November Meeting Reminder

November Meeting Reminder

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. 

Holiday Party

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. 

September Recap & Afternoon at the Beer Garden this Sunday!

September Recap & Afternoon at the Beer Garden this Sunday!

September Recap

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 meetingMonday, 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. 

August Recap

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:

One group 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. 

Another topic 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. 

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.