We had a great December Midtown meeting with 25 people in total, including four first-timers! Thanks to everyone who came out! Afterwards, some of us crossed the street and hung out for a bit at the bar, which is always a good time.
Members discussed social anxiety that sometimes surfaces during the holidays, advertising our stuttering during social situations, and the ideas of introverts vs. extroverts. Socializing is a major part of the holiday season and as one member brought up, it can be very stressful. Some members discussed how advertising could help with anxiety, while others preferred to reserve advertising for something a little more intimate. This led some of us exploring what it meant to be an introvert vs. extrovert and what that meant for our relationship with stuttering.
We talked about why we stutter more or less with certain people or in certain places or social situations. We also touched upon the importance of acceptance in general; not just acceptance of stuttering but in other areas of our lives too. Someone talked about how he was stuttering more than usual at holiday parties, and didn’t mind the stuttering as much as he minded the often subconscious decisions to speak less or not say something. We also discussed the importance of accepting ourselves when making these decisions too. We don’t need to feel bad about ourselves if we don’t always say everything we want to say.
We talked about what we mean by acceptance. It doesn’t mean not feeling fear. It’s more about feeling fear and accepting that fear: not “awfulizing” it in our mind, not criticizing ourselves for feeling fear, not trying to make the fear go away; being kind and compassionate to ourselves while we experience fear.
We discussed how it is natural for stressful family situations or conflicts to sometimes exacerbate our stuttering, and we delved into some strategies we could use to manage our relationship with our stuttering during these times. Advertising, voluntary stuttering, and being more open in general about our stuttering with people close to us all came up as important tools that could help us through these challenging times. We had a dynamic conversation about these strategies, and many members – returning members and first-timers – contributed with unique and valuable perspectives: the importance of pushing our comfort zones, of acknowledging all of our successes even if the outcome isn’t exactly what we hoped for, the importance of not aiming for fluency, and the need to take things one step at a time.
What a thought-provoking, motivational, and inspirational meeting! We can’t wait to see you all again in January!
Brooklyn group: The next Brooklyn chapter meeting will be Monday January 9th. Check out their site here for all info.
Next Midtown group meeting will be TUESDAY January 17th (it will be on the third TUESDAY in January – NOT monday – due to Martin Luther King Day. Check out our site here for all info.
We’re figuring out a social event for sometime in January. More info to follow soon.
Getting involved: We’re always looking for new ways to continue to strengthen our growing stuttering community. Shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas