Not Funny, Paula...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Paula likes to shake things up a bit every once in a while. She tends to push me to be more adventurous in that way. Like it or not, I'm always doing new things anyways! I think she is trying to tell me something with this new tic, too.

It's no secret that I like my sleep. I don't function very well if I get less than eight. Seven is doable, but I sleep a bit longer on weekends. Longer if I'm on vacation... However, Paula seems to dislike this particular trait in me. I do, too, to be honest, but my body just doesn't agree with me on this, I've tried.

She may or may not be mocking me with this new tic. It's hard to tell. However, she has started to crow like a rooster. I did it several times yesterday morning, and all before the sun came up. Someone turn that thing off, I'm going back to bed!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Paula's been pretty quiet today. Yesterday was a different story. Those will have to come later. I'm with family right now. Priorities. In the meantime, Merry Christmas!

Paula's Secrets

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I don't think she has any. She is kind of terrible with them. Then there is the fact that we share a brain. It's a little nerve wracking at times. It is Christmas, after all. I was trying to do a Secret Santa type surprise for a friend of mine. We work together, and while she is looking around trying to figure out who left it and seeking any possible hint, Paula lets out one of her songs. It happens to be "I Know Something You Don't Know." Yeah, that wasn't a big hint. Good thing she was in the other room.

Not helpful, Paula, and not cool.

Long Time No See!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sometimes it's nice to know that people actually like me just as much as they like Paula and that I can be just as memorable, even on my own. Its kind of validating, you know? Sometimes it gets hard to distinguish. After all, we tend to run together fairly often... This is so often how I meet people, this is something that is often discussed in conversation. Sometimes, I do wonder if Paula is more popular than I am.

Here is how I can tell people actually like me, despite being so well known for my tics. This occurrence has happened more than once, but it's slightly different every time. And every time I smile.

Once when I was a missionary, we had a meeting where we were all spotlighted with something special about us that everyone loved. When it was my turn, the leader said, "OK, everyone, what's our favorite thing about Hermana Smith?" At which point, everyone let out a loud squeal. Paula. They loved Paula.

However, as I go to mission reunions and run into these same missionaries, they are excited to see me. We start reminiscing about old times and catching up on each other's lives, when Paula (who at this point is not getting ANY attention-which is apparently a problem) gives a loud scream in protest. At this point in the conversation, my mission friends say, "OH! I forgot you did that!"

Jessica: 1 Paula: 0

Take that, you attention hog!

Out to Lunch

Friday, December 16, 2016

Paula really likes attention, but sometimes, we can't all have what we want. I don't think she believes it though. Paula seems to know how to get attention really well. I was lucky enough to be chosen for a lunch recognition at work. It's nice knowing I did something good... Paula was excited for me, too, I think. That or she was having a diva moment. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

So there I am with a large group of people from work at a public restaurant. Mimi's Cafe, to be exact. Paula lets out a nice loud cheer for me... and no one at the table bats an eye. Conversations continue, jokes are shared, no one even looks my way. Take that, Paula. No attention for you today! Oh wait, there is an entire restaurant full of very confused people.

Suddenly I see other people at other tables looking our way with the funniest confused looks. Some whisper. The waiters buzzing around are trying to be polite, but are also stealing glances any chance they get to find out what is with the strange noises. Paula wins, yet again. She is good at what she does.

What a Jerk!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sure, Paula may be cute and all, but she can really be quite mean. She likes to pick on innocent victims, especially when it's quiet. Last week, I was sitting in church. I was happily listening to the speakers and minding my own business, as was everyone else around me.

Paula, on the other hand, was not so much minding her own business. She was simply hiding out until the right moment to pounce. Luckily, that was not literal. It was a decent sized scream though. Even people who know me and know this happens, still get some pretty good jumps in. The girl in front of me in particular. Good thing we're friends already...

Then after I stifled my giggle and put a hand on her shoulder, Paula decides to laugh in her face. Again, nice and loud for everyone to hear what a jerk she is. Sometimes I just don't know what to do with Paula...

The Best and Worst

Friday, December 9, 2016

I am part of several Tourette Syndrome support groups on Facebook. I wanted to speak with others like me, to make sure I'm not completely off in left field with things that I'm trying to say and do for TS Awareness. I was so nervous as I got ready to publish my first book that everyone with TS would hate it and think I was crazy and I had gotten nothing right. I was terrified of backlash. While I haven't gotten any yet, I'm still a bit scared of that.

