Reentry Can Be Hard
Posted July 16, 2013on:
Last week was the annual NSA conference held in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a wonderful week, filled with talking, stuttering, workshops, stuttering, socializing, stuttering, and keynote speakers who stuttered.
For me it was a great chance to recharge, spend quality time with good friends and revisit my relationship with my stuttering in a healthy way.
During the year, I don’t always engage with my stuttering like I do when attending a conference with hundreds of other people who also stutter. At the annual conference, I allow myself the time to think about my stuttering, talk about it with others, both the good parts and not so good parts, and I allow myself to stutter freely.
That is one of the strongest benefits of attending a 3 or 4 day conference about stuttering. We are free to stutter openly, free of techniques if we wish. With that freedom to stutter openly also is the freedom from judgment and fear that many of us feel during “everyday life.”
After returning home from the conference, I felt like I was on “cloud nine.” I still felt the energy of the support and camaraderie from the people at the conference, and the acceptance that is fostered at such an event. I watched all of the Facebook posts from friends who were posting that they were feeling the same way.
I messaged and texted a few friends and we “debriefed” a bit and talked about the recharge and energy we felt.
And we also talked about how the reentry was. Reentry back to the “fluent world,” and the world where stuttering is the minority once again, can feel like a huge letdown. All of a sudden we’re back to reality and the “high” of the conference has dissolved and we’re back to the sometimes isolating existence of being the only one who stutters.
Reentry can be hard. It’s important to stay in touch with people from the conference, through social media, texting, phone or Skype. Staying in touch allows us to keep the positive feelings of support and acceptance longer. I have been in touch with friends Annie and Hanan, which has helped me stay grounded.
How do you deal with reentry after returning from such an empowering, affirming conference?