Stuttering at the Conference Day 1

Well, today marks the first day of the NSA conference here in the DC. I’ll write way more about each workshop after I get back to Saudi, but in general, here are my thoughts so far.

1. After picking up my packet and checking into my room, I was still asking myself if this was the best idea. I could still walk out on the whole thing and spend a few aimless days in DC. I mean, for someone who stutters, going to a conference where you have to meet people is pretty intimidating.

1a. For those of you who don’t stutter, this is how things go down in my head:

Me: Let’s go to a conference and meet total strangers who stutter!
Self: No.
Me: Let me say it again: EVERYBODY THERE WILL STUTTER.
Self: Here’s what I heard: MEET TOTAL STRANGERS
Me: But they all stutter!
Self: But they’re strangers! I’ll stutter in front of them!
Me: Exactly!

2. Obviously I’m glad I sucked it up and went to the first workshop — for first timers. Still nervous, but Pam got up in front of all of us and put me at ease. She said she was in our shoes before. And felt nervous. But we’d meet people, we’d talk, and it’ll get better.

3. The main focus of the first timers workshop was to meet other first timers. So the hosts didn’t spend a lot of time talking. They let us mingle. This was scary for the first few minutes, but got way easier. In the end, I wished we had even more time.

4. I did introduce myself to the first person who I saw before the first timers conference. So for the first time in many years, I had a conversation with someone else who stutters.

5. I had a chance today to watch this documentary about stuttering. It was like a film about my own life. Damn. Definitely not alone at all.

Anyway, as I said, I’ll have way more on all the above in the weeks to come. For now I’m slowly taking in this conference. I’m hoping to meet more people … it’s only Wednesday today, so there’s plenty of time. Many of the other workshops also force social interaction which is pretty awesome.

Comments

  1. Geraint Isitt says:

    I’ve got to keep my eyes and ears open for these kind of events. I think it would be great to meet people who understand what I go through.

    • It’s … mind-blowing, really. Especially considering I lived in a silo for so many years and only knew one other person who stuttered — but we never talked about it. I know there’s a British Stammering Association conference coming up in August, though.

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