Make Room For The Stuttering

Facing The Monster – Episode 44

Posted on: February 1, 2011

Episode 44 features Anna Margolina, who hails from Redmond, Washington, by way of Russia. Curiousity compelled me to find Anna and “hear” her story. Let me explain!

I found the January 2011 issue of  Toastmasters Magazine in my mailbox two weeks ago. The  headline “From Stuttering to Public Speaking” on the cover grabbed my attention immediately. I flipped open to the article and saw five people profiled.

They were all successful Toastmasters who also happen to stutter. Four of the five profiles were men, one of which I know – Russ Hicks  from Dallas, Texas. That was pretty cool, but I didn’t want to know more about Russ (sorry, friend). I wanted to know about Anna!

I was drawn to “her” story, because women who stutter are practically invisible in media, and here she was a Toastmaster and featured in a magazine. There was no personal contact information provided for Anna, but her Toastmaster club name and city was noted. I knew that was enough for me to find her!

I found her club on the Toastmaster International website and sent an email to the club contact. I asked if they would forward a message along to Anna. They did, Anna responded, and we connected. Anna was happy to share her story and voila, here we are.

Listen in as we chat about acceptance, negative self-talk, and positive change. Anna demonstrates “blocking” and how voluntary stuttering helped her face her monster. We also discuss Toastmasters, of course, John Harrison on Redefining Stuttering and Neurolinguistic Programming.

This episode is an absolute treasure trove. We dive into everything. This is the link to the article on “From Stuttering to Public Speaking” which only scratched the surface and fueled my fire to “meet” her and hear her story.

Anna also happily shares a video of one of her speeches on stuttering. You have to see this! She’s great!

17 Responses to "Facing The Monster – Episode 44"

This was a great interview and I appreciate both of you for your willingness to take the time to share your experiences. It was very interesting to hear Anna re-inact her old way of speaking and to hear how much improvement she has made and how much she is enjoying her easier verbal communication. I also like the Russian accent, and had no trouble understanding any of her words and grammar was excellent too! Thanks, Sharon (mother of stuttering young adult who is in denial!)

Thanks for stopping by to listen and share your thoughts. It must be very frustrating for you to experience your child’s stuttering through his or her denial. Everybody who stutters deals with it completely differently, thats why it is such a complex speech disorder. It obviously affects so much more than what comes out of our mouths.
I hope you will tune into to some other episodes as well. I have chatted with several young people; check out episodes 27 and 30. One features a high school senior, the other, she is in college. Very different journeys, very different stuttering, but that is what is so great about podcasts. You get to hear and learn from so many different people with different perspectives on what has helped them most.
I know this can’t be easy for you, as a parent. Sometimes, a person who stutters needs just the right “aha” moment before they are ready to change, or disclose, or share their feelings. Thats what it was like for me, after many years of denial and thinking I was keeping my stutter hidden. I wasn’t – the only one I was fooling was me!

I was very pleased that my grammar wasn’t as bad as I imagined it during the interview. We, people who stutter, have a habit of constantly monitor our spech, always trying to evaluate yourself as we speak. At many points of the interview I got really stressed when I realized I cannot express my thought in good English and was imagining that I was saying a totall rubbish which nobody would understand. But most of the interview with a few exceptions was not that bad:) Thank you,

Told ya! Anytime someone expresses themselves with passion and authenticity, it is perfect as is. And your spirit shined through! Don’t put a disclaimer in there – “with a few exceptions” – that is silly. Everyone can understand when someone speaks from the heart. We don’t hear the “imperfect English or grammar” as you think – we hear your whole-hearted message.

Thank you for sharing your story! You really found your voice and your enthusiasm is contagious. I am excited to share your story with my clients. Thank you so much for your honesty!

Stephie Hirsh

Thank you again for continuing to share all of these stories!!! You are changing many lives. – Stephie

I am a doctor and a former stutterer who also experienced the feelings that stuttering was a demon and monster. I stopped stuttering after in my late 40’s, and now I use the same treatment to help others eliminate their stuttering without speech or drug therapy.

Anna, that was a brilliant interview. You’re doing so much to demystify stuttering as well as changing lives by showing what’s possible.

And the same comments apply to you, Pamela. What a great concept for a website. Many kudos. It’s beautifully done.

Thank you John. Pleasure to hear you listened. I thought it was about time we offer a space for women to share, and look whats come of it. Amazing, inspirational stories of what we can do. I heard you speak several years ago at a NSA conference (don’t recall which year – I have only been attending since 06). I bought your book and learned a bit. I too think Toastmasters has done me a world of good.
Please keep listening and refer on to others you think might benefit from other women feeling the same issues.

Hi, John,
Good to hear from you. Pam put me in a tough spot when I had to summarize what I learned from your book in a few words. This was one of the moments when I was afraid I am talking complete nonsense and messing up with my grammar. I felt such responsibility to present your concept correctly and felt that I was failing in that. But when I listened to the interview – it wasn’t THAT bad as I imagined. Well, at least I hope it wasn’t:)

I enjoined very much from the podcast.
It’s amazing how Anna discover the concept of “not trying stop the stuttering”,that is one of the major concepts of
Stuttering Modification.
I also discover that any fluency tool,wont help me until i knew what to do when i stutter.
Also i amazed how severe stutterers have the courage to left their country and to deal with new life and new language,that is difficult to everybody and especially for stutterers.

Ari, when I left my country I didn’t have so much problems with my stuttering, because of tremendous amount of therapy I had, which in Russia included some psychological help – increase of self-esteem, assertiveness training etc. I stuttered, but I kind of got used to it. I fell apart here in the US, when people couldn’t understand me because of my accent combined with stuttering. This is why I had no problems believing that stuttering is not only speech problem and that the severity of stuttering can be affected by our fears and worries. Because I experienced it myself.

Wendell Johnson said that “stuttering is what you do in order not to stutter”
I think that although the core problem of stuttering(that we don’t know what it is),almost all we see and hear in stuttering is reaction to stuttering.
So you are right that stuttering is not just speech disorder , the most part is the reaction to this disorder.
Thanks again Anna.

Ari, Wendell Johnson’s book “People in Quandaries” was a revealation for me. I know that now the current view is that he was wrong, but I got so much from it. I think his book is brilliant, although of course the real nature of stuttering now is proven to be much more complicated. But from my own experience I know that when I eliminated the fear and anxiety and my dependance on the others’ reaction, my stuttering was reduced drastically.

I think that although stuttering is not only behaviour problem, experts that believe in the philosophy of
Stuttering Modification,believe that the reaction to stuttering is what cause the tension and the struggle.
So for me the core problem don’t interest me but changing my reaction to it.

[…] Comment! Today’s post is inspired by new friend Anna, who was featured in the January 2011 edition of the Toastmaster magazine. She was also a featured guest on “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories”, in Facing The Monster – Episode 44. […]

[…] promised, Anna shares her reflections on two more workshops she attended. It’s a good thing my volunteer […]

[…] Although it was a shared experience, it impacted each woman differently. Listen in as I chat with Anna Margolina, Nina Zito and Sarah Bryant. We talk a little bit about a lot of things, but mainly how it feels to […]

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