Here is a recap of our January meeting for those of you who weren’t around. We’re also meeting this upcoming Monday (President’s Day) for our February meeting (details below).
Per usual, we split into three groups. One group discussed the familiar plethora of emotions stuttering can bring while it’s happens. Some of these emotions run very deep, and may be riddled with shame or disappointment from our past. But perhaps they don’t have to impact us so much today. One member who had given a presentation in front of 100 people wanted to avoid a replay of a previous situation where she was laughed at when she stuttered. In that situation she genuinely believed the laughter wasn’t malicious, but a confused response from her audience. Would it be different this time if she disclosed? Several group members weighed in on their thoughts and shared their experiences of disclosing, which usually turned out to be very good.
One of the groups discussed how physically exhausting blocks can be, both during and after the block. We also talked about all the negative feelings we have about all this, and what we can do to manage these feelings. This led to a conversation about control, an interesting topic, that in one way or another, often makes its way into these meetings. But how useful is control when talking about our stuttering? One member expressed for him, playing with his stuttering, with people he felt very comfortable with, and making it more intense, to know what it feels like to have control, can psychologically be one way to regain a bit of control when it comes to the level of his fluency, or the severity of a block.
In another group, one topic that came up was social media and how stuttering is often portrayed in certain platforms. One member expressed how the way stuttering is portrayed on Twitter, often in a ridiculing manner, may be indicative of how society still views stuttering. But is this so? One member felt that this was just selection bias, and this cannot be an accurate representation of what the general public feels. For instance, it is unclear what the demographic is of people who make fun of stuttering online, and almost certainly many of these people are ignorant buffoons. Also, the other 95% (just made this number up) of people who are respectful while interacting with a person who stutters, most likely don’t go on social media and boast how amazing they were for not laughing at someone’s face. It was an interesting discussion.
February Meeting Reminder
Come join us this coming Monday on February 18th for our NSA Manhattan meeting! Can’t wait to see you there.
• DATE: Monday, February 18
• 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.
Hello NYC Crew,
On Monday May 22nd, we met for our May meeting, and per usual we had some interesting conversations. It was the second meeting out our new location at 520 Eighth Avenue, and it looks like we’ll be meeting here going forward. 25 people of us came out, with two first timers – welcome Chris and Jaymie. We split up into three groups, and here are some topics that people brought up:
1. Stuttering is hard and we know it, but what are some of the positive things?
Our vulnerability and authenticity give us the ability to connect and empathize with others.
– We become resilient and relentless in the things we pursue.
– We can break down communication and pick up on social cues.
– Because stuttering is so isolated in the world, when we come together it brings about a feeling of connectedness like no other.
2. What causes stuttering? Habit? Genetics?
– One member asked how we all started stuttering. He believes that he was imitating his neighbor’s stutter and eventually “caught” stuttering.
– Hector seemed to debunk this and went on about stuttering research and the enigma of genetics.
3. Speech therapy and why we go to speech therapy?
– We had one member really interested in speech therapy, so we went around the room sharing our experiences with it and what it meant to us.
– Many of us seemed to agree that speech therapy provided support in our lives and can add to a sense of relief when going through a rough patch of stuttering.
You may be thinking to yourself, ‘cool, these are some pretty good topics.’ You may also be thinking to yourself, ‘why am I getting this recap almost a month after the meeting?’ That’s a really good question, and we don’t have a really good answer, but we’ll get it out to you a bit sooner next time around, we promise
NYC Stutters Conference
But it has been a busy month for many of us here on the volunteer front. Almost a week after the NSA Manhattan May meeting, we had our second annual NYC Stutters Conference: A One Day Conference By and For People Who Stutter. It was a special day for our community here in NYC, and we had an amazing turn out of over 70 adults who stutter. Coming together made many of us realize how important it is for people who stutter to come together, and ask some of the significant questions about who we are.
On a similar note, 8 hours of coming together are not enough, so let’s have some social outings! And other events that you may be interested in. Please reach out with your ideas, or better yet, go to our fairly new Facebook Group here, and start the conversation.
A little reminder that we will be meeting this upcoming Monday. We’ll talk about our most recent NYC Stutters conference, the warmer summer weather, and anything that’s on your mind! We hope you can make it!
• Date: Monday, June 19th
• Time: 7:30–9pm
• Location: 520 Eighth Avenue, between 36th and 37th Streets
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. On the 3rd floor, follow the signs to Studio B.
Social Outing today: Friday, June 16th
This is a bit last minute, but our friends at AIS will be having an outing this evening and you are invited. They will be meeting at the Rubin Museum of Art for Happy Hour (google search “rubin museum happy hour”) at 6pm. Address: 150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011 Also, they will be doing an Escape the Room activity nearby after that, and there are still a few spots open, so reach out to Noura @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested ASAP! This will be a lot of fun, so if you don’t have any plans at this time, go!
Thank you everyone for joining us on Monday night. 24 of us came out: 21 PWS, 4 first-timers, an SLP, a student, and a supportive sister. A very special welcome to the brave first-timers who came out! We introduced ourselves, split into two groups, and here is some of what was discussed:
One member talked about a recent career choice he decided to take, partially due to the stress caused by stuttering. He is now his own boss, and the money is still coming in as before, which is cool. His stress level is much lower, but he is still a bit conflicted. It is tough sometimes to weigh the mentality of I should persevere even though stuttering sometimes makes a situation stressful, vs. I should take myself out of this stressful situation.
