Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘women who stutter

I had the amazing opportunity on Saturday to attend a performance of “Kirtan,” an ancient storytelling vehicle from Sanskrit India. My friend Maddy, who stutters too, is in a band called The Turn-Ups and it’s been a dream of hers to perform this live for audiences.

She invited me to come along to only her second performance and I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical. I am not spiritual and was not sure I’d like this. But I have been trying lately to be much more open to new experiences as I think we all should be.

Well, I was stunned and mesmerized and awestruck by the beauty of what unfolded before my eyes and ears. I had looked up “Kirtan” so I’d have a basic understanding of what I would see. Boy, was I unprepared. It was simply a visual and audio feast.

What I saw was beauty, purity of voice, passion and full on spiritual expression. It really is true: you don’t stutter when you sing and Maddy was brilliant when she sang for the transfixed audience. She is beautiful in her attention to detail and humility. She needs to do this again and again and help audiences see how gifted she is and that we all should look beyond a stutter and see and hear the gift of a golden voice.

Here are two quick snippets from my day on Saturday September 1. Maddy and her band played to an enthusiastic crowd that cheered her on and didn’t care when it ran over the allotted time.

 

After the performance, a group of us went to dinner and shared the pleasure of the evening. These were Maddy’s friends and I felt welcomed and embraced into their circle.

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PamEpisode 189 features Sigriour Thorlacius, or Sigga, who hails from Reykjavik, Iceland. Sigga is in her second season of being Chair of the Icelandic Stuttering Association and is only the second female to have this role since the beginning of the association in 1991.

Sigga is also a student and is particularly interested in public education and how we are raising our citizens. She has decided to focus in on Adult Education, as adults who return to school at non-traditional ages face stigma and pressures that are very parallel to that which people who stutter face.

This conversation was one of those where we had no clue we would wind up doing such a deep dive. We talked about self advocacy, unintentional authenticity, reacting to other people’s reactions to our speech and the energy drain we who stutter face when we are constantly thinking and listening to our inner head chatter.

We also talked about listening and how people who stutter actually get people who don’t stutter to listen closely to what we have to say.

Sigga also spoke about her experience at the recent Joint Congress in Japan and what participants have in store for the ISA World Congress being held in Iceland in 2019.

The music used in today’s episode is credited to BenSound.

 

 

In a recent Stutter Social hangout that I hosted, the group of five women and two men happened to have a very powerful conversation that turned into a really moving moment for me.

I decided to talk about that in a quick video because I honestly couldn’t find the right words to write. At the end of this hangout, it was crystal clear how important these connections really are.

I found myself crying during the hangout which I never do or have done and I noticed that several of the other women in the room were equally as moved. So I hope I explain it well here.

 

 

 

PamEpisode 188 features Sarah Albannay, who hails from Kuwait, but is presently living in Pocatello, Idaho while attending college. Sarah has been in the USA for four years now, and is studying Political Science. She says she’ll know what to do with her degree when she’s done.

We had a really interesting conversation. Sarah finds it so much easier to stutter here in the USA. Americans are so much more open about personal issues than she finds people to be at home in Kuwait. She feels quite comfortable advertising that she stutters with classmates and professors here. Sarah says she was a totally different person in Kuwait. (You’ll have to listen to hear her explain that!)

Sarah feels there is so much support here in the USA. She’s found the NSA and good stuttering therapy which has included participation in “intensive stuttering programs.”  Sarah wanted to be sure she gave a shout out to Dan Hudock, the professor at Idaho State University that has really helped her see stuttering differently.

See below for a one minute look at what Professor Hudock is doing at ISU. I also included a fantastic Tedx Talk that Dan did about stuttering. Couldn’t resist – had to include it.

 

 

The music used in todays episode is credited as always to ccMixter.

 

 

 

 

PamEpisode 187 features return guest Christine Simpson, from the British Stammering Association. Christine lives in London in the UK and last year retired from a long career in library services. After retirement, she was looking for a project and found herself on the organizing committee of this year’s BSA conference, coming up in several weeks.

There’s a lot of work involved in organizing a conference, but Christine knows it’s going to be wonderful, because it’s always wonderful when people who stammer come together. We talk about what’s in store for conference participants and the wide range of diverse, yet inclusive opportunities available for everyone from first timers to veteran attendees across the age spectrum.

We also speak about what’s near and dear to both of us, continuing the tradition of offering a space just for women who stammer. Women who stammer face unique challenges and experience stammering through a different lens obviously than men. So I was pleased to hear that’s being honored and offered and at the same time I was sad that I won’t be there.

If you are at all unsure what to expect from a BSA conference, be sure to listen in. Our conversation paints a great picture of how much benefit you will gain from attending.

I made a pact with Christine that I will get to the next one, wherever in the UK it will be, in 2020.

As always, the music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

 

PamEpisode 186 features Maddy Bognar, who hails from Woodstock, New York. Maddy is an occupational therapy student and also a member of a band called the Turn-Ups. She has recently taken a leap to commit to booking two performance shows featuring Kirtan, which is a call and response chant style originating from the Bhakti Yoga tradition in India and is done traditionally in Sanskrit.

Kirtan first caught Maddy’s attention in 2016 when she attended an arts festival, called the O+ Festival, which is really cool to learn about itself. O+ artists and musicians receive health and wellness care in an Artists’ Clinic staffed by volunteer providers and in local dentist offices as a thank you for their creative gifts. O+ calls this exchange: the art of medicine for the medicine of art. I love that!

Kirtan allows Maddy to find peace and a sense of calm, which she then shares with audience members, who participate because Kirtan is also interactive. And Kirtan  means “storytelling” which is so cool because that’s exactly what we do on this podcast, share our stories.

In our conversation, we share how we met a few months ago when we both attended a performance by a stand-up comedian who stutters and wound up sharing that we both stutter and went to dinner together.

Podcast note: I tried as hard as I could in this episode to remove the annoying echo, but just didn’t succeed. Sorry, after all these years, I’m still an amateur.

The music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

PamEpisode 185 features Natalie Park who hails from Loughborough, East Midlands, England in the UK. Natalie is a certified vocational assessor and tutor, currently taking courses in counseling and psychotherapy so she can one day help people who stammer.

We start off the conversation talking about job hunting. Natalie actually loves job interviews, which is quite contrary to most people who stutter. We also discuss education and advocacy and how important this is for future generations. She mentions that openly talking about stuttering smashes assumptions, which we know can be very dangerous.

We talk about how we have the opportunity to use our stutter/stammer in very powerful ways – we can control conversations, slow them down, actually listen to the words being said, instead of just listening to respond.  People who stutter are very powerful people, just not enough of us know that yet. YET being the key word here.

We wrap up this amazing conversation talking about the profound experience that Natalie had at the end of June with 40 other people around her age who stutter. The theme was performing arts and Natalie shares how hard it was to actually put into words the amazing transformation she saw in people after they embraced new ideas and pushed out of their comfort zones. She explains it beautifully here in this blog post called The Week That Changed My Life.

The music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.

 


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.
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