Communication, vulnerability, and leaning in to who you are. Oh and a bit of Star Wars talk.
What do I, Josh, have in common with Darth Vader and Mace Windu? It ain't my lightsaber skills, I'll tell you that much. Part of the concept of this podcast was to chart a personal journey through Star Wars, the ways my friends and I grew up with it and how it's intersected and shaped our lives. Our mental health episode was probably the most personal we've gotten so far, and probably paved the way for this week's installment. Fair warning: There's less overt Star Wars talk than usual, but we bring it back. Promise.
I'm honored to be joined by guest MAYA CHUPKOV, whose podcast PROUD STUTTER literally gave me the confidence to keep doing Trash Compactor. We have a fascinating, vulnerable, and hopefully illuminating conversation about hidden challenges we all face and how we make them a part of ourselves.
I hope you enjoy this one.
NEXT WEEK: The legacy of MARCIA LUCAS with special guest BRANDON WAINERDI of the podcast TALKING BAY 94.
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[00:00:00] JOSH: Welcome to Trash Compactor. I'm Josh.
[00:00:04] It recently made the round in the news that James Earl Jones, arguably best known for his iconic voice, has retired from providing the voice for Darth Vader, for which he's so famous. That character's recent appearance on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series seemed to feature James Earl Jones' voice.
[00:00:21] But the performance was actually computer generated by a Ukrainian AI company called Respeecher, the same software that was used to recreate the voice of a young Mark Hamill when Luke Skywalker showed up on The Mandalorian. The implications of AI being able to recreate speech aside.
[00:00:40] There's one thing that I think of whenever someone talks about James Earl Jones' iconic voice. It's, it's the first thing I think of because James Earl Jones has a stutter. He stuttered his entire life since he was a child. And there's some irony I think, that the person with arguably the most famous voice on the planet has struggled to speak his entire life. The following is from the Instagram account for the wonderful podcast, Proud Stutter. It quotes Jones as saying, One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter. End quote, In an interview on the Dick Cavett Show in 1995,
[00:01:21] " I can't string ideas and words together that well," the actor admitted.
[00:01:26] And James Earl Jones isn't the only Star Wars actor with a stutter.
[00:01:30] Samuel L. Jackson, best known to Star Wars fans as Mace Windu, revealed a few years ago that he too grew up with a stutter that he still suffers from. From a GQ article quoting from an appearance that Jackson made on The Howard Stern Show, he said, "I stuttered really, really, really bad for a long time to the point that I stopped speaking for like almost a year in school,"
[00:01:53] Jackson shared. The cure? The word motherfucker. Actually. Why? "I have no idea", Jackson says, "but it just does. It clicks a switch that stops the duh, duh, duh, blah, blah, blah." Through reading about breathing exercises, Jackson was able to improve his stutter, which is pretty remarkable.
[00:02:14] Okay. at this point, you're probably asking yourself why I'm talking about stuttering so much.
[00:02:19] Well, because I have a stutter. It's something I've struggled with my entire life since I learned to talk. Some days are worse than others. Um, sometimes it's hardly noticeable. Some days I can hardly get a word out. Some it's, it's different sounds it, it, the, the rules kind of change, which makes it kind of tricky not knowing what kind of a day it's gonna be fluency wise.
[00:02:48] Um, but it's something that I, I always have to deal with, um, and has shaped me in ways I'm not sure that even I'm aware of. And joining me today to talk about stuttering and podcasting as a stutterer and how stuttering is rep is represented in media is the host of the wonderful podcast I mentioned earlier called Proud Stutter.
[00:03:14] I'm very excited and honored to introduce you to Maya Chupkov, the host of Proud Stutter. Maya, welcome to Trash Compactor.
[00:03:22] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Thank you so much for having me. I'm, I'm very excited about this.
[00:03:27] JOSH: So am I. So am I. Um, and uh, first off, I I just really wanna thank you for creating your show. When I discovered it, I was honestly pretty overwhelmed. Um, it, um, it was, it was very emotional for me, hearing people talk openly about stuttering and not in the context of how to, how to cure it or how to overcome it.
[00:03:56] Um, but why it, it, it can and should be something to embrace. And I had never, um, I had never encountered that, uh, uh, before. So, so it was, um, it was very emotional. For me to hear your show, uh, which again is, is really fantastic. I'm, I'm probably, I'm probably gonna end up saying that many, many times in this, in this discussion.
[00:04:23] But, um, and in that spirit, uh, uh, I usually spend a lot of, of time on the back end of the production side of this. Um, when I, I edit the podcast, uh, you know, some people, they say something that, uh, they, they misspoke or they, they, that they say something that ends up going nowhere. And it's sort of a, I also work as a professional editor, so I just have like an editor's impulse, but at least 50% I would say of the time I spend editing this podcast is spent cutting out my stutters and my, what I call like junk words and junk phrases. Um, and in the spirit of your show, I am not gonna do that for this one. I'm going to see if I can stand to leave, leave them all in. Um, so so, um, so enough of me talking. Um, so, uh, please tell us about Proud Stutter, your podcast. How did it come about and what are you trying to do with it?
