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!
Wow! What an incredible turnout. 20 of us showed up this evening to discuss the following:
"What I wish this person knew about stuttering." The basis of this topic was inspired by International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) which occurred on October 22nd (as it does every year).
Members were asked to consider:
Regular Contact Person- Recently, an anonymous acquaintance, and person who stutters, shared with me that they really don't like it when their mother speaks for them whenever they are out together. They have never had the heart to tell her in fear of making her feel bad, since she does have good intentions.
Potential Contact Person- Some of you may remember Natalie Vanderpol (now Griffin) from the group-Natalie is a person who stutters (and Speech Language Pathologist). She shared with me (and granted me permission to share with you) a story about her experience with a flight attendant from just a couple of weeks ago. The flight attendant was taking the usual beverage orders in the aisle from row to row, as they always do. Natalie wanted to order a ginger ale, but when it came to being her turn, she had a block and could not get the word out fast enough for this flight attendant. The flight attendant decided just to move on and take the next person's order.
For both of these examples, there are things that could be said and done, although very difficult to do, right? One is definitely more sensitive than the other, but they are equally important for different reasons. We will be explored reasons and possible solutions/responses to situations while writing cards with the sentiment or statement we "wished that person knew about stuttering." After writing the thoughtful notes, members engaged their creative side by designing a cover to their card which somehow represented themselves as a person who stutters, or their stuttering journey as a whole. What the member does with their card is completely up to them. Maybe the actually give the card to the person they had in mind; maybe they don't; maybe they keep it in their car for "just in case." Whatever ends up being done with their card, the message was put out into the universe and a release of thoughts was employed. That in and of itself, is power.
It's been a while since we have posted a new blog, but in honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD), it is only fitting we write one today. Our group has been having some momentous monthly meetings lately. There have been readings, movie clips, and even a cartoon shared-all involving stuttering and being led by our fabulous group members (if interested in the cartoon, here is the link to the episode of Arthur that we all watched together: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTBoa26Ot2M). For some reason, this year ISAD feels different. A bit more special perhaps? Maybe that is because the Northwest is blooming with resources, support, activities, networking, and events happening for people who stutter. It reminds me of this video clip of flowers, well...blooming: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW_AsV7k42o If you haven't ever been to one of our group meetings, and you are a person who stutters, or, if you just haven't been in a while, maybe come check us out. You will feel what I'm talking about.
Authenticity was the topic tonight. How does one live authentically with a stutter? There is often a hard line to understand when talking about authenticity and stuttering, and there is a common battle with choosing a side of fluency to be on. Am I being authentic if I only choose to use speech tools and strive to be fluent? Am I being authentic only if I let myself stutter openly at all times? Must I pick a side, or may I live on both sides of that line? Having a black and white approach to thinking about authenticity may not be for the best. The truth is that there is no one way to be authentic as a person who stutters. There is not right or wrong way to be a person who stutters. Living authentically is a personal journey which looks differently to every individual, regardless of stuttering or not. This was what we discussed this evening, after watching a couple of videos and sharing a short reading. We had a smaller group than we've had in a while, with just 9 of us, but it led to an honest, intimate discussion of this interesting topic.
Holy Cow! What another awesome meeting with 18 of us in attendance. We had a couple of new faces, our recent "regular" group, and we were so excited and blessed to have Michael and Ian join us again after a long while. They always contribute such deeply insightful thoughts, and share their personal stories in an inspiring, authentic-to-the-core, way (as do all of our members). Tonight we listened to a part of a StutterTalk podcast about being present in the moment of stuttering, authenticity, and stuttering openly, and what that all means to each of us. Next month, we will be continuing the conversation regarding authenticity, watching a couple of short speeches by inspiring young woman who stutter, and we will have a reading addressing this topic that will be sure to spark a meaningful discussion.
What an incredible time of socializing, eating, drinking, and friendship. 18 of us met up at the Yard House for dinner, and besides a snafu with the reservations, we had a great time. Some members brought their partners or significant others, and that was a welcomed addition to the group. It was so wonderful to have so many of us together outside of our structured, support group meetings and out in the "real world." We can't wait until our Spring get together!
We had 16 people in attendance this evening and as usual, we had great conversation. After introductions we watched an Indian ad featuring a comedian who stutters. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1whG-9BjsQ
We also watched a video featuring comedian, Drew Lynch talk candidly about the often heard, "You're improving...you're stuttering is improving." Here is the link to the raw, yet funny video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss2qUROQcbo
Lastly, a testimony received from the African Stuttering Centre in Rwanda was received speaking about a boy who stuttered, who previously dropped out of school because of his stuttering. The African Stuttering Centre were luckily able to intervene in helping him gain more confidence in himself, so he went back to school and now hopes to become a police officer. A pen-pal sort of system is in the works of starting up between the Portland NSA and the African Stuttering Centre.
We also spoke about our first upcoming, quarterly social event. A survey with preferences is to go out, and the results are to be compiled in order to plan an event that works for the majority.
Both our November and December meetings exceeded expectations for attendance! On November 29th, we had 15 members present and a natural flow of conversation with no set or planned topics of conversation-there was never a dull moment or time when someone didn't have something to say. We are so, very grateful for this group-what a perfect evening for this group to have in the month of giving thanks.
Even though our December meeting was just 2 days after Christmas, we had 12 members attend. The theme for the evening was "Out with the old and in with the new." Members who wanted to, shared their plans for the new year and/or what they were hoping to let go of (or both). Leftover holiday treats were also brought in to be shared with the group, and everyone loves snacks, so this was a perfect accompaniment for our conversation.
We are looking forward to seeing a big group in January, to kick off the new year!