One member who is finishing college and thinking about careers said that she is focusing on fluency, and is not afraid to tell people that. We often talk about acceptance in our group and stuttering it out, but everyone in the room agreed that approaching stuttering is a very individual thing, and you are the one who gets to decide what you want out of speech therapy/support at any given time.
The idea of accepting your stuttering did come up in the one group, and the challenging transition of getting to this mindset. This is a unique path for everyone, and there is no one right end goal either. One member who spent much of his life being covert felt that for him getting to a better place happened with a combination of: some speech therapy that dealt with acceptance, generally allowing yourself to stutter, seeing other successful people who stutter in our community…and picking their brains, staying resilient, and attending an NSA annual conference which will blow you away with inspiration!
A brave first-timer mentioned that she had never met a person who stuttered before tonight, and she talked about how challenging it is for her to talk in general, in social situations as well. She mentioned that it has been challenging at times to make new friends. Tonight she was reminded that we are now all her friends!
At the end of the night we headed across the street for a drink, some of us stayed a bit longer, had an extra drink, and further bonded during our post-NSA meeting outing on this beautiful summer Monday night.
NSA Annual Conference
The 32nd annual conference is taking place during July 4th week. Click here to find out more information and to sign up. This is really a special event, and if you’re on the fence about going, please reach out to us for questions. There are probably over 30 of us heading down from the NYC area (probably much more), so come, you will not be alone. And once we get down there, there will be another 1,000 PWS waiting for us!
– Michael & Stavro | www.nycstutters.org
Why a photo of this juniper berry branch? Read on if you’re curious. Or even if you’re not really curious, read on.
Last night was another amazing group, with 25 people joining us including 4 very brave firs-timers – Radhakrishna, Peter, Chris and Jose – welcome to the group and we look very forward to getting to know you.
We split the group into two, and here are some of the topics discussed:
One very intelligent and career driven member talked about his morning stand-ups at work, and how he catches himself scanning ahead way too often in anticipation of a stuttering moment. He knows the content very well, but his thoughts often escape him as the focus relies on fluency. Most of us can surely relate to this.
The topic of pausing when speaking came up, the challenge of doing so, and generally being able to control your tempo, specifically during public speaking. Many of us agreed that stuttering or not, an effective speaker is a mindful speaker, one who is present, one whose focus is on the now. Or one who prepares a shit-ton in advance.
There really isn’t a good time to get out
The idea of facing our fear came up, as it usually does, and how there really isn’t a good time to put yourself out there – sometimes we just have to get out on the playing field. Just Do It – this is our new innovative slogan we came up with it last night. This mindset can only help us grow, desensitize, become resilient and help us find our voice – our own voice that must be heard. Together we can help each other.
Most of us went across the street to our new hangout place and some of us even educated the friendly staff on the topic of stuttering. The name of the place – Juniper, just like the coniferous plant from the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae.
Hope to see you all at our NYC Stutters Spring Outing on Sunday May 3rd. All the NYC chapters are getting together at Central Park for some drinks, snacks and some great company. RSVP if you haven’t already!
Enjoy the beautiful day everyone.
– Stavro | www.nycstutters.org
As always, our Monday night meeting was a great one. There were 20 of us in attendance, 2 SLPs, 17 people who stutter, one very supportive boyfriend – and 4 first-timers – a very special welcome to James, Sean, Peter and Liz for joining us!
This meeting reminded us of the importance of support and what the National Stuttering Association represents – we welcome all those who stutters, regardless of your speech goals, and also that we are not alone in our journey.
We split the group into two, to keep things a bit more intimate.
We discussed the important weapon of resilience we sometimes forget we have in our arsenal. A member talked about how he had a phone call for a job application he had submitted not go as planned, as the person on the other line kept things very short and basically hung up on him. There is sometimes a benefit in analyzing and processing a situation, maybe learn from it, but sometimes it may be even more important to pick yourself up from a tough situation, and keep moving forward.
One member talked about how staying present when he’s about to talk to one of his clients on the phone helps to keep those mental demons away, and therefore struggle less while speaking. Most of us can relate to this, since stuttering is linked so closely to our emotional state. Similarly, for some of us it takes a bit of voluntary stuttering to get in that mindset, or just putting ourselves out there a bit more when we begin to get too comfortable. We’re talking about stuttering here, but this applies to most things in life if you’re into the whole personal growth thing.
One member talked about how his passion on a certain topic usually overrides most concerns related to how his stuttering will impact his speaking. This is an insightful perspective since many of us often place more attention on how we are going to say something rather what we are going to say.
As one of the co-leaders of our group, I don’t get to sit in on both groups, but I had the chance to talk to one of the first timers before the meeting, who was sitting in the other group. His message was a very important one, perhaps the most important for many of us. He encouraged the group to not only speak up, but to also remember to stand up for yourself – whether someone is confused and thinks it’s okay to laugh, or you get cut you off…or whatever the case may be.
As always, it was an honor to be able to help in making Monday night happen. Hope to see you all very soon, and if you haven’t yet, please go ahead and LIKE our brand new NY Chapters Face Book page. We are planning some exciting outings for the Spring, so connect with us to stay in the loop!