[00:05:33] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Proud Stutter came from a very, um, dark place, actually. I was, um, very, but right before I thought of the idea, I was very miserable at my job. Um, it was really hard for me to wake up in the morning and this was during the pandemic. And so though I wasn't physically going to work, I still felt very anxious every time I would walk over to my computer.
[00:06:03] And that just made me realize I needed something outside of work that I could look forward to. And so Proud Stutter was really born from this, this, this yearning to nurture the creative side of myself because I've been neglecting that part of myself for so long. And podcasting is, Um, it's in there isn't really a huge barrier to entry, so I was able to get a grant by equipment and yeah, I just started recording and I had my best friend to help out too, as a co-host and an editor.
[00:06:37] And as soon as we started, we just kept creating more and more episodes inviting guests, and then it turned into this outpouring of support as people began to discover the show and felt a sense of being seen for the first time. And so that really made me wanna continue doing it. And really Proud Stutter is all about helping people who stutter, feel less alone, feel like they have a community, and really reframing the narrative around stuttering to being something to be accepted and not overcome because so many of us with a lifelong stutter, Stopping stuttering is not in the cards for us.
[00:07:24] And so it's really just about getting the weight off your shoulders of trying to put pressure to get rid of, of something that might you, you may not ever get rid of. And so that's really what Proud Stutter is all about. And it's also changing representation in the media. So as you said before, like there isn't a lot of representation of stuttering in the way that we can resonate with.
[00:07:58] And so the podcast is also about that as well.
[00:08:01] JOSH: So, you know, it's really interesting to me, uh, you said that, you know, you were in a place where you really feel, felt like you needed to do something to nurture yourself and, you know, indulge your creative side. And, uh, there's a low barrier to entry to podcasting. Um, I have a very similar experience with this podcast, um, for similar reasons, but, um, why?
[00:08:26] Why did you decide to, or how did you decide to make the subject of your podcast stuttering? Because, so you, um, are a lifelong stutterer yourself. Right?
[00:08:37] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Right.
[00:08:39] JOSH: Um, it, it's not, it seems, it seems, and, uh, a very interesting, uh, subject for your first, uh, podcast to be, you know, something that is very, uh, personal and potentially sensitive.
[00:09:00] Um, so, so, so I'm just curious why, uh, how you arrived at the idea to make a podcast about stuttering.
[00:09:08] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah, it was definitely not an immediate thought because stuttering was never something I was comfortable with talking about with hardly anyone, including my family and friends. Um, so, um, that was definitely not something that came easily to me. Uh, actually the, like my first, um, my first kind of ideas around my, around a podcast was, Okay, what am I an expert in?
[00:09:38] That was my first , my first, um, question to myself. And I was like, Oh, I love books. I love talking about books. So that was definitely an idea. I. Um, and so I had other ideas too, but then my fiance, he was like, Why don't you do it about stuttering? And he's always been very curious about my stutter. Like he's always asked me, Oh, like why did you stutter in this situation?
[00:10:08] And not this one. I don't know, he just always kind of would ask me and I'd be like, I don't know, it's just random. Like, that would be my response a lot. And so, but as soon as he said that, a light bulb kind of went off in my head, I was still afraid to, to kind of take that leap. And so what I started to do was like taking small steps to open up to people about my stutter, and that's when I realized I was on to something because the response from people when I would open up to them was really, I felt like I was making a connection for the first time with people because I was no longer hiding such a big part of myself.
[00:10:54] And so the more I did that with people, the more I felt like I was actually making authentic connections. And I had this huge realization that my whole life I kind of went through relationships on a very surface level basis because I would constantly be hiding my stutter. And so I didn't realize that until that, the moment where I started to share to people that I stutter.
[00:11:29] JOSH: Yeah, no, that, that makes complete sense to me. Um, it's just sort of, I mean, I had that, uh, that experience hearing your podcast as well. I was like, Oh my God. Like why has this never happened before? I can't believe this exists. I can't believe I found it. I can't believe someone is doing this. And that's why it was like, you know, when you live with something that is you, that is a struggle, that's invisible.
[00:11:54] Um, you know, especially when it's something that is just, it becomes second nature. Like your, your thought process about it, the way you change your behavior, it's just all sort of these, these automatic things that you do. It's, it's unconscious. It becomes unconscious. You stop, like noticing it yourself. So, um, to, I mean, again, like the, you, I'm so glad that you had that, that light bulb moment because, um, it has certainly impacted me and I know from the response that your show has gotten, it's, it's, it, it is impacting a lot of other people and it, it just only continues to grow.
