On Monday, October 22, about 30+ of us gathered in a room for our Manhattan October meeting. Feeling high from our local NYC Stutters one-day conference just the day before, we had meaningful conversations and connections, and explored some more what it means to be people who stutter. As per meeting tradition, we went to a bar after and decompressed with a drink or two.
One topic that came up in the groups was disability and whether and in what sense stuttering is a disability. We discussed how the definition of disability depends upon whether we are thinking about it from a medical, legal, or personal perspective. We also explored how their own reasons and motivations for considering stuttering to be a disability or not a disability might be similar to or different from the reasons and motivations that non-stutterers might have for thinking that it is or is not a disability.
No matter the relationship, talking about stuttering with parents can be delicate. In one of the groups, we talked about balancing the feeling of not wanting to disappoint your parents with the feeling of not wanting to disappoint yourself and your stutter. In another group, we opened up about how parents do not necessarily understand stuttering sometimes, and as a result can have unrealistic demands of our fluency and need for self-help. As much as parents want to help and protect us, our stuttering journeys are inevitable and unavoidable.
One topic that overlapped all groups was the uniqueness of each of our stuttering journeys. We are all in such different places in our stuttering journeys, and it is always significant to be reminded of it. We have members who stutter proudly, and others who use language that judges stuttering harshly, i.e. “he was stuttering so badly.” We have members who have been covert for most of their lives but just recently have allowed themselves to stutter openly, and in doing so have unlocked the many beauties of life. Some of our members are at a place where they have been fluent for a while, and for some, this ‘fluency’ has come at a cost. These groups where we can process our (sometimes absurd) beliefs, is a critical space, which can allow us to grow. Nevertheless, at times this can be a painful process.
We want to thank everyone for coming and sharing. We are committed to enriching our already abundant community, and we love you all deeply. Until next month!
SLP student Informational Group: Wednesday, November 28th @ 7:30-9pm
We are hosting an NSA meeting for SLP’s and SLP graduate students to learn from our community. We’ve been hosting these meetings once a year for a few years now and they are always a huge success for both SLP’s and the members of our community. This meeting will be at our regular Manhattan meeting space. Stay tunes for more details!
Brooklyn Meeting: The next Brooklyn chapter meeting will be Monday, November 12th. Check out their site here for all info.
Next Manhattan Meeting: The next Manhattan chapter meeting will be back on our regular 3rd Monday on Monday, November 19th at 520 8th Avenue, 3rd floor. We’ll be sure to send out a meeting reminder the week before.
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!
Instead of meeting on our regular 3rd Monday of the month, our October meeting has moved to the fourth Monday this month. It will be on Monday, October 22. Thank you so much for being so patience amidst all the schedule changes we’ve had recently. We love y’all and hope to see you soon.
- DATE: Monday, October 22
- TIME: 7:30–9pm
- LOCATION: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets – 3rd Floor
Please arrive a little early is possible. There may be a short line to get past security. At the security desk, say you are going to A.R.T./New York on the 3rd floor. (This is the Alliance of Resident Theatres.) For security purposes, you will need to present a photo ID and have your picture taken. Take the left side elevators to get to the 3rd floor. (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.)
On Wednesday, September 26, around 25 of us, people who stutter, met for our long awaited September meeting. During the meeting, we shared parts of ourselves and connected with one another. And after the meeting, we went over to a near-by bar and decompressed with casual conversations, catching up over a drink or two. For those of you who couldn’t make it and for those of you who were there, but just need a little reminder, below are some of the topics we discussed in groups.
In one of our groups, we discussed the different ways people view their stuttering. Is it a disability? Is it not? We noted the “perks” society gave to some who were officially disabled and the struggles they endured when in no man’s land, not identifying with a disability but still experiencing stuttering in a world that has a hard time making space for the grey. Within the same group, someone shared how he had a negative experience recently when he was judged at a party to be drunk and high (when he was neither) because of his stutter. This hit him hard and affected him negatively. It led to a great conversation around how we handle crushing moments. Identifying our locus of control and making choices from that point was the resounding way to get out of a negative spot and move forward.
In another group, the conversation started out a discussion on anxiety. Many shared their thoughts and conversation moved a bit faster than usual. The focus on the conversation was how we felt within the meeting – while speaking, while not speaking, and when we anticipated to speak. Several members felt different levels of anxiety, but for different reasons. One member talked about the adrenaline of being around so many other people who stuttered. Several members talked about where they physically felt the anxiety. One member talked about her though process while anticipation to speak in a group, as a person who stutters, something we can all relate to. It was powerful to talk about our feelings, collectively as a group, and explore these feelings with each other.
In our last group, we jumped around from a few topics – stuttering during a new job, speech therapy, and raising a family. One member began the conversation by sharing that she recently started a new job. With all that she’s been through in her previous jobs with her stutter, it was a sigh of relief to start something new, feeling supported by the resilience she’s gained and this newly found community. Although feeling anxious at unknown, she shared her new outlook on stuttering in the workplace and was determined to feel comfortable and allow stuttering in. Another member shared how she was interested in speech therapy and we went around the room and shared therapy that worked for us, and therapy that didn’t. We all agreed that speech therapy was a form of support, and we owe it to ourselves to seek it if needed.
We are grateful for everyone who showed up, was vulnerable, and shared, and we hope to see everyone again during our October meeting on Monday, October 15.