Our Monday night meeting was a great way to end the beautiful spring day. We had 23 people in attendance-18 people who stutter, a devoted dad, 2 Speech Language Pathologists and 2 graduate students. A huge welcome to our newcomers Benjamin, Alex, Igor,Rachel, Ellie, Jean, Ryan, Cindy and Mike! To all you courageous souls, we are so glad you joined us and look forward to seeing you again. Our group split into two and enjoyed great conversation. Here is some of what was discussed:
The Benefits of Advertising
We spoke about the benefits of letting others know that you stutter. One member said that when he is open about his stuttering he finds himself becoming much more fluent. Someone else said that not having to think about stuttering is “liberating,” freeing him from the mental energy otherwise used to avoid stuttering. Many agreed that advertising can be frightening at first but then turns out to be a huge stress reliever and makes communicating more joyful.
The topic of voluntary stuttering (stuttering on purpose in a relaxed manner on non-feared words), was broached when talking about ways to decrease the fear surrounding stuttering. We spoke about how everyone has their own fear hierarchy and that voluntary stuttering is one way to become desensitized to the stuttering experience. One person shared how he really liked experimenting with voluntary stuttering because it gave him a sense of control over the thing that normally controlled him. Another person said that while it initially felt counterintuitive, the ability to play with stuttering turned fear on it’s head in a way that nothing else could.
The Paradox of Our Stuttering Desires
We talked about the paradox of stuttering, how when we want to be more fluent, the less fluent we become. Someone said that he found that letting himself stutter actually decreased his stuttering and allowed him to be better attuned to the conversation. We discussed how when we focus our attention on being effective communicators rather than being fluent speakers we are often pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Someone brought up the importance of stepping into challenging situations despite not knowing how it will turn out. This is the ultimate act of letting go and takes courage and resilience. We applaud those with the internal courage to face such challenges by themselves. We also know the importance of having external support, which is why we are so grateful for the NSA, our monthly meet-ups and the stuttering community.
Here are some upcoming events you will want to be part of:
NYC Stutters Palisades Spring Hike – Join us next Sunday, May 31st for a beautiful hike just a little over 30 minutes outside the city. Click here for more details and to RSVP.
NSA Annual Conference – The 32nd annual conference is taking place during July 4th week. Enjoy hanging out and having a blast with hundreds of people who stutter. Click here to find out more information and to sign up. This is really a special event, and if you’re on the fence about going, please reach out to us for questions.
If you haven’t done so yet, please like our Facebook page here to stay in the loop with summer events and outings!