[00:12:35] Um, I mentioned, um, I mentioned in the intro, uh, James Earl Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. In particular. And you know, it's interesting when most people talk about stuttering, especially celebrities, and there are a lot of celebrities who stutter, who you wouldn't know, stutter, um, uh, through some, you know, combination of, uh, I think all stutterers, um, kind of build their own toolkit of, of techniques that kind of work for them,
[00:13:09] and it's not the same for everyone. Um, uh, uh, but like when, when James Earl Jones and Samuel L. Jackson, when they talk about stuttering, they always talk about it. And this isn't uncommon, but they talk about it into the context of of of of, of overcoming it. And. I was, uh, particularly struck about, um, the Samuel L.
[00:13:34] Jackson quote because he uses the word cure. And in fact, the headline of that uh, GQ article was "How Samuel L. Jackson Cured His Stutter." that's that framing, that idea that it's not only something that can be cured, but it should be cured, right? Or that it has to be cured. You, you need to figure out how to cure it.
[00:14:02] How do you feel when you hear that sort of language about stuttering?
[00:14:05] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah, I, I feel that there's this pressure for me to kind of, like I, when I hear the word over overcoming, I think of hiding because there's no overcoming stuttering for me. I'm just hiding it more. And so, and hiding it involves a level of energy and it involves mental capacity and it involves like hiding a sense of identity and self.
[00:14:40] And that can be psychologically harmful too. And so, um, so that word. is just, it's not something that I think we should be equating with the stuttering experience because there's so many different types of stuttering experiences and a lot of them don't, aren't like the, that overcoming story is not every experience around stuttering.
[00:15:10] Like a lot of people, like there's some people who do overcome it, um, and they grow out of it. That's kind of a better word. But for a lot of people who carry stuttering into their adulthood, there isn't a cure for it.
[00:15:32] JOSH: Right. No, exactly. The, um, my understanding, um, and, uh, you're probably much more familiar with the, the current research and, uh, thinking surrounding stuttering than I am, but my understanding was always a lot of children develop, uh, develop stutters, and most of them grow out of it. Some of them don't. Right.
[00:15:57] and for the ones who don't, there isn't really a cure, uh, uh, quote, cure. And it was actually really interesting because in that same article that, uh, GQ article that the headline of which was "How Samuel L. Jackson Cured His Stutter," it says at the very end it acknowledges that it's something that Jackson still struggles with.
[00:16:21] Right? So, so even in the same article there was that, that, that tacit admission that there is no such thing as a cure for stuttering. I did find it really interesting though. Um, speaking of, uh, uh, the tools and uh, uh, techniques that are not the same for everybody saying the word motherfucker is not one that I had ever, uh, come across before
[00:16:45] I thought that was pretty, uh, uh, pretty unique. Um, , I should, I should maybe try it, um, sometime, but, um,
[00:16:52] and yeah, so, so I think that that, thinking about it, that thinking around it as something to overcome or something that can be cured, I think is directly related to depictions of stuttering and people who stutter in, in popular media. Usually, you know, if a character stutters in TV or a movie, like it's the butt of a joke
[00:17:20] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Mm-hmm.
[00:17:21] JOSH: or, um, the fact that they stutter is to denote their, their like helplessness or their, their weakness.
[00:17:33] Um, always, whenever a character stutters in a movie, I always like involuntarily cringe. Like, I don't even, it's not even, it's, it's not even, I mean maybe it's self-explanatory, but it, it's like, it's not even a thought process. It's like a physical, visceral reaction. Um, I'm just wondering if there are, are any examples of,
[00:18:00] stuttering represented in media that stand out to you as either, you know, something that you just always remember, uh, that, uh, you know, maybe wasn't so great or one that was great though, to be honest with you, I can't think of a good one.
[00:18:19] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah, so the, I, so I'll give an example of each. So the, the, the example I always think of where I have that same physical reaction and anger and just, um, yeah, is, um, I, I mean, yeah, so this probably isn't the best example, but it's the one that I always think about cuz I, I'm a big fan of the office and there's a really popular meme that came out of an episode where one of the characters, Stanley, um, in a joking way, um, shouts at Michael, the main character, like, did I stutter as like a joke?
[00:19:02] And I just hate that phrase. It's used way too often, even. Very recent examples, like the recent Stranger Things, um, show, um, season. They use that phrase. And so that one is just really annoying because it implies that stuttering you're unsure of yourself or it's just a horrible phrase because just cuz the person's stutters doesn't mean they don't know what they wanna say or they're unsure.
[00:19:31] And so that is a very annoying phrase that's still used and should stop being used. And then a good example, and I had like the most, like, I just felt so physically like amazing when I saw this film be because it really nailed stuttering for me. I definitely saw that the character, I saw myself in the character.
[00:20:02] And so the movie that I'm thinking of is it, it's an adaptation from Stephen King's novel, the main character stutters in the novel and the main character stutters in the adaptation. And yeah, he's like the hero. And he stutters. And he stutters. Similar to how I stutter. It's consistent or it's, it's not like every word, but it's consistent enough where you can kind of tell.
