Why hello!!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

So now that I have published a book, I feel like I am trying to merge two identities, and things might get a little confusing. So I want to have this post explain a little bit about what is going on for any new travelers to the squeaky world of Jess and Paula.

My name is Jessica Smith. I publish under a pen name of Paula Jean Ferri. The two names are interchangeable in my mind though. While I was born as Jessica, around the age of 17, I developed a new lifelong friend, who I affectionately call Paula. Her name is a little more searchable than mine is. Besides, I probably wouldn't have had anything to write about without her, so she became the author.

Feel free to wander the blog and discover a little more about Paula's antics. I am also on Medium writing as often as I can between my three outlets (books, blog and Medium). I would LOVE to hear more about you and any questions you may have. Please send an email to Paula@paulajeanferri.com.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least... I can't thank you enough for visiting!! I LOVE that you are here and hope to see more of you! Be sure to keep up to date on my website:


How To Survive A Rough Day

Monday, January 15, 2018

I love Sundays. They are generally my rest day when it comes to working and a day to re-center myself and my values. I also tend to be surrounded by wonderful people and life is just good.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to downtown Salt Lake City and attend a worldwide devotional for young single adults in my church.

I mean, look at these angels with their halos...

I just love these people so much!
Paula must have been pretty excited, because oh boy was she noisy! Friends and strangers alike were jumping and there was some good distance making heads turn across the crowded room.

I was again surrounded by wonderful people that I loved and heard wise and hilarious words from people I admire, respect and love. Life just couldn't get any better!

Then, things took a little change. As per her respectful self, Paula stopped making noises and was respectful enough to be silent while still making herself known. My shoulder didn't stop moving for the full hour.

By the time the talks had ended, I was incredibly sore and quite frankly exhausted from all of the movement. My friend Esther was sitting behind me and said her neck hurt just watching me with all the movement.

But good people and LOTS of them! There were things to see and mingling to do!

Problem though. Once we got outside of the conference center where the devotional was held, there were So. Many. People.


I may or may not have had an anxiety attack. Sadly, anxiety is a co-morbid that I deal with as a side effect of my TS. Normally I have it fairly under control, but I think I was just too tired to really deal with it like I normally do.

Most of this adorable group got lost in the crowd, including my carpool group, which didn't help matters. I got to a point that I had two of the remaining group holding me on each side because I needed the touch to keep me grounded.

You would be hard-pressed to find a kinder, more generous group of souls.

Can I just say again how wonderful these people are?

At one point we found a small opening against a wall, and I instantly put my back to it and wound up squatting against the wall with my hood over my head blocking out as much noise and visual as I could.

As soon as I got home I had a rice pack on my tight shoulders, trying to loosen myself up, curled up under a big heavy blanket with a book and tried to calm down so I could get some sleep.

Sometimes you need a bit of self-care and some good friends just to survive even your favorite events.

But the main thing is you survive and you go on to tic another day.

Isn't life grand that way? No sarcasm intended, I really mean it. I love the life I live and I love having Paula around to keep me on my toes and keep life interesting.

I love having another day to do what I love- writing and helping others. Another day with great people that motivate and inspire me on a daily basis. Another day to show my gratitude to the people who support me when I can't take a step by myself.

As I heard last night, our lives are a "choose your own adventure" story. Despite the pain, exhaustion, anxiety and all the rough stuff, I choose joy and goodness.

I'm so glad I've found it, but it doesn't stop there. I choose it day after day, the good days and the bad. If I don't, I might lose it.

Anything worth having is going to take hard work and many little choices made in the moments that make up our lives. Our choices seem small, we may not think they matter, but over time they add up.

So every day, I choose joy. Every day I choose goodness. Every day, I choose love.

What do you choose?


Saturday, January 13, 2018

So I had a really cool experience with Paula this week. She was up to her usual antics. I was VERY noisy on Thursday. We sang "manamana" a few times (thanks to Carly), had a few very loud screams and a smattering of other noises. So I was just a little nervous going to the temple that night. A place of quiet and respectful reverence, we are encouraged to whisper if we talk at all and I was going to be there for several hours.

Another of my favorite things about the temple is how peaceful it is amongst the quiet, and the instant calm you feel when you walk inside the doors. The whole time I was in there, Paula was still quite active. However, she changed her tactic just a little bit. Rather than screaming and singing her way through, she chose the silent route and it was my shoulder that was ticcing the whole time.

Once I got into the cafeteria, that changed, but she only once got a little louder than an average speaking voice.

I am so very grateful for sacred things in my life, and even more grateful when my Tourette Syndrome respects those sacred moments as well. Paula is pretty awesome like that. Stubborn- I mean, she still had to be present and not let me forget she was there, but respectful none the less.


Friday, January 5, 2018

I don't often have any kind of trigger that will really set Paula off. In fact, I never have until after this past Christmas. After the holidays were over, my mom decided to change all of her ringtones. Her default is now this song. I've mentioned before this is one of Paula's tricks.

Well, apparently it is now a trigger. Guess what I was singing. All. Week. Long. The first couple of times it was funny. Ok, it's still kinda funny. Here's why. It's not just Mom's phone.

After I got back from the break, I was telling the story to Carly at work. Oh boy, did she miss Paula. Carly sang the do do do do part because it's a catchy tune, so Paula jumps in with the manamanah. Of course. Just like she had with the ringtone all week.

Yesterday Carly came up to me and first thing said, "Know that I love you and I'm sorry... Manamanah!"

I was relieved when Paula was silent. I was certain the trigger had worn off. Until about an hour later when it popped out again. Carly was ecstatic.

