We had 19 people in attendance at our monthly meeting last Tuesday- including one first-timer, Michael and one out-of-town visitor from NYC, Marc Winski.
We started off the evening by introducing ourself and the time we were associated with the Portland chapter. This led to conversations and laughter, which helped to get the flow going.
John, our resident attorney, brought up an interesting topic about the new courthouse and the ADA accommodations and how that would apply to People who stutter (PWS). We brainstormed several of our proposals - definitely something to think about.
We then moved on to discuss the main topic of the day - How the perception of stuttering has shifted during our lifetime and the impact it had on us choosing our professions. Our out of town visitor, Marc, an actor, discussed his life story and the inner-struggles he had to endure when stuttering interfered with his preferred vocation. Other participants talked about their decisions to chose their professions and how not conversing with people was a significant factor in that decision making process. At the end of the day, almost all of us felt that stuttering played a role in our past life but we have to realize that we can’t let it control our lives any longer. This realization comes to people at various stages of our lives and therein lies our own personal journey.
We also discussed couple of books focused on stuttering during our meeting -
1) “Out with it” by Katherine Preston (https://www.amazon.com/Out-Stuttering-Helped-F…/…/145167659X) and
2) "My brother Moochie" by Issac Bailey (https://www.amazon.com/My-Brother-Moochie-Reg…/…/ref=sr_1_1…) .
Marc was part of “What would you do” ABC series and here is his episode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOHFS10q2ms)
Thanks to everyone who came out last night for Nicholas and Becca's farewell BBQ/monthly meeting. The food was delicious and the company was excellent.
Tonight 18 of us gathered at McMenamins for our monthly meeting while having dinner and drinks together. Some of us shared an item, picture, or story of significance in regards to our stuttering journeys. One common theme came out of all of it, and that was gratitude. Whether it was for their stutter, a person, or part of the journey, In some shape or form, gratitude was a part of every person's story. Laughter was also a common theme of the night... so much laughter.
Thank you to everyone who came out to our meeting on Tuesday night. What a great turnout we had! 18 of us all gathered and had a great time where we discussed thoughts regarding disclosure/self-advertising. Here are some member comments:
-"During an ice breaker activity, have your “fun fact” be 'I stutter.' It puts nerves at ease because I'm not trying to hide it."
-"Once I say it out loud, I become more fluent."
-"My name is… and then I stutter on purpose."
-"Disclose before you get emotional about it. It’s harder to be matter of fact if you are already upset."
-"I like public speaking-it’s public stuttering that scares me."
-"I didn’t want people to think I was nervous so I say 'I will stutter-I don’t want you to think I am nervous…'"
-"I wait until others comment or ask."
-"Ever since I started talking about it, I started feeling more empowered, and it helped me open up to others."
-"It would have been better for me if I would have disclosed. I wish I would have brought it up."
-"It’s easier for me to talk about stuttering with people I’m just getting to know. It’s going back to people I’ve had relationships with that is hard."
-"By disclosing you start to erase those covert feelings of shame, fear, and guilt. Being upfront and honest has helped me become more confident."
-"I was really shy and now I’m more of an extrovert. It’s something I do, not who I am."
Here is the link to Frank Howarth's youtube video where he demonstrates a humbling, honest disclosure statement. I highly recommend you read through the comments provided by his viewers. Not only did his video create interest and donations to Camp More, but more importantly, the support, love, and awareness it created for Frank and the stuttering community as a whole, is awe-inspiring. www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlMroyUUMfY
Many Portland Chapter NSA members donated to and/or attended the 3rd annual fundraiser for Camp More, an overnight summer camp for kids and teens who stutter. The evenings was filled with great food, friends, drinks, auction items, inspirational speeches, community, and live music thanks to our very own member, Christopher Shotola-Hardt. Portland is an exciting place to be for kids, teens, and adults who stutter.
This evening, we read a story regarding one of our soon-to-be new members, personal story/reflection and then discussed our own stuttering journeys. Here is his story: www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/inspirational-cornishman-talks-coming-terms-1347502
Wow. Just wow. 32 of us showed up on Friday night for our Winter Social, and it was amazing. It was so great to see such a mix of people. In attendance were a bunch of regulars, group members that haven't been able to make it to our meetings in quite a while, spouses and partners, and even a few brand new faces. Good food, good drinks, even better company. Thank you to everyone who came out to Brix Tavern for a great night of community and socializing!
We ended the year together with a reflective meeting. Together, the 11 of us, shared our “year in review” regarding our stuttering and the use of strategies that have benefitted or challenged us in some way. Several folks shared that in 2017 they have begun to enjoy their stutter - to not be frightened or fearful of it - but to just let the stutter happen. This was dovetailed with motivating stories about being more bold in speaking publicly, advertising stuttering to family members and friends, and moving stuttering down the ladder of self-identity. A challenging strategy of "telling little lies” to avoid stuttering was also shared. This story led to a discussion about the use of covert strategies to avoid stuttering and the reflection that it takes so much energy to NOT stutter. We concluded the meeting discussing our individual focuses for 2018 regarding our stuttering. In the words of our chapter members “enjoy your stutter” and know that you are not alone.
We will kick off 2018 with a social gathering at Brix Tavern on January 19th. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!