[00:20:31] Um, and I feel like when I was growing up, I would, I would experience instances where I would stutter similar to how he stutters. And I just felt like very, like that he really did his homework and he did a great job and he's a good actor. . And so that, that was a great example and I tell everyone that that's like the, one of the best , um, characters who stutter.
[00:21:00] And it makes me wanna read that the novel now because, um, Stephen King, like, yeah, like, and I'm, I'm, I have it on my to-do list to email Stephen King and be like, Hey, you for having a main character who stutters. Like what was your thought process behind why you chose that? Because I've been trying to figure out if he's ever mentioned it and I haven't gotten, um, down to like why he chose a person who stutters as his character.
[00:21:37] So, yeah.
[00:21:38] JOSH: That's actually really interesting. I, I haven't seen that, that movie. And, um, I think had I known that the main character stuttered or that there was any character that stuttered in the movie, I prob that probably would have made me not want to go see it. But, um, , uh, but, uh, hearing you say that I, that's just shot up to the top of my to watch list, um, for
[00:22:07] MAYA (@ProudStutter): It's not the best movie like so I'm just gonna say that it's, it's really like quite an awful movie. But, but the Stuttering's good and the kid actors are actually pretty good actors. So it's just the whole plot is just very, Yeah. So, you
[00:22:31] JOSH: Well, so that's, so that's actually interesting that you, you phrase it that , uh, that way because, you know, something that I, is kind of, a thing that I'm trying to deconstruct or kind of change the framing around is, um, you know, classifying movies as either, as, either just good movies or bad movies. Uh, uh, because like, you can, you, like, there are.
[00:23:04] Other reasons why you can enjoy watching a movie than it's, than it's how it measures up to some sort of like objective grade scale, right? Of like cinematic worthiness or quality, right? So, so I mean, so the fact that, um, you know, you can see that, that that movie and it can, you know, really stir something in you and sticks with you, um, you know, like I would call that a good movie then,
[00:23:41] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah, exactly. Yeah. No, I love the movie. Like, but it's, Yeah, and so, but I have to be careful about who I recommend it to for those reasons. . Yeah.
[00:23:56] JOSH: I understand. I host a Star Wars podcast, and even among Star Wars fans, um, there are certain Star Wars that I know not to recommend to certain people based on , on certain other things about them. Um, Okay. Um, I'm just,
[00:24:22] you know, that answer really surprised me because I, um, I wasn't expecting you to have a good, uh, to have an example of good depiction of stuttering. Um, the one that I had is like, not so bad was, um, there was one in, um, a recent Star Wars movie actually. Uh, well, I guess 2017 isn't, isn't all that recent anymore.
[00:24:51] What? What do you think of as recent is five years ago, recent? I don't know uh, there was a character called DJ played by Benicio del Toro, and that character had a stutter and it was presented more as kind of like a quirk or like, or like an affect, uh, you know, like, like not that he was like weak or that he was, I don't think it was supposed to be funny.
[00:25:19] Maybe it was actually now that I'm thinking about it. But, um, like it was just sort of, uh, to me it just seemed like it was, uh, there to give the character something distinct about him. Um, I didn't really feel like, uh, there was like a, like something you were supposed to read into it though. Now that I'm talking about it.
[00:25:41] He was, he did eventually prove to be untrustworthy. So maybe, maybe that's not such a great. Example, I . Dunno. Um, but, but, um, but that actually reminds me of something. So, um, so first off, I could recommend so many episodes of your show. I mean, basically all of them. But, uh, one that stands out, um, because it was recent was, um, you did an episode where you interviewed, a woman named Gina Chin Davis, who's a writer and a filmmaker who grew up with a stutter who just came out with her first feature called, um, called I Can't Sleep.
[00:26:26] not only did she sound amazing and I wanna be her best friend, but she said something that, that stuck with me. She said she can't wait until there's a character in a movie that stutters and no one comments on it. Uh, other, like, no one in the movie like even says the word stutter. Right? Like it's just a thing about them.
[00:26:47] Um, like, and it's interesting cuz she was talking about, about, um, about intersectionality, which, um, you know, she comes, she's, she's biracial and, um, and a woman. And, um, I think, you know, thinking of stuttering as a disability or as something. To deal with, like, does inform and interact with a lot of your other identities and personal challenges.
[00:27:22] So, so it's, so it's interesting, like, do you think we'll ever get to a point where stuttering is not something that's like, read into as having to mean something the same way that I, that, you know, I would say, you know, race, uh, and gender sexuality is, is sort of getting there. Uh, like we're sort of, I think moving out of the place where you only see movies exclusively about that, that subject and it's now just sort of quote unquote, normalized.
[00:27:59] It's just there and it doesn't mean anything. Do you think we'll ever get there with stutter?
