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!

 

March Recap & Announcements

March Recap & Announcements

We hope to see you all tonight, Monday, April 16th, for our April Meeting. And for those of you who didn’t make it out last month, here is a recap of our meeting.

We had a turnout of about 30 of us, and as usual, we split into 3 smaller groups to discuss what was on our mind.

One first-timer started out the night by sharing that he recently has had to do a lot public speaking at work. It’s become something habitual and he is able to stutter and get through the presentation without the shame and anxiety that we can so often feel when stuttering. The same first-timer also shared that with all this public speaking, he has become more open and vulnerable at work. Some of us can probably relate to this.

Another topic that was brought up was how we verbalize our experiences. The way we talk about our stuttering story can often be so telling to who we are and where we are in our journey. It is so interesting to look back into different times of our life and compare how we talked about stuttering then, to how we talk about stuttering now.

The talk about our stuttering journey then brought us to discuss the balance of pushing ourselves vs. being self-passionate to ourselves. We ended the group talking about this feeling of camaraderie and comfort we feel when we are around other people who stutter. It really is an unexplainable connection that we all have with one another. But the true task that many of us face is how do we feel this kind of psychological safety in a room full of people who don’t stutter.

Another group talked about how stuttering can sometimes become the sole focus..to a fault. For example, one person shared how he went on a job interview and was so worried about not stuttering and being fluent that he totally forgot to plan and prepare for the interview. He didn’t get the job. He was laughing because now in retrospect, but his point was that stuttering can overtake everything if you let it.

In one of the groups, we decided to do some job interview role-playing. We experimented with how it felt to advertise to our interviewer, and how it felt to not advertise. As many of you know, the job interview is a topic that comes up almost every month, and taking the opportunity to experiment with this can be an effective way for some of our attendees to experiment with the different feelings we may encounter during our job hunt.


Announcements

Women’s Group Recap:
A big thank you to all who attended our inaugural women’s group on Monday, March 5! 12 of us sat together, ate Ruffles and discussed gender, group dynamics, stuttering and more. Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, we hope to host it a few times a year. We also talked about what we want to see more of, one of which is discussions or events that center the different identities, ages, and experiences that make up our community in NYC. Have other ideas for dynamic events in NYC? Email us!
– Roisin, Spring, Chaya, Emma

Improv Group
Our very own Marc Winski will be leading an improv workshop on Sunday, April 29th.
Did your heart just pound a little by reading something that had to do with ‘acting’ or ‘improvisation?’ Have you ever seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? and thought….”Wow, this is hilarious!!”? Come for an afternoon of judgement-free exploration and improvisation. “But Marc, I’m not an actor…” NOT TO WORRY. This is for everyone! This will introduce you to the the freeing benefits of “I don’t give a damn” and the lasting effects it can have on your daily life (including stuttering)! Click here for more details.

When I Stutter: Screen Film
Screening of the award-winning documentary, WHEN I STUTTER, followed by a Q & A with the Director/Co-Writer, John Gomez and Co-Writer, Scott Palasik. WHEN I STUTTER is a documentary that reveals the humanity that exists within an often mysterious malady. Over the course of 4.5 years, 19 people shared stories about how stuttering has impacted their lives. These stories run the gamut of human emotion… Some are dark, some are funny and others are triumphant! Additionally, there are “educational vignettes” interspersed throughout the documentary to help illuminate some of the mysteries surrounding stuttering.

Manhattan Meeting
Tonight! Same time same place. We hope to see you. Click here for the details.

February Meeting Recap | First Women’s Group on March 5

February Meeting Recap | First Women’s Group on March 5

Thank you to everyone who came out last Wednesday for our February meeting. Despite it not being our regular meeting day (because of President’s Day), we still had an amazing turnout with over 25 people in attendance, including about 8 new comers and plenty of old-timers. After we read opening words and did introductions, we split up into 3 groups of about 8 people each. After the meeting, as per usual, many of us went over to Juniper, our trusty old bar that we go to after every meeting, and talked and stuttered even more. Below is a quick recap of a few things we discussed in our groups.

