Thank you all for coming out last Monday, on a cold dark wintery evening, which also happened to be our last meeting of 2019! And thank you to Tammy, our executive director of the NSA who came by and dropped off some super delicious holiday treats! One of our members had seven cookies, that’s right seven! But there were plenty to go around. 🙂
Per usual, we started off the group with our opening words, and then intros which are always optional. And we met three first-timers to our group – a special welcome to them for taking a very important step in their stuttering journey! We then split up into two groups, and below is a bit of what we discussed.
In the one group, we talked about the idea of vulnerability and confidence as it pertains to our stuttering. We posed the question of whether confidence helps us be more authentic with how we view our stuttering, or if the act of deciding to be vulnerable in situations is what makes us more authentic. Some of us had slightly different definitions of the two, but we largely agreed that the two are related, and that this issue is far from binary. Many of us are faced with many opportunities throughout the day that test us, and give us the opportunity to be vulnerable. In turn, is it these little situations that can often lead to us being more confident. We also agreed that we don’t consistently have to put ourselves out there, and by not doing so, this doesn’t mean we have failed ourselves.
In the other group, we talked a lot about advertising and what it means to us. Sometimes, advertising can be very powerful and can provide us with a sense of security in our stuttered voices. While other times, our internalized shame can feel too overwhelming and not even advertising can help make us feel safe. We asked questions like do we feel freedom when we advertise. What do we want to feel free from when we advertise? It is always changing. Sometimes, we advertise to feel free from the pressure to be fluent. While other times, we advertise to simply just acknowledge this part of ourselves.
And an upcoming event organized by our very own Kunal! Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Mock Interview Event January 21st from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to work on your interview skills, this event is worth checking out. It’s specifically for people who stutter, and it’s being organized by Kunal, one of our members. Reach out to Kunal to sign up or ask questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating during these next few weeks, and a Happy New Year to All! We look forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks, in 2020!
We hope you all are doing well. We’d like to include an abbreviated summary of our last month’s meeting, and also mention some announcements right below that.
November Meeting Recap We chatted about the mini traumas stuttering inflicts and how skilled therapy supports the process of healing. As many of us know firsthand, speech therapy has come a long way since the days when many of us were told to do all type of bizarre things, in order to be fluent. The group talked about the benefits of today’s therapy where mindfulness, facing fear and social support (therapeutic and otherwise) can provide.
The second groups talked about some very interesting topics. But the thing is, I wasn’t there that night. Of course I reached out to the facilitators of each group, asking them what they talked, but I did that 3 weeks after the meeting. Could they have reached out to me with their recaps? Yes, they could have. Did they? Well, let me put it to you this way. You are reading this. I got back some obscure texts about how group B talked about dating. What am I going to do with that? If you are reading this, and if you read these recaps every month, I promise you, we’ll do a much better job next time around and jot down some notes of what each group talked right after the meeting, while things are fresh in our minds so we can then share with you all.
Holiday Party We’re holding our Holiday Party this Saturday, December 14th, from 7 to about 11 p.m. Friends and family very welcome. It’s at the same location as last year: the Ivy Tower (a high-rise building at 350 West 43rd Street, on 43rd between Eighth and Ninth avenues), in the Ivy Club Room. An NSA member generously provided the space!! Thank you again David!
Feel free to bring any snacks or wine/beer (we’ll have cups and plates), but no pressure — you can come solo, or better yet, bring a plus one. We will have this large space to ourselves for the entire evening, and there is no cost. Instructions upon arriving at building: Tell the doorman or concierge that you are going to the Ivy Club Room for the NSA party, and you’re a guest of David Friedman. You can also text Stavro (570.269.1154) if you need anything upon arriving.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Mock Interview Event January 21st from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to work on your interview skills, this event is worth checking out. It’s specifically for people who stutter, and it’s being organized by Kunal, one of our members. Stay tuned for details or reach out to Kunal to sign up or ask questions: email@example.com
Hope to see you all at the Manhattan meeting this evening – same place and same time. And in case you weren’t there, here is our recap from our October meeting.
One group discussed that insecure feeling when starting a new job and attempting to be social. We discussed feelings of being an impostor in a new field, trying to maintain social standing while “putting yourself out there,” and trying to tackle job responsibilities while trying to show you are capable. Throughout this conversation, the stuttering experience crept in. The feeling of needing to be more, the feeling of not being able or capable to interest others in a conversation, the feeling of being disfluent when meeting new people. In quite a natural way, the conversation shifted to what fluency meant to each of us. Some of us shared our experiences with trying to shape our speaking towards some ideal of fluency, and we ended on how chasing that dragon prevented us from being comfortable in our own skin.