[00:28:04] MAYA (@ProudStutter): I think we will, I think we're farther behind than a lot of the other disabilities stories. And, um, I think like I'm, I'm seeing more nuanced and like more well rounded characters with different disabilities that it's not just about that the disability that's just kind of part of them, but they have other parts being brought out in their characters.
[00:28:36] Um, but I, but stuttering still just has such a long way to go because I think. There's just not a lot of stories and education out there as much as there needs it to be. And that's why I start, like that's why I'm just trying to get this podcast out there as much as possible so that it can pave the way for more nuanced stories around stuttering.
[00:29:07] So that like if there's someone that's working on a TV show and they are working with someone with a character that stutters, or they'll be able to do research and find more to kind of work with so that we do find, so we do see more of that nuance story to telling around stuttering, but I just feel like there's just not. There's not enough amplification around stuttering right now, and, and so the more that we tell stories about stuttering, I think we will get there.
[00:29:48] JOSH: That's a good answer. I, you know, it's interesting, like I'm of two minds about that. Like, uh, one, I hope you're right. I genuinely do, but uh, but just also, and maybe this is, it is just this internalized shame or frustration, I think less than shame. It's like, I'm not ashamed, it's just, it's just frustration.
[00:30:13] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Mm-hmm.
[00:30:14] JOSH: Um, you know, uh, because I agree with everything that you're saying. Like, and I know it's important because it was impactful for me and has been impactful for me to hear your podcast and listen to people's stories, just to hear it be talked about openly, hearing, hearing people's experiences, and either, um, you know, seeing myself relating directly or, um, hearing something that, that is not how I ex, um, how I experience it is also, is also just as, um, you know, illuminating and useful for me to hear.
[00:30:53] But, um, for me at least, you know, the fact of the matter is like, sometimes there's no, I mean, there's no getting around it. It's just, it can be really frustrating when you're trying to communicate and you know what you wanna say. It's not that you don't know the exact right words that you wanna say, but you literally can't say it.
[00:31:18] you know, and again, like your show really, I think brought to the surface a lot of things that I had had sort of, uh, sh shoved down and not, you know, really thought about in a long time. But, um, you know, I, um,
[00:31:36] yeah, like sometimes like I just get so frustrated. As someone who clearly is someone that has a lot of opinions and likes to talk, right? It's, it's, it's just like, why, why, why can't I always say what I wanna say? I know what I wanna say, and I give it a lot of thought. Though it has also occurred to me that maybe the reason I give it a lot of thought is because I know that I'm not always able to say what I wanna say.
[00:32:05] So when I know that I will be able to say it, I wanna make sure that I say exactly what I mean, if that makes any sense.
[00:32:12] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah, totally. And I think, like, I think something that I always try to, um, to make, to emphasize is like, yes, my show is called Proud Stutter. And yes, I talk about a lot of the positives around stuttering, but I, I still stutter at the end of the day and I still am not able to say exactly what I wanna say, how I wanna say it.
[00:32:40] Like sometimes I use a word that isn't the best word because
[00:32:47] JOSH: But you know, you can say it, but you know, you can say it. You can't say the other one. Yeah.
[00:32:50] MAYA (@ProudStutter): And so that, and it's so frustrating because I know I'm intelligent, but sometimes I say things that aren't exactly the right grammar, like all these things, cuz it's like that's how I hide my stutter. And sometimes it's, easier for me to say things the wrong way than for me to say things the right way.
[00:33:11] I stutter, and I'm trying not to do that as much, and I'm trying to like stutter more freely, but I've taught myself these techniques for my whole life and it's so hard to unlearn them. And yeah, it's just, it's hard to like, yeah, it's hard to like change a lot of those things. Um, despite the fact that I have a podcast and I'm like out as a, as a stutter, there's, yeah, there's still just so much, so much there still to un to peel away.
[00:33:50] It's like a never ending onion, honestly.
[00:33:53] JOSH: No, it absolutely is. So, so first of all, I just want to acknowledge, like what you just described that is I can't properly express how hard I relate to what you just said. Like, like so many times I will say something that is not either grammatically or the most succinct or the, the, it's not the best word.
[00:34:16] I know a better word. Or like the, the, I wanna say it a different way, but I know that I'm not gonna be able to say this sound, or I'm not, I'm not gonna be able to get it out and I have this roundabout way of saying it, or I have. Phrasing that maybe is not something that I would say, but I know it's something that people say.
[00:34:38] So I'll just say it that way because I know that I can make the sound right. And it's also kind of like reading your audience, like who are you talking to? Right? Like, like, is it more important that I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Or is it more important that I sound that I get this out fast?
[00:34:56] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Mm-hmm.
[00:34:57] JOSH: Right. And it's like those kinds of like, of considerations, those mental calculations that are always kind of running, that you were talking about before. Like it's exhausting
[00:35:10] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Mm-hmm.
