Stuttering at the Conference Day 2

Alright, so another great day at the NSA conference. As I said yesterday, I’ll post a few highlights this week and then expand on them in the weeks to come.

1. At the end of the day, I’m pretty tired mentally. I’m spending all day thinking and talking about stuttering. I’m stuttering a lot, and that’s ok. But meeting people is exhausting because well, I’m not used to doing it, and I stutter like crazy when I talk to strangers. So I have to keep “moving on” from the stutter in the conversation. I can’t let a lousy introduction get me down — the listener doesn’t care — they stutter too!

2. I went to a workshop on bilingual stuttering. As in, people who speak foreign languages who stutter. This went ahead and blew my mind because one of the moderators said she speaks a foreign language for work. And she stutters. When I think about my top like, five fears in life, that’s right up there. And here she was, stuttering and speaking in a foreign language and getting paid for it. Damn!

3. As part of the same workshop, she said how we deserve to speak a foreign language. I never really thought about it like this. As in, yes, I do stutter, yes, it’s going to be rough when I speak a foreign language, but hey, the listener can be patient, and I can enjoy speaking to them in their native tongue. I have been afraid of speaking Arabic for a long time, but this may change my mind a bit … slowly but surely. I don’t have to be perfect with everything I say in a foreign language.

4. I did an open mic workshop. It’s a simple concept. People in the room take turns standing up in front of everybody and talking. No prepared material, no specific topic, no order of appearance. So to recap: SPEAKING IN FRONT OF STRANGERS. I did end up volunteering, and I did end up talking. I said what I wanted to say (no real time to prepare or practice anything) and stuttered all the way through it. But you know what? So what. I stutter, so these things happen.

5. I’m also meeting more people slowly. I definitely didn’t have any quota in mind before I came here. But it’s nice just being able to go up to someone, stutter like crazy to introduce myself and then be able to chit-chat for a while. I’ve talked to people who stutter, parents of people who stutter and speech language pathologists.

There’s so much more that happened, but that’s a good roundup for now.

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