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:

paulajeanferri.com

Disappointment

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sometimes I feel a little bit backward. Not that I plan on changing anything about myself, but it can be quite ironic to me that I am so disappointed in Paula lately when most people with TS would be so very grateful.

Paula has been MIA the past few weeks. Sure, she pops up every once in a while, but I'm disappointed because I started to attend a congregation of families instead of just my peers who are all single professionals. The thing about families is that it means children. Children are the best when it comes to Paula. They have fewer filters than adults and they speak their mind in such an innocent way that it just is fun.

I have been attending this congregation for four weeks now. And church meetings are three hours long. that is twelve hours without a peep from Paula! Not a single sound! I have told a few people that I have Tourette Syndrome, and I'm fairly certain they think that I am lying at this point. My physical tics have been present, but mild enough that no one notices. Even the big painful shoulder tic has gone into hiding!

I have been asked to speak and address the congregation tomorrow, so maybe she will pop up just for nervousness' sake. I kind of hope so. That way I will be facing everyone and get to see all the reactions. Maybe I'll get a good story or two out of it so I will keep you posted.

My Little Teacher

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I want to share a cool lesson I learned this week from Paula. I always grew up a very shy person and struggled to speak my mind. Paula obviously does not have this problem and has taught me well over the years to speak up for myself. Every once in a while though, I don't speak up still. Don't you worry, though, Paula takes good care of me. She also reminds me that people tend to be a lot more kind and understanding than I think they will be.

I have this group of friends and we love watching old movies. When I say old, this includes silent films as well. Our most recent film was a Jimmy Stewart film called The Stratton Story. It is a true story about a baseball player. Well at one point in the movie, there was a surgery going on. Back in the day surgeries were a little different than they are now, so my intelligent friends got into a discussion about penicillin. It got rather involved and it got to a point where I couldn't hear the movie. Those who had seen it before probably didn't mind, but I hadn't seen it and wanted to keep up.

So I leaned closer and was focused on trying to understand before Paula finally gave up and chewed them out. Her incoherent babble got all of their attention before she finally yelled, "SHHHH!" This, of course, gave everyone a good laugh. Also, for the record, that was a new one. She has never shushed anyone before this, but it was amazing how quickly she was able to get results!

The one I normally call a diva sure taught everyone a lesson that night. My friends learned not to talk during movies or Paula will rip them a new one, and I learned that people are willing to listen when chastised in love. No one got their feelings hurt, yet no one kept talking. Sometimes, I need this reminder.

One Way to Restore Balance

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Paula is very helpful and has proven so time and time again. We share this in common. Sometimes, however, there are areas where we differ and it's so nice to have that aspect to balance me out. For example, I have this tendency to work a lot. Crazy how that happens when you love what you do! I spend a lot of time writing, reading, researching, stretching and pushing myself as I hit my goals. Then Paula jumps out and helps loosen the situation and reminds me to chill out once in a while. She is obviously still a very playful child.

And as helpful as Paula is, she likes to help others with this balance as well. I was attempting to visit a few friends and randomly stopped by Rachel, Carly and Rachael's apartment. However, Rachael was the only one home when I stopped by. Upon asking where her roommates were, she responded they were still at work. Carly has this tendency to work late, then sometimes stay there to get some homework done. Playful Paula had to voice her opinion and after ranting for a bit (I'm assuming she was upset about the loss of playtime with Carly), she yelled an emphatic, "UGH!"

Apparently, we don't let silly things like responsibilities get in the way of her playtime. So very inconsiderate of us...

Want to figure out how you can find ways to use awkward moments? Get my Free Guide Control Your Story (←Click Here and I’ll send it to you) to turn those awkward moments into shining opportunities. 

Not just for those with TS, but ANY trait!

Paula's Secret Code

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sometimes I wish I was a little bit faster with catching on to hints. I think Paula has been trying to send one to me for the past week, but it just now clicked. She is incredibly smart and maybe I just don't give her enough credit. For the past week, the tic I have had most often has been this gasping sound. Sometimes repeatedly, taking away my breath and I have to take a minute or two to get back to normal after she does it. It's not a new tic by any means. I have stories from 2015 where I was doing this particular tic.

Do you ever have two completely different areas of your life suddenly connect? So for the completely separate area of my life, I'm training for this 5k, right? I've been hitting this plateau and today sent a message to a friend for advice to help me move forward. So here is my problem: I cannot breathe when I run. I don't know if I'm just being impatient wanting to be able to do it without having put in the time or if there is some kind of trick to it.