[00:35:11] JOSH: be constantly having to think about this. Um, um, and
[00:35:21] you know, like, like I went, like I, for me, you know, while it is something. Has given me challenges, um, in my life. I'm not gonna ask you this question cause I don't think it's a fair question to ask, but I think if, if I had a chance to snap my fingers and make my stutter go away, I don't think I would because I think it has made me a much more, a much more empathetic and and understanding person.
[00:36:09] And I value that more than fluency.
[00:36:12] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah. And it also makes us more interesting and more layered because, Yeah, I mean, I think that way cuz I feel like, um, like, yeah, I don't know. I just always felt this, I just, I, yeah, I don't know. I always had this urge to tell stories, like, I don't know. That's just like I, since I was little, I just always wanted to tell stories and to like, Just be vocal about things and I, I just always thought of myself as boring and like, not like, and just like wanting to tell other people's stories who were more fascinating and, and I, I kept ignoring stuttering.
[00:37:06] Like, it didn't even cross my mind that this was like an interesting thing about me until I started the podcast. But I just always felt myself being very like, just like, just not a very interesting person. And, and I feel like Proud Stutter has really opened up this opportunity to like just really educate the world about something a lot of people don't understand. And one story is not gonna do that. It's gonna take a lot of stories.
[00:37:42] JOSH: Yeah. Um, there's a lot there in what you just said. I just want to acknowledge, um, you know, what you said about you not feeling like you were an interesting person and, um, you know, I want to dispel that. I mean, first of all, like, I think you're, you're an incredibly interesting and accomplished and super interesting person.
[00:38:08] Um, so, so I just wanna say that, but you know, my form of it, of what I think you're talking about, um, like as someone who also wants to tell stories, it clearly wants to communicate, right? Thinks that they have things in their head that are worth sort of expressing and, uh, putting out into the world, right?
[00:38:33] Um, like I used to, and I still struggle with this, like, it's like, what, It's like what, why me? Like, what's so special about my insight, Like, why should somebody listen to me about anything? Um, and I think that's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's sort of a, a. It's sort of adjacent like a slightly different flavor of what I think you're talking about.
[00:39:00] . Right. Um, and you know, I think for what it's worth, from what I've learned is you know the, uh, to let that be the reason why you don't write something or, or tell a story or make something, whatever. Like, I think the simple fact that you feel the burning need, the desire to do it means that you are interested in other people. If you're interested in, in stories and in other people's stories. I think that reflects on you. I think you have to be an interesting, curious. Person on your own, if you're, if that's so meaningful to you.
[00:39:48] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah. Yeah. I actually never, No, I, I love that and I actually never really thought of it that way, but I think that is a really good point. And, um, Yeah. And I think that's why I was able to stick out podcasting for so long. Cause so many people give up on podcasting as soon as they start, cuz they realize how much work goes into it.
[00:40:19] JOSH: It's a lot of work. Mad respect, because I know it's a lot. It's a lot of work.
[00:40:24] MAYA (@ProudStutter): and I feel like it's really the people that push through are the ones that are just like, they ha you know, It's like they have, they're driven by a passion for the need to tell stories and to, Yeah. All that stuff.
[00:40:42] JOSH: No, No, I think you're, I think you're exactly right. Um,
[00:40:49] okay, because this is nominally a Star Wars podcast um, are you at all familiar with Star Wars or are you a f uh, a fan?
[00:40:57] Have you not seen any of them, the movies at all? Like, uh, what's your familiarity level with Star Wars?
[00:41:06] MAYA (@ProudStutter): So I've seen Episode One and I believe what that means is it's the fourth movie created cuz like they go in reverse order or something, or something. I don't know.
[00:41:17] JOSH: Yes. Very good.
[00:41:18] MAYA (@ProudStutter): yeah. So I know I've seen Episode One, which I'm told is the worst one. So, um, by many Star Wars fans. But yeah, I've, I had. I had it like, I was gonna spend like a weekend to just, I just wanted to watch all of them in order.
[00:41:38] And so I, I watched the first one and then I I stopped because I was like, I don't have time for this. And so I haven't watched the others, but I still have an urge to watch the movies. It's just, I just haven't done it yet.
[00:41:54] JOSH: No, it's okay. You do not, you do not, Um, you do not have to have to justify your decision to stop watching them after watching Episode One. Um, the opinion that you just expressed is, is, um, about the quality of that movie is, is. Uh, it's not uncommon. well, I don't know. Uh, let me ask you what, because there is so much Star Wars content now.
[00:42:21] Um, like there are all of these new, uh, not just movies, but new shows like on, uh, on Disney Plus. Like there's a new Star Wars show on basically year round at this point it's, it's, it's kind of insane and like the, the approach that they're taking is to kind of, you know, it's sort of like the Marvel, the Marvel approach where sort of different flavors and different like styles with different tones.
