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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.