:30pm–9pm at A.R.T./New York, located at 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets. Security in the lobby will ask to take a picture and look at ID. Say you are going to the third floor, or to A.R.T./New York. Take the elevators on the left to the third floor, and then look at the whiteboard to find out which room we’re meeting in. Check out all the details here!

April Recap

April Recap

We had a bit of a toss up this month when our usual meeting spot had a fire two hours before starting time. Thankfully we were invited to the American Institute for Stuttering (AIS), where our meeting proceeded with ease. With a nice turnout of 25 people, including 2 first timers, we split into 3 groups. Here’s a synopsis of what was discussed:

 

Stuttering and the Mirror Effect

We had an interesting conversation about what it’s like to meet other people who stutter in the ‘real world’. Some said it brought up an instant feeling of camaraderie and increased their desire to connect, which they often did. Others vehemently disagreed. For them they felt like it was looking in a mirror reminding them of the struggle they experience as a speaker in a world that doesn’t understand them. Those individuals felt that they would rather keep stuttering tucked away unless deemed necessary to deal with. This opened a conversation about how we view our stuttering. Is our stuttering something shameful that we prefer to hide, or something we choose to embrace, maybe even wear proudly?  Many shared the perspective that they’d prefer stuttering be looked at as another part of themselves, neither good nor bad, it just is. All agreed that we would not want our stuttering to define us, reminding us of how we are all so much more than our stutters.

 

Navigating Stuttering and Dating

We discussed the topic of online dating, specifically whether to include anything about stuttering in a profile. Members had contrasting views on this. Some swore by it since it could potentially act as a filter. They felt strongly that since stuttering is a part of our identity we should not go out of the way to hide it. Others thought it was unnecessary to put something so personal out there in the initial phases. We concluded there wasn’t a right or a wrong. One important takeaway we agreed on was that in a world where there is often much judgment, it is important to love ourselves and to be kind to ourselves regardless of any outcome.

 

Job Searching and Stuttering Stigma

One member started the night by sharing how he has recently started up the job search process again. Phone interviews have been stressful but he’s determined to to be patient and push through. From this, another member who just moved to the US from India a few months asked whether we believe employers are accepting of stuttering. He shared that growing up in India, stuttering was very stigmatized and since moving here, he has noticed that people are much more accepting and is working on being more accepting of himself. From there, we also discussed how unspoken but how common family shame can be surrounding stuttering. Whether we have family members who stutter or don’t stutter, stuttering is a hard topic to bring up. And if we don’t bring it up or do bring it up, both are okay.

 

Upcoming Announcements:

Our annual National Stuttering Association Conference held July 4th weekend is coming up very soon! If you haven’t booked your hotel room and signed up for the weekend of awesomeness, now’s the time! Check out all details  and make your reservations here: https://westutter.org/.

 

Next Meeting Reminder!

Our next meeting will be held this Monday, 7:30pm–9pm at A.R.T./New York, located at 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets. Security in the lobby will ask to take a picture and look at ID. Say you are going to the third floor, or to A.R.T./New York. Take the elevators on the left to the third floor, and then look at the whiteboard to find out which room we’re meeting in. Check out all the details here!