July Recap | Women’s Group, August 14

July Recap | Women’s Group, August 14

For our monthly July meeting, we had around 18 people who stutter join us. We started the night off with opening words and introductions, then split into 3 smaller intimate groups to further connect with one another.

In one of the the groups, we had an interesting conversation about the language that we use when talking about our stuttering, and how it effects our lives. A few of us expressed that it was important to make a distinction with what many people who stutter feel ‘holds us back’ – is it the actual act of stuttering that occurs throughout the day that can hold us back, or is it the avoidance that can come with being a person who stutters, and the opportunities we can avoid from that. It can be both, but we agreed that making this distinction is something that isn’t so apparent to many people who stutter, especially some people who first join the community. And these two subsets can be broken down further, and they often are during our conversations, as we process and make sense of what is real and what isn’t. 

In another group, we discussed some of the possible advantages and disadvantages of pursuing fluency in speech therapy. And we discussed the life-changing shift that some of us have experienced from asking ourselves the question, “Is stuttering something I can just live with?” and then surprising ourselves by answering “maybe”, and then “yes”.  This shift in mentality can be very powerful, but many of us also agree that sharing this shift in mentality with a room full of people who understand may sometimes be even more powerful. Members shared that it is that feeling that makes our group so special.


Announcements

Women’s Group
We’re hosting another women’s group on Wednesday, August 14 at our regular Manhattan meeting space – 520 Eighth Avenue. All women are welcome! For any questions, please feel free to email us at manhattanstutters@gmail.com. N

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. 

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.

March Recap

March Recap

We welcomed in Spring with a joyful, connecting and heart-warming meeting. We were fortunate to have 3 newcomers join us, and with them a variety of new ideas, experiences, and smiles. With oh-so-many topics covered, here’s a quick summary of the most thought provoking topics of the night:

The Power of Education

One member started the night off by sharing a recent experience he had participating at a panel for SLP students. He shared the empowerment he felt and we all agreed that educating SLP’s feels so important not only for us but for other stutterers.

Anxiety and Stuttering

We talked about the role that anxiety plays with our stuttering. While anxiety does not cause stuttering, it certainly can bring more attention to it. It also does not help when people are not educated about stuttering and believe that anxiety is all there is to stuttering.

Media bias

The topic of media bias was discussed with mix of frustration and curiosity. “How is it that in 2019 stuttering is still not adequately portrayed in the mainstream media?” Though disappointed, positivity was expressed with the increased ability to spread awareness using the many available social media platforms.

Finding a Community

One of the new members of the group shared how his recent struggle with his stuttering has begun to affect his life, which in turn is what led him to find our group. This particular evening was another comforting reminder of how people who stutter can instantly relate to another person who stutters, and feel right away at home.

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April Meeting Reminder

Come join us this coming Monday on April 15th for our NSA Manhattan meeting! Can’t wait to see you there.

• DATE: Monday, April 15
• 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.

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

January Meeting Recap

January Meeting Recap

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.