 

Advertising

In one group, people shared that they didn’t like to advertise because they felt it was simply stating the obvious, that there is no point in telling people what they already know. While in another group, members felt that advertising was necessary in order to take ownership of the situation. Despite the different opinions, both groups also brought up that when we tell people we stutter, we are telling them so much more. The way we talk about it also communicates how we feel about it – and by extension how we hope the listener will respond to it. If we act like it’s okay with us, it indicates to the other person that it can be okay with them too. This can lower our own discomfort very effectively, and also theirs. When people respond poorly to advertising, it’s often because they’re picking up that we are ashamed to be advertising or to be stuttering. Usually people react well, and especially so if we feel good about ourselves when we advertise.

 

Regret and Fear

As people who stutter, we have experienced fear of being held back because of stuttering. And when this fear actually manifests itself, we feel regret. As shared by one group, we can be so afraid of stuttering that we opt out of a class we want to take, speak a second language, and choose specific field to work in. In retrospect, we wish we hadn’t let fear of stuttering hold us back. But when it does hold us back, it is okay too. Because as validated in one group, our experiences of stuttering are very real. There is such a psychology behind growing up and feeling like you don’t have a voice. However, a few things to always remember is that it is never too late and that you are never alone.

 

Stuttering Community

 One topic that was brought up in every group was the importance of this stuttering community. These friendships inside can help alleviate our shame. When we respect and value other stutters, it can make it easier to respect and value ourselves. In one group, we shared how humbling our first meeting can be. To be around so many people who stutter can help us normalize stuttering in our own lives. From being a better listener to developing lifelong friendships, we can learn so much each other.

 


 

Exciting Announcement about our first Women’s Group on March 5th!

Have you ever arrived to a stuttering support group and thought, “Wow, look at all these cool people who stutter. But why are there only five women and nineteen men here?” You’re not out of your mind — the math backs you up! Out of every five adults who stutter, only one is female. On March 5th @7-9pm at ART (Manhattan meeting space) we will host a special group meeting to give women who stutter a restorative space to connect and share with one another. ALL women who stutter are welcome. Feel free to shoot us an email (nycstutters@gmail.com) with any questions or concerns.

  • Monday, March 5 at 7-9pm
  • 520 Eighth Avenue, 3rd Floor (Room D)

 

Next Manhattan Meeting

Our next Manhattan meeting will be back on our regular 3rd Monday of the month.

  • Monday, March 19 at 7:30-9pm
  • 520 Eighth Avenue, 3rd Floor

 

Next Brooklyn Meeting

 If you are looking for additional meetings, the Brooklyn chapter meets on the 2nd Monday of every month in downtown Brooklyn.

  • Monday, March 12 at 7:30-9pm
  • 30 Third Avenue

 

Getting Involed: We value each member of our community and are always looking for new ways to expand our chapter. If you have an idea that you’d like to share, or would like to get involved, please email us. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next month..

– Manhattan Chapter Leaders

 

January Recap & Announcements

January Recap & Announcements

Thank you to all who joined us last Monday, on a cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We had two first-timers, welcome to you both, about 25 participants in total, and all of us where PWS (people who stutter). We weren’t sure if we had enough attendees to split up into three groups, but as people kept on coming in during our introductions, we decided three groups would be just fine. Here is some, but not all, of what the groups discussed:

Stuttering and our identity
One conversation that came up had to do with a few different aspects of what stuttering means to us. For those of us heavily involved in the stuttering world professionally outside of the meetings, how do we (or can we?) draw lines around our “stuttering selves” and our “true selves”? Is part of our personality and identity tied to stuttering, while other parts of our personality and identity remain completely separate? Or is every part of ourselves united with every other part somehow? This then led to a conversation of how stuttering has shaped us. For example, some of us proposed that stuttering has built our character or made us better people. Others expressed their belief that our character is probably independent of stuttering.

Knowing when we’re going to stutter
And we talked about how our attitudes about our stuttering can affect us.  Disfluency often triggers negative emotions in ourselves so quickly that we don’t recognize in the moment that they are really separate things. When stuttering leads immediately and automatically to self-criticism, stuttering is really painful. The emotions are so painful that we often avoid speaking situations altogether, but that avoidance often fuels our negative emotions. One of our first-timers brought up the question whether we can predict our own stuttering? She wishes she had less awareness so that she could speak more spontaneously because when she does feel a stuttering coming on, she finds it difficult to continue talking and saying what she wants since she knows she’s going to stutter. We then shared about how helpful advertising can be in this situation. However, whether we want to advertise or not is up to us and how it makes us feel.

