Make Room For The Stuttering

This Much I Know Is True

Posted on: July 14, 2009

I am still feeling as though I am on cloud nine from this weekend spent in the desert with so many people who stutter and people who care about the stuttering experience. I will surely  have several different blog posts this week, to describe workshops I attended and to share some of the specific experiences that moved me.

But today, I want to just discuss and explore the feelings associated with being at a stuttering conference and then coming home. I was anxious this year heading to the conference. No one else from my home chapter was able to go. I had always hung out with my group and felt safe. This time, I would be on my own to meet and greet. In a way, this turned out to be my best experience yet at a stuttering conference. I felt especially free this weekend, to meet new people and really spend a lot of time getting to know people.

Funny things happened. People came up to me, wanting to meet me. People who have seen me on Facebook, or YouTube told me they felt they already knew me and looked forward to doing it in person. This felt really good. I spent a lot of time doing this. Several people told me I come off just as I seem – warm, comfortable, approachable. Years ago, I would have been embarrassed by this. This time, I just took it in and allowed myself to feel how good it felt. I smiled a lot, hugged a lot, and felt my heart stirring with warmth ( not just the desert heat!) 

I am going to share 3 specific “best moments” from the conference today, but already have the ideas in my head for several other conference specific posts for later in the week. I had such a full experience, from the moment I arrived, and really want to share it all. My heart and mind were both open for this experience, more so than for the first three conferences I attended.

Thursday night’s Opening Ceremony set the tone for what would prove to be a very special weekend. One of the best moments for me came as a shock and surprise. My name was called to join a presenter up on the stage. I had no idea, but learned I was being presented with the award for “2009 Volunteer of the Year”. My NSA Chapter members wrote up a beautiful speech and Diane Games read the heartfelt words. My hands started shaking, I got a huge lump in my throat, and the tears came. I was so honored and moved, and felt such an amazing warmth, as I was recognized by my friends from home who could not be at the conference. I was asked to say something, and could not. I think my tears of joy said it best. I felt warm and loved and blessed and held and at peace in that moment, which continued on as I hugged friends who congratulated me, which kept the waterfalls going.

Another “best moment” was actually best hours. I mentioned that I took time to meet new people and really talk and get to know folks. I had an absolutely wonderful time getting to know a new friend, Ammar. He is a warm and caring person, and someone with whom I felt very comfortable. We talked and talked and talked for hours, losing track of time and others. My heart was very open and I found myself sharing parts of me with Ammar that I usually keep pretty guarded.  We shared our stuttering, laughter, serious moments, worries and fears. Ammar shared with me that I am very approachable and break the ice so easily with people. He also said he finds my stuttering attractive, as it is smooth and relaxed, and that even with blocks, I appear able to easily maneuver out of them. This was the third time I have heard this in about six months.  It really did make my heart spill over with a warm sense of self.

I also felt so comfortable stuttering with many different people, and noticed that others noticeably loosened up and stuttered freely with me as well. I felt my openness and willingness to share that part of me helped impact others in a positive way. Some people who have been very covert shed some of that over the weekend and used the words “liberated” and “empowered”. I was deeply moved and touched by this. I honestly felt I was making a difference and allowed the warm feelings to pulse through me, instead of feeling embarrassed and pushing the feelings away.

Another “best moment” was when I stopped and spoke with Gary, a SLP from Oregon. He approached me, and said he’d been looking for me since the first day. He told me he read an article I wrote, which was published in several places, my blog and the Friends newsletter. It’s the article on “Things I Look For In Therapy.” Gary told me how he read it and found it to be one of the best pieces he has seen on stuttering. I was overwhelmed. He said he used “MY” article for his graduate class and included it as a question on his final exam. How cool is that? I was truly overwhelmed to think that something I wrote quite some time ago has had that far of a reach, and I didn’t even know it. It made me feel proud and happy and warm, and I felt the tingling warmth in my heart again. My heart was brimming over for most of the weekend.

This was a powerfully affirming experience for me. I am reminded of  how far I have come and why it is so important for me to share with others. It is a healing journey, filled with ups and down, twists and turns. My tears this weekend were cathartic and cleansing. My authentic self rose to the top this weekend. I hope you got a sense of just how special and loving this was for me. I felt part of such a wondrous community. This much I know is really true.

I look forward to sharing more later this week.

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1 Response to "This Much I Know Is True"

what can i say ,except absolutely inspiring and theres still more to come…can’t wait ,just reading about your influence makes me feel just that little more accepting about my speech !!

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