Thursday, February 21, 2013

21 Days In

21 days in to #100stutterProject. I have advertised to 36 people total, at least one per day.

I am still alive.

Here are some highlights:

Most Challenging - Day 1: Oakland University
     Bar none, the first day of this project was the most challenging. On February 1st,  I was in and out of class all day, and was determined to advertise at to someone at school. I was extremely stressed and extremely anxious, a real reminder of how much I need to improve in these type of situations. I ended up waiting until classes had ended, my work was all done, I had thoroughly (repeatedly) checked every social media site, and only a few people were left at library.
Kresge Library, where it all began.
     I finally approached a student research aide, introduced myself, added I that I was a person who stuttered and explained the project that I was taking on. I was very rushed, extremely dysfluent, kept poor eye-contact and definitely didn't communicate the way I am capable of. He let me know that he had a good friend from high school who was challenged with stuttering and appreciated me doing this for someone like his friend.
     Walking back to my car, I hadn't felt that sort of bliss, or joy in a very long time. The fact that it came after such a dysfluent and stressful situation is something I truly will never forget. Struggling so bad that first day not only allowed to me to target areas where I'd like to improve, but more importantly proved that no matter how hard it may be, I survived, and damn, did it feel good.

Best - Day 7: Advertising At Work
     One place where I really looked forward to advertising was work. I know there are many different opinions regarding disclosure at the office, I've always tried to be open and this would be no different. I called a meeting for our team where I explained that I was a person who stuttered, gave a little background about my therapy, certain challenges, my project and where I'd like to go from there. I had nothing but positive feedback and many of my coworkers have stopped by desk to ask about my project or share stories of family members or friends who have had all sorts of challenges, not only stuttering.
Most Unexpected Experience- Day 8: Lily's Seafood & Brewery
I give this to everyone with whom I advertise.
      This kind of experience was exactly what I had been looking for. I stopped up at Lily's on a Friday evening to do some writing and have my favorite IPA/Stout combo. I also anticipated many opportunities to advertise during my time there. Still having issues "pulling the trigger", at 11:51pm I finally approached a group of people at the bar. Turns out they were all employees who had the night off, and all were interested in hearing me out. I talked mostly with the Sous Chef, who had a cousin who he said was a very severe stutterer. While he did tell me too "relax" (I politely explained that I was relaxed), it was again nice to talk to someone who wanted to learn more. I ended up hanging out with them the rest of the night, making unexpected new friends, drinking a few free beers and getting a tour of my favorite local brewery. All it took for me to have such a positive experience was a little courage, introducing myself and putting forth effort to get to know people. It makes me wonder what other experiences I have potentially missed out on, and proved to me how beneficial this project will be for me.

Most Ridiculous Moment: Day 2: Every Coffee shop within 5 miles
      I alluded earlier to my challenge of initiating conversation. Long story short, on the second day I went to 4 coffee shops (and ordered 4 coffees) before I finally approached someone. All jittery, I advertised and talked to girl who taught 3rd grade and had students in speech therapy. Afterwards, I realized just how exhausting and unnecessary my trek across Metro Detroit was. I'm learning that there is never going to being a perfect speaking situation, void of fear and variables. Just like a freezing pool on a hot day, It's best to just jump in.

Favorite Moments: Day 12, 15 and 18:  LA Fitness
     On these days I was approached by numerous old friends, a gym employee and a golf coach from my high school days. All asked about the project, what day I was on and how it was going. It was an opportunity for me to share with people about my stuttering, an opportunity I wouldn't have otherwise had. While advertising to strangers or acquaintances at work is challenging and rewarding all in it's own way, receiving positive feedback from people in my community has been been my favorite aspect of the project thus far. Even though I've known these people for many years, for them to finally feel comfortable approaching me about my stuttering and me being in a place where I am able to be open and share, is a tremendous feeling and a huge change from where I was just a short time ago.

Some Excerpts from my Journal:
- Great feeling to follow. Very, very dysfluent but feels way better than if I would've avoided.

- This is what I need today.

- "If you're handed it, you can handle it."

- "We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are."

- Another coffee? C'mon man.

- Let's be better tomorrow. Better everyday.

Two quotes to sum up my first 21 days:

"Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change."

"If you wait until you're ready, you may be waiting the rest of your life."

79 days for the rest of my life.

Please visit and support the NSA!   

1 comment:

  1. What a great challenge you've taken on! So inspiring and courageous of you. I feel challenged myself. Keep posting :)