When we have some distance from our emotions, and can separate our stuttering from our reaction to it, and can have some compassion for ourselves, stuttering is not as painful. On the other hand, it’s also important not to push ourselves too hard and too fast. Sometimes it might be ok to avoid a difficult situation if we don’t have the emotional energy to deal with it at the moment.

Excluding ourselves as barrier from achieving a goal
Another member brought up how he was contemplating on whether he should pursue a potential professional opportunity, which would involve quite a bit of speaking. But it seemed, at least to him, that there were one or two reasons as to why things wouldn’t pan out, as he was discussing this with the group. Many of us people who stutter have also found ourselves in this position, coming up with reasons (maybe even excuses), since the road we’ll take on pursuing a goal may be painful one at times, and maybe it is just that it is easier to stay in our comfort zone, at least for now. Another member expressed how she has similarly been in somewhat of an idle state with pursuing a different job, but recently she’s had a shift of mentalities. She expressed, if someone will prevent her from achieving a goal, it will no longer be her, but instead it will have to be someone else. There are already too many obstacles we all face in life, why act as one yourself?

Thank you again for all those who made it out. Many of us then made it out to our usual hangout spot, Juniper, right after for a drink and some catching up. Until next time.

Announcements:

Exciting Research Project
Do you want to help people who stutter and participate in science, and get paid for it? Participants will be compensated $40 for Experiment 1 and up to $100 for Experiment 2. Additionally, subjects will be reimbursed for train travel to/from Yale University, if applicable. You can participate in one or both experiments. Please view details here, and reach out Dr. Eric S. Jackson at eric.s.jackson@nyu.edu for any questions.

Next Brooklyn meeting
The next Brooklyn meeting will be at their regular time and place. That’s always a great group, so if you’re looking for some more support, or if you’d like to meet some new people in our community, definitely join them. More info can be found here.

February Women’s Meeting
Thursday, February 8, from 7-9pm, at our Manhattan location. Stay tuned for more details!

Next Manhattan meeting
Next meeting will not be on our regular 3rd Monday of the Month, because of President’s Day, but instead, it will be on the 3rd Wednesday, February 21. 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.

Staying in touch
If you’re interested in staying in touch with events happening in the NYC stuttering community, check out our Facebook Page here, and our Facebook Group here. We’ll have a February outing, and Facebook is the place to find out about that.

December Recap, January Meeting Reminder, and Bowling This Weekend!

December Recap, January Meeting Reminder, and Bowling This Weekend!

December Recap

To round out the dynamic year, we had our last meeting of 2017 on Monday December 18th. With over 30 attendees and a handful of new comers, the night was filled with the spirit of resilience.

We reflected on the highs and lows of our stuttering year. Self-compassion seemed to be a common theme. Many of us shared how important it was and always will be to remind ourselves to be more self-forgiving when things don’t go as we hope. As for some New Year’s resolutions, a few members expressed that they would like to practice more patience and be more proactive in recognizing small successes in order to achieve a bigger goal.

As we brace for wintry weather, another group discussed the age-old stuttering superstition of whether we stutter more as the weather gets colder. Whether we believe that we do stutter more or we don’t stutter more, one member flipped the perspective and shared how the colder weather is simply a memento to remind us that with seasons come change. This inspired us to think about what was stagnant in our lives. Whether it is to take a step closer to attaining the dream job or being more positive in mornings, we ended the meeting feeling more connected to one another.

 

January Meeting Reminder – Monday, January 15

We will be meeting on the 3rd Monday of this month on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Please join us to welcome the new year and decompress with all things stuttering!

  • Date – Monday, January 15
  • Time – 7:30-9pm
  • Location & Details – 520 Eighth Ave (between 36th and 37th Streets)
    • A.R.T./New York
    • Third Floor
    • Please arrive a couple minutes earlier with photo ID

 

Social Outing This Weekend, Saturday, January 13 – Bowling!

One member of our chapter (shout out to Marvin) has graciously planned a stuttering social get together for THIS WEEKEND! Feel free to reach out with questions and stay tuned for details on our Facebook page.

 

We hope you had the happiest of holidays and we can’t wait to experience 2018 with you! As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Hope to see you all soon!

Warmest regards,

Manhattan Chapter Leaders