Twenty-nine people swam** through the NYC summer heat, last Monday July 18th, and successfully made it to the Aspire Center to share stuttering-related stories, challenges, memories, and to support each other — all within the confines of an air-conditioned and cool atmosphere.
Some of us talked about the benefits of advertising, including reducing anxiety levels, and the general positive response most people get from advertising. (For those of us unfamiliar with this, advertising just means telling whoever you’re talking with that you stutter. There are tons of ways to do this, and there’s certainly not a “right” or “wrong” way). Some of us also talked about the universal language and connection of stuttering-how one person in our group connected immediately to another person who stutters when he was on a different continent. Many of us who have been to the annual NSA conference may have experienced something like this first-hand – the common bond that exists between people who stutter. Even if our experiences haven’t spanned continents or languages yet, we might’ve even already been able to connect, through our common bond of stuttering, with people in our own midtown NSA group.
One of our members talked about how he had hidden stuttering for a long time, even from people close to him. He talked about how his fairly new journey of acceptance feels really good and that it’s also challenging. In a powerful and moving way, his story reminded us that it is never too late to start this kind of journey. As challenging as it may be to remember sometimes, the opportunity to work on our self acceptance is always available in some way, and personally I am reminded of how helpful coming to NSA support groups has been for this. Another member talked about a life transition, and we were reminded about how starting something new, whether it’s a new job, new school, etc. can be exciting and a bit nerve-racking. One of our members suggested that getting more involved in the NSA’s stuttering community during a time of transition can be very rewarding and powerful, and she reflected on how being part of the NSA has been central to her growth.
Another member asked how he could help out the stuttering community, and that he wanted to give back in some way. This was an opportunity to establish two important things. In a support group setting, we are all there for one another, and we have that part covered. But outside of the support group, the work we need to do is limitless. Many of us may not realize it, but when we advertise, when we stutter openly or when we talk about stuttering with others, we are not only advocating for ourselves, but we are showing the world what stuttering is, and we might even be unintentionally advocating for other stutterers who we haven’t even met. In this way, advertising really is an important contribution to our community. It’s pretty eye-opening when you take a step back and realize that advertising, in this way, has the power to transcend our own lives. Even if we are not consciously thinking about advertising in this broader way when are in our “moment” of advertising, it’s pretty cool to think about this.
**No one actually swam to group last week. This is my attempt at a metaphor.
Do you like baseball? Do you? Good! The Queens chapter of the NSA is hosting their 3rd annual Yankees Game on Sunday August 14th. Click here for all the info and for tickets!
We’re starting to plan for an NSA march in October. We think this is an important idea, and this will be a great way to get involved in the stuttering community in a new, exciting, empowering way. Details are still TBD, so look out for emails about this in the near future.
Brooklyn group: The next Brooklyn chapter meeting will be Monday August 8th.Check out their site here for all info.
Our next outing is TBD. We were going to try doing something this coming Saturday (7/30), but we need to reschedule to another time. We’re not sure when yet, but we’ll keep everyone posted.
Getting involved: We’re always looking for new ways to continue to strengthen our growing stuttering community. Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas, and drop in at our next meeting August 15th!
Stay cool everyone,
– NSA Midtown co-leaders | Chaya, Gabe, Marc, Michael, Stavro