August Recap

August Recap

We ended summer with a bang with 31 people in attendance at our August meeting. Summer adventures, new semesters, and job challenges were some of the rich, relevant, and important topics of the night. Take a read here to see what was discussed:

 

Discrimination at work

 

We had an important conversation about experiences of subtle and overt discrimination at work. One person shared that he was recently hired at a new job and was experiencing extra scrutiny despite excelling at his position and having disclosed that he was a person who stuttered at the time of his hire. Several of our members were well versed in discrimination laws and asked probing questions to help him discern if this scrutiny for new employees was common practice, or subtle or overt discrimination. It left many of us reflecting on the common practices at work environments, and a heightened awareness of the importance of looking out for and ensuring equal treatment for all employees with differences and disabilities.

 

The Upside of Advertising

 

In our groups we often discuss how helpful it is when we advertise our stuttering. Advertising, another word for disclosing, is the term used to let someone know that you stutter. Saying something like “you may notice that I stutter” (no apologies!)  is helpful because it gets stuttering out in the open and reduces tension and anxiety for the speaker. It also  provides knowledge for the listener so they understand what is happening. Advertising is incredibly helpful because it allows the content of the conversation to be primary rather than secondary. It increases the chances for  authentic connection in the conversation. One of our members shared how he recently advertised on the phone at work to a new superior and how as a result felt exceptionally more confident in himself. He was now excited to approach his new experiences at work with his supervisor because he took the reigns in his hand and set the stage for success. Members echoed shared experiences of positive advertising experience and how they felt a sense of empowerment when stuttering in a confident way.

 

The Joy of Sharing

 

One member shared how she advertised her stutter to her extended family while visiting them this summer. She found the experience to be empowering and joyful. Our group members applauded her for her courage, and had a great conversation about the best ways to go about advertising to people who know you already but you may never have created the opportunity to explicitly share with them about stuttering. It got others to also share about their positive experiences, and gave some people who never considered the idea, something to think about.

 

Liked these conversations? Join us at our monthly meetings to hear, share and experience these conversations together. We look forward to seeing you there!

-Manhattan Chapter Leaders

 

 

 

 

July Recap

July Recap

Many of us in the group had attended the NSA annual conference the week before, so we started out the night by trying to put into words the high we felt in those few days in Chicago surrounded by so many fellow people who stutter. We talked about how in those few days a completely different culture with different sets of social norms and values are set in place. Some members shared as they transition back to their everyday life, they’re trying to maintain that high. Others questioned whether it was possible.

The conference also inspired other topics of conversation: stuttering, identity, and shame. One first-timer shared how the conference got her thinking about all her interactions with the fluent world and how she has internalized them. Although not every interaction is meaningful and poignant to our stuttering journey, each interaction slowly but surely builds on top of each other like laying bricks to form a foundation to get through another day. As that foundation gets stronger with more experience and resilience, the more we are able to tackle the shame that we feel and reclaim who we are meant to be.

One member shared how she was told by her friend that she first had to “work” on her speech to succeed in interviews. This led to a good conversation about what is effective communication. Is stuttering the main problem, or is it a lack of good communication? Another member shared how it took him taking a hard look at himself and realizing it wasn’t his stuttering that was holding him back. Instead, he felt that his overall communication could have been improved. With this awareness, he was able to do just that – show up differently, which helped me land a job!

Although the annual conference had come to an end for those who made it out to Chicago, a common theme seemed to emerge as we went around the room this evening. Several people expressed how grateful they were to be at the group, surrounded by over 30 others who stutter. It is rare to have such a strong support network so close by. Our NYC stuttering community is an exceptional one. Together we are strong.

Announcements:

Bronx Meeting: Check out the newest NYC chapter. They meet up on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

Brooklyn Meeting: The coolest group in town. They keep it real. Their meetings are on the 2nd Monday of every month.

NYC Mock Interview Day at Goldman Sachs: This is a unique opportunity to practice interviewing skills in a stutter-friendly workplace. Registrants will participate in two mock interviews and receive valuable feedback and interview strategies and tips.

Take Stuttering out to the Ballgame!: Join the Queens Chapter of the NSA as we Take Stuttering Out to the Ballgame to see the New York Yankees take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, August 19th at 1:05pm.

NYC Stutters Conference: We’re preparing our 3rd NYC Stutters conference this Fall, most likely on a Sunday in October. We’ll send out a save the date this week as we finalize venues. Stay tuned!

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