What a fun thought to realize that other people have more control of what is coming out of my mouth than I do...

Here's to 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I love NYE. I have spent the last several hours looking over my journals from the past year and planning out the next. It was entertaining to look back and thrilling to look forward.

Before I even opened the journals, I thought of how great this past year has been and how many great steps were taken and how much I had learned. I joined a course by Benjamin Hardy that has taught me so much and allowed me to attend a conference to meet my hero, Richard Paul Evans (another author with Tourette Syndrome. Check out his Michael Vey series).

I was able to quit my full-time job and spend four glorious months working part-time and writing and studying. It has been heavenly and I have made some great steps.

I was featured in the Huffington Post, which then was picked up by LDS Living and shared on several LDS Facebook pages.

I was able to complete my book and it will be available for release on January 27th. Keep an eye out, I'm so excited for it!!

Once I cracked open my journal for looking back and read the goals I had set and couldn't help but laugh. I did not meet a single goal that I had set for 2017. Isn't it great that success comes in so many forms?

The best part is that all of these successes that were unplanned this year has set me up incredibly nice to meet the goals I had set last year. However, they won't be my focus. I have 5 large goals to focus on this year. One of which is personal and I'll not share it here. But my remaining four are:

1. To write and publish book 3 by the end of 2018. (I'm hoping for November)
2. To earn enough income to maintain a part-time status of employment.
3. To pay off at least one loan
4. To workout 3x per week at least.

So they are pretty big goals all things considered. Then I sat down and mapped everything out on a specific timeline and now I'm just so excited I can barely breathe! So excuse me, I'm going to go burn off some energy and celebrate the new year!!

Funnies to Realities

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My friend Kylee is having a baby soon. We recently had a baby shower for her, and it was oh so much fun. Not only because of the amazing women that came and the excitement of a little baby and the adorable clothes but because Paula was as feisty as ever.

I don't know what got into her, but she was going on and on. I can't even remember all the jokes because they just kept coming and coming. I haven't seen Paula that active in quite a while.

While it was a funny experience, I find myself wondering, why today? Part of TS diagnosis is that there is no rhyme or pattern to when tics appear. So why are mine always so freaking funny, while others struggle so much? I love being so vocal, but what about those with physical tics?

I do have physical tics, but they are small and not as common. I wink and have a shoulder tic. The shoulder can hurt when I do it too often and leads to a constant soreness and achiness that is just part of life at this point.

I get that I can be overly optimistic at times, but it's really my saving grace. Having Tourette Syndrome can be hard. Life can be hard. Scratch that- Life IS hard. For everyone. It's not up for debate. Everyone struggles and has trials and tragedies in their lives.

So what is the difference? Why do some come away appearing to have a charmed life with perfection at every turn, while others languish in never-ending turmoil?

Honestly, I think the answer stems back to my original question with Paula. Why is she so hilarious and others just want to hide from the world?

Nick Vujicic, worldwide motivational speaker, would have many reasons to languish in never-ending turmoil. However, in his book, Give Me A Hug: 8 Life Lessons From Nick Your Kids Cannot Miss he says:

Whether your life is happy or not is your own choice.
Many people think I can't live a normal life because 
I don't have arms or legs.
I could choose to believe that and give up trying.
I could stay at home and wait for others to take care of me.
Instead, I choose to believe that I can do anything, 
and I always try to do things my own way.
I choose to be happy.
I am happy because I am always thankful.” 

Paula is only funny because I make her funny.

My life has opportunities because I have sought them out.

I have worked hard to choose happiness for so long that it has almost become second nature.

I still have rough days. There are days the tics hurt more than normal. There are days I don't feel adequate to be writing as much as I am and making a career out of it. There are days I still am amazed they actually happened. I got to meet my hero? I got to meet my mentor? Receive wisdom from such great minds?

Who am I to get such blessings?

I'll tell you who I am. Well, a few things at least...

I am a daughter. A sister. An aunt. A friend. A writer. And more.

I wrote them all out at one point, and it got to be a very long list. With all the things on this list, do you know what I didn't find? I didn't find pain. I didn't find Tourette Syndrome. I didn't find any experiences really. I found my relationships and the things I love to do.

Things that happen to us do not define who we are. Unless we let them.

When things happen, we make a choice of how to react. We choose to laugh or cry. Scream or smile. And for how long. The more we choose to cry, the more sadness becomes a part of who we are.

There is nothing wrong with crying. At all. Just don't make it a constant state. Allow yourself to also feel joy, anger, surprise, fear and the entire spectrum of emotions.

Pick the one you want to be known for. Choose this emotion the most. I want to be happy. I want to be grateful. These are the emotions I choose to listen to the most often. I still cry. I still get angry. These are not bad or wrong. They just aren't me.

Who are you?

What traits do you have? Which do you want?

Click Here for my free guide to figuring out the traits you want to be known for and remember you are awesome.

Not What I Was Hoping To Hear Today...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Paula has found a new friend that she loves to pick on at work. Just like Paula, Carly is full of sass, says what is on her mind, and is fun to be around. So the two of them together gets to be pretty entertaining.

It is a known fact that Paula loves animals and makes a lot of animal noises. I've quit trying to keep track of them all. So I wasn't really sure how to take it when Paula made a new noise that made Carly laugh.

"What's so funny Carly?"

"Hahaha! It sounded like a horse!"

Great. That's just what every single woman in her 30's wants to sound like.

Thanks, Paula for the new sound and Carly for making me feel incredibly attractive today... Or not.
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