[00:42:50] Like some lean toward the, the very serious and some are a little more. Lighthearted and like, you know, just different stuff. Um, what kind of movies do you like or TV shows do you like? Like just outta curiosity.
[00:43:05] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah, I like the movies that really have different layers and really makes you think like, . Um, so yeah, I like ones with like, that you're kind of second guessing characters and their motives and if they're a mix of bad and good. And so I like very intricate plot lines, I guess. Um, so the, those are like the movies I enjoy.
[00:43:37] Um, I'm not a big fan of like, the very cliche movies, you know, like with the same storylines, like predictable, I guess is the, the word I'm thinking of. Um, so yeah, that's, that's kind of like, Have you seen that the movie? Nope.
[00:44:01] JOSH: Yes.
[00:44:02] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Okay. I, I love that movie. . It kind of didn't make sense plot-wise. Like there wasn't really like there was a plot, but it was kind of like it.
[00:44:14] It was just a very like weird movie, but in a beautiful way. So that's kind of the vibe. I like
[00:44:22] JOSH: Okay. Well, in, in that case, , if you ever find some time on your hands and you're looking for something to watch, and you're curious about, um, checking out something Star Wars related, I, I would recommend one of two of the new Disney Plus shows, either The Mandalorian or the one that's on right now, um, Andor it's called, I think, I actually think that one you might really, really respond to.
[00:45:04] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Okay. Okay.
[00:45:06] JOSH: Like, I like, uh, a full, full disclosure. So, so it just, I think we just, uh, passed the halfway mark of its, uh, uh, 10 episode for a season. And it is so good. Like, not just for Star Wars actually. It's so, it's so good that I actually think it weirdly makes it an odd fit for Star Wars because it's so good.
[00:45:30] Like, it's so good that it's like that, that maybe makes it not Star Wars enough, if that makes any sense. It's like, it's, it's, it's so good that, um, you know, I actually see this happening on like Star Wars, uh, Twitter or, uh, whatever. There are these, these two camps kind of forming where some are like, this is the greatest thing for Star Wars, that we have a show that's this good like, of this caliber.
[00:46:02] And there are some Star Wars fans that are like, Yeah, but like, it's not Star Wars, because like, Star Wars isn't the things that the show is doing. Right. Like, and I've had a similar sort of reaction, uh, like a weird, kind of an existential, uh, uh, kind of reaction. I'm like, But it is so good. So what is Star Wars?
[00:46:24] Like, what do I actually like about Star Wars if I love this, like, so much? And it's not necessarily like Star Wars E. Like what does that actually mean? So, so, but anyway, I won't, I won't, I won't, uh, uh, uh, bore you with those details. But I would recommend the sh the show, the show, um, Andor, um, which is on Disney Plus right now.
[00:46:49] And if you're looking for something still kind of, you know, accessible, but like, Like a little lighter, but still, has some twists and, and turns. Uh, uh, The Mandalorian is a good one. That's where, where, uh, baby Yoda, uh, comes from. I don't know if you're familiar with that from just like general culture, but that's where that comes from.
[00:47:12] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Okay. Okay. Cool.
[00:47:15] JOSH: Uh, sorry. I feel weird. Um, after everything we just said, I feel weird, uh, talking about Star Wars that I think you should watch
[00:47:27] MAYA (@ProudStutter): No, I, I love it. I feel like I, I like, I, I am a nerd and so I just feel like, as like I have a feeling that I will like it cuz I am a nerd and I am like, there are a lot of nerdy things I like and not saying Star Wars fans are nerdy, but like, I
[00:47:48] JOSH: now it's, it's, I mean, like. I, I wouldn't disagree with you. I don't think you're wrong, and I don't take it as an insult.
[00:47:57] MAYA (@ProudStutter): I just love, like, being sucked into like worlds, you know, like different worlds
[00:48:03] and, Okay.
[00:48:05] JOSH: Andor, uh, uh, you saying that like this is moved from a, Hey, if you have the time to like a very earnest recommendation,
[00:48:14] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah. No. Okay. Yeah, I will
[00:48:17] take you up
[00:48:17] on it.
[00:48:18] It's just I have to get Disney Plus now, which I is the only streaming service. I don't have.
[00:48:25] JOSH: Oh, okay. Yeah. Well that could be a challenge. Well, yeah. Um, maybe. Find a friend and share their, share their login
[00:48:34] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Exactly.
[00:48:35] JOSH: so that part, so that part I might, uh, cut out of the episode. Even though I said I wasn't gonna cut anything out, I might cut that part out.
[00:48:42] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Okay.
[00:48:43] JOSH: not endorse, I do not endorse, uh
[00:48:46] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yes.
[00:48:47] JOSH: the terms of service. I am not advocating for, for, for account sharing is my point. That is my official stance on that, On that subject, um, Maya, what are you most proud of about what you've accomplished with Proud Stutter, but also the advocacy that you do?
