We met on our regular 3rd Monday of the month on December 17th. Around 25 people who stutter showed up and as per usual, we split up into 3 groups for more intimate discussions.
In one of the groups, the topic of confidence and how it pertains to our stuttering came up. We discussed how many of us who stutter are generally sensitive people. For some of us, this sensitivity includes how we are perceived while speaking. A few members expressed that when speaking on a topic they are passionate about, they feel more reassured and confident than usual and as a result, seemingly care less about disfluencies. But on the other hand, one member shared that as people who stutter, we may face extra scrutiny because in a fluent world, someone who has disfluencies may mistakenly appear nervous, incompetent, or even untrustworthy to listeners.
Another group started the night by talking about avoidances and advertising. Members shared that often they are tempted to avoid their stuttering at work or during social situations, and this pull towards avoidance can many times feel overwhelming and all-encompassing. One member shared his recent experience of self-advertising at work. After many years of being covert about his stuttering, self-advertising and “coming out’ as a person who stutters at work felt liberating. Collectively, we explored how taking small steps to be more open about stuttering-whether 1:1, in a small or large-group setting-can enable us to get a little closer to stuttering acceptance.
In the last group, we began with a particularly vulnerable discussion of mental health and stuttering. Often times, these groups can be a beacon of positivity and light around stuttering, but it is always a meaningful reminder that this is our space and we can fill it with whatever we need to release for the hour or so we share together. We then went on to talk about the internalization of stuttering and growing up with this looming belief of body failure and misrepresentation. Different members shared different manifestations of this internalization. It can be the hesitation or regret when sharing ideas in a group, or it can be the over-analyzation of a simple interaction or feeing.
As 9 o’clock neared, we re-grouped as whole, read our closing words, and ended the night on a high. As per tradition, a few of us headed to the local bar after and had a drink or two and continued socializing on a lighter note.
We want to thank everyone for all the energy they have contributed to growing and deepening our abundant stuttering community this year. It is this energy that we are all so grateful for and brings us back together every month. So, thank you for acknowledging each and every single one of our stuttering journeys and your own. We are wishing you the happiest of all holidays and can’t wait to reconnect in 2019.
Upcoming Events in the New Year – 2019!
- Improv Seminar with our very own Marc Winski – Sunday, January 20th
- This event will be at our regular meeting space at 520 Eighth Avenue from 2-4pm.
- More details to come!
- SMBC Mock Interview Event hosted by our very own Kunal Muhajan – Thursday, January 31
- This is an incredible networking opportunity for people who stutter to give and receive interviewing feedback.
- Here is the link with more information, as well as online registration for the upcoming event!
- For more information regarding this event, contact: Kunal Mahajan at email@example.com.
Come join us this coming Monday on November 19th for our regular NSA Manhattan meeting! We’ll decompress with old friends and new friends, and talk about all thing stuttering related. We’ll meet for an hour and a half and afterwards, grab a drink at a bar nearby!
• DATE: Monday, November 19
• TIME: 7:30–9pm
• LOCATION: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets – 3rd Floor
Please arrive a little early is possible. There may be a short line to get past security. At the security desk, say you are going to A.R.T./New York on the 3rd floor. (This is the Alliance of Resident Theatres.) For security purposes, you will need to present a photo ID and have your picture taken. Take the left side elevators to get to the 3rd floor.
Also as many of you may already know, the NSA Manhattan chapter will be having an extra meeting this month, Wednesday, November 28th from 7:30pm to 9:00pm, at the same place above!
The format will be different, as it will be a combination between a support group and a panel to educate SLPs (Speech-Language Pathologists) and SLP students, like we did last year. This will be a great opportunity for members of our stuttering community to come and engage in dialogue with SLPs and educate about what it means to be a person who stutters. We hope that events like these can help foster connection between SLPs and people who stutter by helping SLPs learn how to be an ally and supporter for people who stutter, both in and out of the therapy room. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions!
• DATE: Wednesday, November 28
• TIME: 7:30–9pm
• LOCATION: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets – 3rd Floor
On Monday, October 22, about 30+ of us gathered in a room for our Manhattan October meeting. Feeling high from our local NYC Stutters one-day conference just the day before, we had meaningful conversations and connections, and explored some more what it means to be people who stutter. As per meeting tradition, we went to a bar after and decompressed with a drink or two.
One topic that came up in the groups was disability and whether and in what sense stuttering is a disability. We discussed how the definition of disability depends upon whether we are thinking about it from a medical, legal, or personal perspective. We also explored how their own reasons and motivations for considering stuttering to be a disability or not a disability might be similar to or different from the reasons and motivations that non-stutterers might have for thinking that it is or is not a disability.
