June Recap | July Beach Outing

June Recap | July Beach Outing

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. 


Announcements

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. 

Women’s Group
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. 

May Recap | Summer Outing

May Recap | Summer Outing

Here are just a couple topics that were discussed at our May meeting.

The topic came up of whether to disclose if you stutter, when asked if you have a disability when applying to a job posting. Some members thought that this could prevent you from not only getting the job, but from even getting the interview. Other members expressed that it was a good idea to disclose this, because not only would you want your future employer to know about your stuttering, but that your performance would be greatly effected by being your genuine self. It was an interesting conversation. 

One group had an interesting discussion about whether as people who stutter, we try harder to overcompensate for our stuttering by attempting to work even harder than anyone else-whether that means in our jobs or even in our personal interactions with friends and family. One member shared that as a medical school student, he frequently rehearsed what he was going to say in his mind before doing rounds to compensate for his stuttering. Another member said that when he has to present to colleagues at work, he also over-practices his points beforehand. Trying to reconcile this need for perfection in the face of stuttering, along with embracing our authentic selves as we are, was explored.

Announcements

June Picnic in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Join the Manhattan & Brooklyn NSA chapters in the park for our first summer event! Feel free to bring some gear (snacks, blanket, drinks, games, etc). Last year it was a great time…
When: Sunday, June 9th, from 1pm to 5pm
Where: Prospect Park  – walk right passed The Picnic House at Prospect Park. Click here for the specific location.

NSA Annual Conference
If you are thinking about going and have never been before, you should definitely try to make it to this conference. Go to the NSA site for more details, and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Brooklyn Meeting
This is a great group, one of the best as a matter of fact. If you haven’t been to any of their meetings, you should definitely try to make it out there. Their meetings are on the 2nd Monday of the month. Check out their site which may have some useful info, even though they haven’t updated it in what seems to be years. 

Bronx Chapter
This is a newer group which meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month. Check out their site here for more details.

Queens Chapter
The Queens is usually on the first Monday of every month, but checkout the NSA site here to get in touch with Nina, the leader of this group.

February Recap

February Recap

We were back at our usual venue for our February meeting. About 30 of us came out, including a few brave first-timers and some SLP students who were there to see what it is that we do at these meetings. We started off with our intros, which are of course optional, and then split into three smaller groups. Below are a few topics that were discussed during the meeting. Also, a special thank you to Chani for helping co-facilitate one of the groups.

One of the groups started with a question from a first timer to the group about whether people have found that their stuttering has changed as they have gotten older. Many members expressed that their feelings about their stuttering had more to do with where they were on their stuttering journey than a specific age or decade of their lives. Some members shared that stuttering was more challenging for them as children growing up because often their teachers in school did not understand stuttering and would often call on them to read aloud or present in front of the class. Another difficult time period for being a PWS that was expressed was adolescence because of the social pressures to fit in. It can be challenging to handle stuttering at any stage of life, but as many members shared, our stuttering journeys are unique in that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can change the way that you think and feel about your stuttering and not let it hold you back.

One topic that we discussed in one of the groups was advertising when applying or interviewing for jobs/school. One member shared that he was applying for graduate school and was contemplating disclosing stuttering on the application. Many people in the group agreed that this was a personal decision and that advertising most of the time is for yourself and not for the listener. By advertising, most of us do not magically become more fluent. For many of us, it is a significant mindset shift since it actively goes against years and years of conditioned shame and trauma. From there, we delved deeper into this trauma, and how so many of us believe that stuttering has and often still holds us back from our true potential – especially in a society in which we are often commoditized. We agreed that we need to find ways to grieve this shame and idea of fluency in order to move forward, and it is groups like this where we can allow ourselves the space to learn how to do so.

In another group, the topic came up with introducing ourselves at work, specifically when a new hire shows up at the office. One member expressed how he likes to make people feel welcome and comfortable and values introductions, but sometimes puts them off. The group expressed how it is important to keep a few things in mind when processing this sort of behavior. Being too hard on yourself, like if you do not always go up to someone to introduce yourself and then feel bad about it, probably will not be a super helpful feeling to carry around with you. It is also important to try to distinguish what your current behavior actually is. Are you not going up to introduce yourself during the first day of each new hire, or do you actually avoid all introductions at all costs – or are you somewhere in the middle? The point is, sometimes we focus on just the one side of things, many time the negatives, and we do not give enough credit to ourselves when it is due. tl;dr: Love yourself and screw introductions.

See you all soon!

Stavro and Manhattan Chapter Co-Leaders

July Meeting Recap

July Meeting Recap

Many of us in the group had attended the NSA annual conference the week before, so we started out the night by trying to put into words the high we felt in those few days in Chicago surrounded by so many fellow people who stutter. We talked about how in those few days a completely different culture with different sets of social norms and values are set in place. Some members shared as they transition back to their everyday life, they’re trying to maintain that high. Others questioned whether it was possible.

The conference also inspired other topics of conversation: stuttering, identity, and shame. One first-timer shared how the conference got her thinking about all her interactions with the fluent world and how she has internalized them. Although not every interaction is meaningful and poignant to our stuttering journey, each interaction slowly but surely builds on top of each other like laying bricks to form a foundation to get through another day. As that foundation gets stronger with more experience and resilience, the more we are able to tackle the shame that we feel and reclaim who we are meant to be.

