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.
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.
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!