However, in joining these groups, I find myself moved to tears as I read post after post of struggles and trials. Some may be self inflicted, which is why I chose to move forward with publishing, hoping to help some one. One post I saw pop up more than once, usually by the same person was the complaint that the worst part of having TS is the people who don't have TS. This absolutely breaks my heart every time I see it.

In my case, this would be almost every single person I have ever met. In my 30 short years, I have met so many people, and three of them had TS. Two had even grown out of it and it was a thing of the past. Now I understand that all people are very different, and there have been reactions on the entire spectrum, positive to negative. I suppose I have been fairly blessed to not have run into anything TOO terrible (aside from getting kicked out of the social work program), but I know they are out there and people have to experience them.

However, at the same time, there are some wonderful people and responses. These always give me warm fuzzies and restore my faith in humanity.

For example, this past week at church, I let out a few noises (funny story on that later). After the meeting, a new gentleman in the ward stayed behind, waiting for me as the crowds began to disperse. When I got carried away chatting (like always), he jumped in, asking if I was ok. It took me a couple minutes to realize what he was talking about, then I got the opportunity to explain. He was very sweet and understanding, and actually apologized for bringing it up. He shouldn't. You know it's my favorite thing. He was just so sweet about it all though.

It touches me every time I see someone going out of their way to ask about me and their genuine concern, and to watch that turn to advocacy as they help me explain to others what is going on. It's different, I know that. It takes some time to understand. More importantly, it takes me explaining to others what is going on.

For me, people are the BEST part of having TS. I have said it before and I'll say it again. People are the BEST part! It teaches me to be more compassionate and understanding as others come to me with care and concern. It lets me feel smart explaining something they have never heard of. It helps me accept myself hearing others refer to me as "charming" and "memorable." And it's not just Paula! They say this about ME! How do I know? That might have to be a blog post in and of itself, but it's a great story. Watch for that one.

Point is, yes people can be frustrating and I can see why they can be considered the worst part. Just don't let them overshadow the good ones that provide the best moments.

Third Wheel

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's been a crazy week. Holidays are fun, but they get a little busy. I may not have written in a while, but that doesn't mean Paula hasn't been up to her antics. She always has a story. Sometimes it's hard to keep up, especially when my own life gets crazy. We shall see what happens as we roll into 2017. Come next year though, great things will be happening!

Anywho, back to the story! So remember how Paula will sometimes participate in stories I cannot hear? Well, she did it again, and rubbed it in my face to boot! Not only did she participate in a conversation I didn't hear, but when I asked about it, my friend said, "Paula knows." You know what that cheeky little Paula did? She said, "Yeah!" Way to rub it in my face...

Party Animal!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

So I'm sure I've mentioned before I always manage to find the coolest friends to hang out with. They have great ideas and love getting together to play. Last night, my friend Rachel decided to have a birthday party to kick off a birthday weekend. I didn't take any photos to show you the awesomeness, and for this I apologize.

Last night's plans included a mocktail party (like a cocktail party, but sans alcohol. We had sparkling cider and soda mixed with different syrups, etc) and dancing. Now I love dancing. A lot. I guess Paula does, too. She gave out a few loud cheers and even heckled a few people who sat down on the couch, goading them to get back up. She might be more of a party animal than I am. I was even one of the ones she heckled when I sat down for a bit. I wish I had her energy...


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I made another new friend yesterday. Paula is really great at this whole meeting people thing. She gets excited when there are new people around. I met him first, we were sitting at the same table with mutual friends. I don't know how long we were visiting before Paula decided to show up, but show up she did!

This is the hard part about being a writer with Tourette Syndrome. I wish sometimes I was a photographer or a musician that had things on hand to record these types of stories. Sometimes I wish you could just hear some of the crazy sounds she makes. Others I wish you could see the great faces people make. I may be a writer, but descriptions are hard. This would be one of those stories that I needed a camera.

My new friend David gave me this look. Looks, actually. I got multiple reactions and it was wonderful. Totally made my day. I'll do my best to 'splain. (I've been watching I Love Lucy reruns) He squinted his eyes and his head dipped, looking at me with concern. Then when Paula went off again before I even had a chance to giggle at his reaction.

This time, his eyes flew open and his head popped up, with a few looks side to side. What I imagine him thinking at this point, "What on earth is going on? Why is she screaming? Nothing's wrong? Why are people laughing at this? Is she ok? She has to be crazy." It took me a minute to catch my breath (from giggling, not Paula) before I was able to explain to him what was going on. David took it in stride once he knew and continued with dinner. Good times indeed.