One member shared how she was told by her friend that she first had to “work” on her speech to succeed in interviews. This led to a good conversation about what is effective communication. Is stuttering the main problem, or is it a lack of good communication? Another member shared how it took him taking a hard look at himself and realizing it wasn’t his stuttering that was holding him back. Instead, he felt that his overall communication could have been improved. With this awareness, he was able to do just that – show up differently, which helped me land a job!

Although the annual conference had come to an end for those who made it out to Chicago, a common theme seemed to emerge as we went around the room this evening. Several people expressed how grateful they were to be at the group, surrounded by over 30 others who stutter. It is rare to have such a strong support network so close by. Our NYC stuttering community is an exceptional one. Together we are strong.

Announcements:

Bronx Meeting: Check out the newest NYC chapter. They meet up on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

Brooklyn Meeting: The coolest group in town. They keep it real. Their meetings are on the 2nd Monday of every month.

NYC Mock Interview Day at Goldman Sachs: This is a unique opportunity to practice interviewing skills in a stutter-friendly workplace. Registrants will participate in two mock interviews and receive valuable feedback and interview strategies and tips.

Take Stuttering out to the Ballgame!: Join the Queens Chapter of the NSA as we Take Stuttering Out to the Ballgame to see the New York Yankees take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, August 19th at 1:05pm.

NYC Stutters Conference: We’re preparing our 3rd NYC Stutters conference this Fall, most likely on a Sunday in October. We’ll send out a save the date this week as we finalize venues. Stay tuned!

March Meeting Recap

March Meeting Recap

We hope to see you all tonight, Monday, April 16th, for our April Meeting. And for those of you who didn’t make it out last month, here is a recap of our meeting.

We had a turnout of about 30 of us, and as usual, we split into 3 smaller groups to discuss what was on our mind.

One first-timer started out the night by sharing that he recently has had to do a lot public speaking at work. It’s become something habitual and he is able to stutter and get through the presentation without the shame and anxiety that we can so often feel when stuttering. The same first-timer also shared that with all this public speaking, he has become more open and vulnerable at work. Some of us can probably relate to this.

Another topic that was brought up was how we verbalize our experiences. The way we talk about our stuttering story can often be so telling to who we are and where we are in our journey. It is so interesting to look back into different times of our life and compare how we talked about stuttering then, to how we talk about stuttering now.

The talk about our stuttering journey then brought us to discuss the balance of pushing ourselves vs. being self-passionate to ourselves. We ended the group talking about this feeling of camaraderie and comfort we feel when we are around other people who stutter. It really is an unexplainable connection that we all have with one another. But the true task that many of us face is how do we feel this kind of psychological safety in a room full of people who don’t stutter.

Another group talked about how stuttering can sometimes become the sole focus..to a fault. For example, one person shared how he went on a job interview and was so worried about not stuttering and being fluent that he totally forgot to plan and prepare for the interview. He didn’t get the job. He was laughing because now in retrospect, but his point was that stuttering can overtake everything if you let it.

In one of the groups, we decided to do some job interview role-playing. We experimented with how it felt to advertise to our interviewer, and how it felt to not advertise. As many of you know, the job interview is a topic that comes up almost every month, and taking the opportunity to experiment with this can be an effective way for some of our attendees to experiment with the different feelings we may encounter during our job hunt.


Announcements

Women’s Group Recap:
A big thank you to all who attended our inaugural women’s group on Monday, March 5! 12 of us sat together, ate Ruffles and discussed gender, group dynamics, stuttering and more. Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, we hope to host it a few times a year. We also talked about what we want to see more of, one of which is discussions or events that center the different identities, ages, and experiences that make up our community in NYC. Have other ideas for dynamic events in NYC? Email us!
– Roisin, Spring, Chaya, Emma

Improv Group
Our very own Marc Winski will be leading an improv workshop on Sunday, April 29th.
Did your heart just pound a little by reading something that had to do with ‘acting’ or ‘improvisation?’ Have you ever seen Whose Line Is It Anyway? and thought….”Wow, this is hilarious!!”? Come for an afternoon of judgement-free exploration and improvisation. “But Marc, I’m not an actor…” NOT TO WORRY. This is for everyone! This will introduce you to the the freeing benefits of “I don’t give a damn” and the lasting effects it can have on your daily life (including stuttering)! Click here for more details.

When I Stutter: Screen Film
Screening of the award-winning documentary, WHEN I STUTTER, followed by a Q & A with the Director/Co-Writer, John Gomez and Co-Writer, Scott Palasik. WHEN I STUTTER is a documentary that reveals the humanity that exists within an often mysterious malady. Over the course of 4.5 years, 19 people shared stories about how stuttering has impacted their lives. These stories run the gamut of human emotion… Some are dark, some are funny and others are triumphant! Additionally, there are “educational vignettes” interspersed throughout the documentary to help illuminate some of the mysteries surrounding stuttering.

Manhattan Meeting
Tonight! Same time same place. We hope to see you. Click here for the details.