So apparently Paula knows my body and is better at listenting to what I need than I am, which isn't surprising. I'm going to be paying more attention to her and this is just another reason to love having Tourette Syndrome all the more. It's a great gauge for what is going on with my body when I get distracted.

Guess I better get this breathing thing figured out.

Bringing Out the Best in People

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Tics are often changing, with new ones popping up every once in a while, some disappearing, only to resurface months or even years later? Apparently, Paula is into change right about now. Not only do I have a new tic, but I also brought back my original tic. When I first started making noises, I had these adorable little squeaks. They sounded like I stepped on a squeaky toy or an adorable version of a hiccup. This is great because the people I spend a lot of time with haven't really heard this. It is adorable to watch them get excited about a "new" tic when I don't have any reaction, because, well, it's not new.

It does, however, take me down memory lane when things first started. I knew so little about Tourette Syndrome and I wasn't even diagnosed until several years later. It's these little noises that shaped how I view my TS and how I can have such a good attitude about them, despite the constant changes, the occasional pain, and frustration that comes with it. I'm still a fan, despite all the things. Maybe that's why most of the new tics tend to be so awesome.

Take for example my tic of the week. It popped out of nowhere, so there is no context or echoing of any kind. Usually, that's what makes Paula so funny, but I think in this case, the absence of context made it all the better. In fact, the office was completely silent until Paula jumped up and started the first couple of seconds of the Mario Brothers theme song. At which point, the marketing and tech departments literally started a chorus continuing the song. With parts.

Paula sure brings out the best in people.

Tulips and Vulnerability

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Don't you just love when things start to all just come together at the same time? Spring is a time of growth and rebirth and I have been reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Her research is all about vulnerability, which is a hard and scary topic. No one wants to be vulnerable. However, it seems the best results are always on the other side of it.

I have this habit of reading while I go for walks, I've been doing it since I learned to read in the first place. The past month on my walks while reading this book, I have also watched the tulips come out for the spring season. They are beautiful flowers. More than that, they were a perfect example of the things I had been reading about in Daring Greatly.

These flowers have zero protection. They are simply a stem and a few petals and are considered a very fragile flower. Yet they are among the first flowers to bloom after winter; when temperatures are still rising, when snow still occasionally threatens to fall, and before most flowers are willing to make an appearance the tulips still come. Not only that, but they survive and give us hope that growth and warmth are on the way.

These flowers with so little to protect them are incredibly vulnerable, but they still grow anyways. It's a big risk, given how little protection they have and the still shaky circumstances that may come with the season. For such a weak flower, they are actually incredibly strong and resilient. They are, in a way, a very trusting flower. They have no thorns, they have one or two leaves, and a few petals to protect the core of the flower. They are almost completely exposed.

Do I do that in my life? Am I trusting and open and vulnerable? Based on past experience, I shouldn't be. I've been hurt, just like everyone has. We all have reasons to put up walls and thorns and protection, especially in a world that is constantly rotating through good times and bad. We get high temperatures, then a snow storm.

I am no botanist by any means, but I wonder if the reason tulips can survive the volatile temperatures of spring is because it has less to protect. I'm seeing a parallel in my life at least. The simplicity of this flower is what I want in my life. I want to strip away the excess so I don't have to stress about it and can focus on the most important things in life. Becuase really, what more does a flower need? A leaf or two, a stem, a few petals.

There is beauty in its simplicity and vulnerability. While each type of flower has it's own unique beauty and symbolism, tulips have really touched me as of late. It's like the Universe is conspiring to get me to learn a lesson or something by putting so many of these in place at the same time I'm reading about vulnerability.

And since I can't really speak about anything without it somehow connecting back to my TS, I feel the need to mention how much Paula has helped me to become more vulnerable. For a kid that was ridiculously shy and quiet growing up and suddenly was center of attention a lot more than I wanted, I had to learn to open up. I had to talk to others. I learned to trust and love others.

Paula takes me out on a limb often. I have to talk to new people, I get put in situations most people try to avoid. Sometimes she pops up in the most awkward of places. but through all of those experiences, she has made what is hard and vulnerable for some into something I have become quite adept at. Vulnerability can lead to strength if we let it and if we use it right.

Aren't tulips just beautiful?

Photo by Ivan Gromov on Unsplash
 
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