No matter the relationship, talking about stuttering with parents can be delicate. In one of the groups, we talked about balancing the feeling of not wanting to disappoint your parents with the feeling of not wanting to disappoint yourself and your stutter. In another group, we opened up about how parents do not necessarily understand stuttering sometimes, and as a result can have unrealistic demands of our fluency and need for self-help. As much as parents want to help and protect us, our stuttering journeys are inevitable and unavoidable.
One topic that overlapped all groups was the uniqueness of each of our stuttering journeys. We are all in such different places in our stuttering journeys, and it is always significant to be reminded of it. We have members who stutter proudly, and others who use language that judges stuttering harshly, i.e. “he was stuttering so badly.” We have members who have been covert for most of their lives but just recently have allowed themselves to stutter openly, and in doing so have unlocked the many beauties of life. Some of our members are at a place where they have been fluent for a while, and for some, this ‘fluency’ has come at a cost. These groups where we can process our (sometimes absurd) beliefs, is a critical space, which can allow us to grow. Nevertheless, at times this can be a painful process.
We want to thank everyone for coming and sharing. We are committed to enriching our already abundant community, and we love you all deeply. Until next month!
SLP student Informational Group: Wednesday, November 28th @ 7:30-9pm
We are hosting an NSA meeting for SLP’s and SLP graduate students to learn from our community. We’ve been hosting these meetings once a year for a few years now and they are always a huge success for both SLP’s and the members of our community. This meeting will be at our regular Manhattan meeting space. Stay tunes for more details!
Brooklyn Meeting: The next Brooklyn chapter meeting will be Monday, November 12th. Check out their site here for all info.
Next Manhattan Meeting: The next Manhattan chapter meeting will be back on our regular 3rd Monday on Monday, November 19th at 520 8th Avenue, 3rd floor. We’ll be sure to send out a meeting reminder the week before.
Getting involved: We’re always looking for new ways to continue to strengthen our growing stuttering community. Shoot us an email: email@example.com with any ideas!
Instead of meeting on our regular 3rd Monday of the month, our October meeting has moved to the fourth Monday this month. It will be on Monday, October 22. Thank you so much for being so patience amidst all the schedule changes we’ve had recently. We love y’all and hope to see you soon.
- DATE: Monday, October 22
- TIME: 7:30–9pm
- LOCATION: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets – 3rd Floor
Please arrive a little early is possible. There may be a short line to get past security. At the security desk, say you are going to A.R.T./New York on the 3rd floor. (This is the Alliance of Resident Theatres.) For security purposes, you will need to present a photo ID and have your picture taken. Take the left side elevators to get to the 3rd floor. (Also, for anyone who may not have noticed, as soon as you get out of the elevator door, there is a big whiteboard with info of the room that we’ll be in.)
On Wednesday, September 26, around 25 of us, people who stutter, met for our long awaited September meeting. During the meeting, we shared parts of ourselves and connected with one another. And after the meeting, we went over to a near-by bar and decompressed with casual conversations, catching up over a drink or two. For those of you who couldn’t make it and for those of you who were there, but just need a little reminder, below are some of the topics we discussed in groups.
In one of our groups, we discussed the different ways people view their stuttering. Is it a disability? Is it not? We noted the “perks” society gave to some who were officially disabled and the struggles they endured when in no man’s land, not identifying with a disability but still experiencing stuttering in a world that has a hard time making space for the grey. Within the same group, someone shared how he had a negative experience recently when he was judged at a party to be drunk and high (when he was neither) because of his stutter. This hit him hard and affected him negatively. It led to a great conversation around how we handle crushing moments. Identifying our locus of control and making choices from that point was the resounding way to get out of a negative spot and move forward.
In another group, the conversation started out a discussion on anxiety. Many shared their thoughts and conversation moved a bit faster than usual. The focus on the conversation was how we felt within the meeting – while speaking, while not speaking, and when we anticipated to speak. Several members felt different levels of anxiety, but for different reasons. One member talked about the adrenaline of being around so many other people who stuttered. Several members talked about where they physically felt the anxiety. One member talked about her though process while anticipation to speak in a group, as a person who stutters, something we can all relate to. It was powerful to talk about our feelings, collectively as a group, and explore these feelings with each other.
In our last group, we jumped around from a few topics – stuttering during a new job, speech therapy, and raising a family. One member began the conversation by sharing that she recently started a new job. With all that she’s been through in her previous jobs with her stutter, it was a sigh of relief to start something new, feeling supported by the resilience she’s gained and this newly found community. Although feeling anxious at unknown, she shared her new outlook on stuttering in the workplace and was determined to feel comfortable and allow stuttering in. Another member shared how she was interested in speech therapy and we went around the room and shared therapy that worked for us, and therapy that didn’t. We all agreed that speech therapy was a form of support, and we owe it to ourselves to seek it if needed.
We are grateful for everyone who showed up, was vulnerable, and shared, and we hope to see everyone again during our October meeting on Monday, October 15.