In another group, we also talked about work, specifically about the internationalization of stuttering and how it affects our confidence in the workplace. For too many of us, we are still finding ways to heal our emotional trauma from our youth. Coupled with the strive for perfection and exhaustion in the workplace, it is hard to balance and stay mindful of covert behavior and toxic self-talk. We are constantly interacting with the fluent world, so we spent some time validating our feelings and reactions to stuttering. In the end, we agreed that we can change the way we react to stuttering. We focus on what we gain as people who stutter – honesty, empathy, grit, and so much more. And through some self-compassion, resilience, and time, we let go a little more each time.
And in the last group, we spent most of the evening doing some role playing. During our meetings we often talk about all the benefits of advertising (self-disclosing) but we don’t usually do this during the meetings. So we did just that. We took turns being the person who stutters and being the fluent strangers in the scene. We had patient and not so patient characters, and even an obnoxious ones during the skits. This group was a safe environment where we were able to plan the skit, put ourselves in the position of how it looks and feels like to stutter and advocate, or not advocate, for yourself, and then debrief thereafter. We’ll be doing these role-playing sessions more regularly moving forward.
We’re very excited to announce that on Saturday, December 14th we’ll be having our Holiday Party! It will be held at the same place we had our New Year Get Together last January – at the Resident Lounge of an apartment building called Ivy Tower, at 350 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan. Many thanks to our good friend David Friedman for securing this lovely, large space for us! Tell the doorman or concierge you are going to the Ivy Club Room or to the NSA party or that you’re a guest of David Friedman. We’ll send out more details about this event as the date nears.
We had a wonderful September meeting last month, with around 18 people who stutter, along with three first timers, and one SLP student. We shared laughs, stories, and connections. We opened up about the troubles we are having with our jobs and how it relates to our identity and perception of self-worth. We talked about advertising and fleshed through different scenarios and, of course, the emotions involved. We laughed about the tactics we used to do to avoid stuttering.
We always enjoy connecting on this shared experience and relating to one each other in a way that most people can not. It really is something special, and we already can’t wait until our next meeting!
Next meeting: Monday, October 21st, 2019
Time: 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Address: 520 Eighth Avenue, (between 36th and 37th Streets), New York, NY 10018
Venue: 3rd Floor, A.R.T./New York
Tell security in the lobby you are going to the 3rd floor, or to A.R.T./New York. They will look at your ID and take a picture. Take the elevators on the left to the 3rd floor, where you will find a whiteboard saying which room our meeting will be in.
Afternoon at the Beer Garden this Sunday!
Plans this weekend? For the third (or fourth?) year in a row, we’re having a fall get-together at Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria. It has a big backyard and lots of pretzels and beer (and fried cheese). Family and friends are welcome! See you there!
29-19 24th Avenue Astoria, New York 11102, off the N and W trains at Ditmars Boulevard. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Text 484-356-6154 if you need to get in touch that day.
We had a
wonderful meeting this August! It was a small and vibrant group filled with
great ideas and conversation. As usual, we split into three groups. Here are
some of the conversations had and topics discussed:
spoke about self-advertising and how and why it might differ when it’s
voluntary vs involuntary. For example, introducing yourself as a person who
stutters might be easier than “admitting” you are a person who stutters after a
prolonged block or a tough dysfluency. The implications of hiding one’s true
self was explored, and we discussed strategies to try voluntary advertising,
such as working on a script for what to say when advertising.
A second group discussed
topics related to stuttering in the workplace. A few members spoke about
frustration and anxiety regarding unemployment and the interview process. Some
members shared strategies that were helpful to them during their job search
such as advertising their stuttering during job interviews, voluntary
stuttering to get stuttering “out in the open,” seeking out volunteer
opportunities to get experience in their field of choice, as well as
attending NSA mock interviews! Additionally, many ideas
were shared on how to successfully navigate stuttering in the workplace,
including speaking to an immediate boss, speaking to Human Resources,
independently advertising, and creating allies at work. Most importantly, our members learned that they were not alone
with these employment struggles and were able to bounce off ideas and candidly
share their thoughts with the rest of the group.
introduced at the meeting was celebrating personal successes. One member
expressed that he began challenging himself to enter more speaking situations
and wants to celebrate his successes, no mater how minor they may seem to
others. However, he shared that he felt uncomfortable embracing these positive
moments of communication because these interactions do not need to be
celebrated by people who don’t stutter because they usually come easily to them.
This led into a heated discussion about the importance of celebrating personal
successes and not comparing ourselves to others- whether that means other PWS
or fluent individuals. We also discussed how even people who don’t stutter have
their own struggles and everyone has a right to praise and reward themselves
for stepping out of their comfort zones and doing things that are challenging.
Our overall sentiment was that our self-perception should not be based on their
opinions of others and self-love is vital when challenging oneself to
tackle feared communication situations.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.