Last Monday, the 17th, about 35 of us came together for our June meeting, and it was one of our largest gatherings to date. There was a dedicated SLP student who came to learn, and the rest of us were people who stutter looking to share and connect with one another. After the opening words and introductions, we split up into 3 smaller groups. We did something different this time, and for one of the groups we had an impromptu workshop led by one of our co-leaders, Chaya, who is presenting the same workshop at an upcoming conference in Iceland. About 10 members volunteered to try something different and join Chaya! The workshop focused on identifying and celebrating the current successes in life and used that as a platform for healing from the past. As one may expect, it turned out to be a meaningful and touching experience for those who participated.
In another group, we discussed how it can sometimes feel like all the hard work we’ve put into accepting ourselves as people who stutter can be undone in an instant when we revert to feelings of shame in reaction to a listener’s disrespectful response to our speech, and about how it might be worth remembering at those times that such feelings of shame are happening less often and for shorter duration and with less intensity and that the hard work we are putting into accepting ourselves is actually paying off after all. We’re sorry for the run-on sentence here. Sometimes this sort of thing happens. We’re a volunteer based chapter, and are human, just like you. We also discussed the positive aspects of stuttering and a number of other topics as well, in this same group.
And in the last group, the topic of control came up, as it often does, as it pertains to stuttering. A couple of members in the group expressed that they often didn’t see any sort of pattern when it came to their frequency of stuttering. On some days, or in specific situations, there was just more struggle and hardly any sense of control. Another member expressed what usually worked for him in hopes of achieving control and shared an example. When meeting someone for the first time, he explained that he would try to introduce himself first in order to take the pressure off of having to say his name on command. And if he were to then stutter on his name, he would simply just make a joke about it. Although the following didn’t come up during our group, many of us would consider an attempt to control the flow of an interaction as an avoidance technique, and joking about your stuttering, of course, doesn’t sit very well with others. In any case, the group, and this conversation was a constant reminder that we are all different, we have different goals, we’re on different paths, and we all stutter differently.
July Beach Outing
On July 14th a group of us will be making the trek down to Coney Island, at noon (until 4pm) for a little beach action. A couple of us will bring drinks and some snacks, but also feel free to bring whatever you’d like – and feel free to email (manhattanStutters@gmail.com) if you’d like to coordinate. A few of us may decide to stroll over for a Nathan’s hotdog at some point as well, or to any of the many eateries nearby. The exact location of our meetup at noon will be shared as the day approaches, so stay tuned for that!
NSA Annual Conference
If you are thinking about going and have never been to the NSA Conference before, you should definitely try to make it to this one. Go to the NSA site for more details, and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
NYC NSA Chapters
Brooklyn Meeting: Their meetings are on the 2nd Monday of the month.
Bronx Chapter: Their meetings are on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
Queens Chapter: Their meetings are usually on the 1st Monday of the month.
If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, and you would like to be around more women who stutter during these support group, instead of 32 other male dudes, guess what? You’re not alone! Fortunately, our community has some amazing women, and you can join them during our next women’s group – organized and run by women. This meeting will most likely be sometime in July, so please stay tuned for the specific date. Also, please email us if you have any thoughts on how we may be able to improve attendance among women in our community. We’re always looking to learn from you all, and hear ANY feedback.