[00:49:09] Because you, you, you went to school for, for, I don't know what you call it, like prof, professional advocacy. Right? No. Am I making that up?
[00:49:21] MAYA (@ProudStutter): So, yeah, I went to school for, for public affairs
[00:49:28] JOSH: Okay.
[00:49:29] MAYA (@ProudStutter): through and through like volunteering on campaigns and like just literally volunteering my time in learning how advocacy works and. And through experience, um, like getting involved in non-profits and community organizing, that's kind of how I learned about organizing.
[00:49:52] And so that's why I realized that I needed to do that as part of Proud Stutter because there are only so few places that do advocacy around stuttering on such a local level. So, um, so yeah, PR proudest moment by far is getting San Francisco to recognize National Stuttering Awareness Week, which is the second week of May every year.
[00:50:20] So that was definitely amazing and I can't wait to do it in other cities now too.
[00:50:28] JOSH: Uh, uh, no. And I should also mention as a time we're recording this podcast, um, two days ago, October 22nd was, was International Stuttering Awareness Day. Is that correct?
[00:50:41] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Right. Yeah.
[00:50:43] JOSH: Yeah, which is something that has, has, uh, has existed since 1998. I think.
[00:50:49] It says something that I first became aware of, International Stuttering Awareness Day through your podcast and your social media feed. So, um, I think, uh, So first off, so, so, so thank you, uh, for that, but also I think that that speaks to your larger mission of, of increasing awareness and, um, the conversation and perception of stuttering.
[00:51:17] Um, so Maya, so if someone is now curious and they want to listen to Proud Stutter or learn more about the work that you do, how can they find you? Um, how can they listen to the show? How can they find.
[00:51:32] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah. So the easiest way, um, is to just type in proud stutter in your favorite listening app, whether it's Apple Podcast, Spotify, any of those. Um, just type in Proud Stutter and we should show up. And you can follow us by going to proud stutter.com. That's kind of like a central spot where you can listen, um, get involved, and yeah, just keep up with what we're doing.
[00:52:02] JOSH: And again, for, uh, for, for people who, who don't have any personal connection with stuttering, like I would still recommend it. It's, uh, the, the, the people that you talk to have fascinating stories and, um, you, uh, you ask fascinating questions and are fascinating yourself. I think the work that you do, It makes you inherently fascinating, um, and interesting and worth listening to.
[00:52:30] And, um, just to close out here, uh, I, again, I just want to thank you for all the work that you've done and you continued to do. Um, I know I sound like a broken record, but it really has, uh, your show really has affected me, uh, personally in a very profound way and really put a lot of wind in my sails for going forward doing this podcast.
[00:52:57] so I, I appreciate you and the work that you do very much.
[00:53:03] MAYA (@ProudStutter): And thank you for just reaching out and being like an, an advocate. Um, I think like the more of us there are the be the better off people who stutter will be. So thank you too.
[00:53:24] JOSH: I, I, I try my best. I, I try to, to, uh, to push through. Um, so I know I said we're wrapping up, but, uh, you know, I do find it kind of ironic sometimes, and you must think about this all the time, like podcasting and stuttering make strange bedfellows, right? Uh, because it's a medium that, that, that the primary feature of which is literally your speech.
[00:53:53] Um, and I know for me that was definitely a consideration, um, of whether or not I was actually going to go forward and make this podcast. I've been thinking about it for years. Um, and you know, obviously there are all the reasons, there's time and there's, um, does anybody care what I say? Like, like do I have a, like a good spin, but it's also I stutter.
[00:54:18] I literally have trouble speaking and it's unpredictable. And how will listeners respond to a voice that, that is not speaking quickly or clearly or the way that they're used to hearing, uh, you know, voices on their headphones? Right. Um,
[00:54:45] and I'm sure you must have gone through a similar, thought process. It's something I still think about. So I've been doing this show for almost a year now. Um, I still think about that. and, you know, your show, no joke, I think is really what definitely gave me the confidence and continues to give me the confidence to, to keep at it. So
[00:55:13] MAYA (@ProudStutter): Yeah. And I'm, I'm, That makes me so happy. And that's really what. What, what the, the show is all about. It's just like gi giving you what you need to just push forward and not let it hold, not let the stutter hold you back.
[00:55:32] JOSH: Absolutely. So, uh, please check out Proud Stutter. Um, you, uh, you just search Proud Stutter, in your, your podcast app of choice. You can Google it, you just search Proud Stutter, and all the things. It comes up. It's the first thing that comes up. Um, Uh, so Maya thank you again. And watch Andor, watch Andor. You will not be disappointed, I promise. Or maybe you will, but I still think it's worth a shot. It's, it's, it's a fantastic, amazing show. Um, if you liked what you heard, please visit trashcompod.com, where you can find transcripts of this episode and all of our other episodes.
[00:56:09] And we are trashcompod across all social media, and we will see you on the next one.