Paula Is A Cheerleader

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Contrary to appearance, I do enjoy sports. I don't play because I can actually be very competitive and I'm not very coordinated and don't want to bring down the team. If we are playing just to goof off and no one is keeping score, I'm all in! I enjoy watching my friends play as well. I may not be the noisiest spectator though. I'm a terrible cheerleader.

On the other hand, at today's volleyball tournament, I got quite loud. Well, I didn't. Paula did though. I think she may be a better cheerleader than me. Not only does she get loud, she gets others (usually those that know about Paula) to cheer along with her. But the good news is we took 3rd place in regionals! Go Winder 2!

I love these people!

Paula is Adaptable

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Oh my Paula. She does well with change. I don't. It helps having her around though. If I am wanting a specific change, it's not so bad, but sometimes even slight differences can make me absolutely crazy if I am not prepared for them. I like my routine and I'm awkward enough as it is (which is wonderful, I do love awkward) without any kind of interruption of that rhythm. I like being efficient. Don't get in the way of my rhythm. Here comes the random Disney quote:
"He threw off my groove!' 'I'm sorry, you've thrown off the Emperor's groove.' 'Sooooorrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyy!"

Working for a little start up company means there is a lot of this. Every once in a while, once things finally start to get settled, it seems they like to toss all the pieces up in the air and go, "WHEEEEE!" and play musical chairs in the office. Moving days are fun. The first week is the adjustment period, which we just did this past week. All week long, Paula has enjoyed the move and has been quite noisy. All week long, thanks to sitting by new teams and new people, I have heard giggles all week long. It makes the change a little easier to know Paula is spreading a little joy around the office.

I Will Never Be Satisfied

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

If you know me at all, you know I have a soft spot for Broadway musicals and will work a line from music scores into everyday conversations. This must be one reason Paula and I get along so well. Lately she has become quite the songbird. She sang before, but lately this is all she does. Remember how I've recently been introduced to Hamilton? Well, she has now made her karaoke performances public.

The thing is, it's still fairly obscure. Not many people catch my references just yet. The other day at work, Paula started singing "Satisfied" in between phone calls. Click the link if you need to hear the song. Paula only sang one line from the chorus, when Garrett turns and says, "I actually like this song."

First of all, I was surprised he knew the reference. Instant bonding for me. I mean, Garrett was awesome before, but he gained some instant respect. Not only did he know the reference, but sometimes, it's difficult to really hear what Paula is trying to sing. She may be a diva and an aspiring opera star, but she, on occasion, reminds me of Miranda Sings. Shhhh, don't tell Paula, I'll feel it all day long tomorrow if she knew... So I was impressed. You go Garrett!

Well That's New

Monday, November 7, 2016

So today I heard something I have never heard before regarding my Tourette Syndrome. This is saying a lot considering all my crazy stories. There is a relatively new guy at work. He's been around for a month or two, but I am just getting to know him. As all new friends do, he started asking questions about my Tourette Syndrome. This alone makes my day. I love being able to explain and help people understand.

During the conversation, however, a new question came up. I have heard all sorts of crazy questions (including the ever awkward, "Do you do it when making out?" Sorry, not the best pick up line there, sir) but Jackson made me giggle before he even finished the question. He knows I am LDS and hold to my beliefs. He asked me, "Do you think that with your standards, it's given you such a strong will and your heart is so pure (this is where I started to giggle) that may be the reason you don't have the swearing form of Tourette's?"

That was so sweet of him to think I am that good of a person, but I am human. Psst, come closer. In fact, I have sworn on occasion and NOT because of my Tourette's! *Gasp!* Nope, I'm just lucky that I got the cute little noises rather than the swearing form. Although, Paula does get me in trouble from time to time, and the way she is evolving, who knows what she is capable of. It might happen one day. Then I will have even more interesting stories!

Paula's Laugh

Friday, November 4, 2016

We know Paula is funny. She pulls some pretty crazy stunts. One of her most recent is her laughter. It amuses me to no end. Especially with her timing. This past week, my church held a meeting in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake. It's a stunning building! I love old architecture. Just look at this.

The stunning outside

The magnificent interior

One of the speakers, one of my peers, told a joke. The congregation laughed, then Paula laughed, followed by more laughter from the crowd. I was so entertained by this! I was sitting behind the stand in one of the choir seats, so I got a clear view of all the laughter and confusion in the crowd. So perfect.

She has been doing a lot of laughing lately. In fact, she did it today at work. However, Ashley didn't seem to recognize what exactly Paula was up to. She giggled and responded that it sounded like a duck. It made me laugh all the harder. And I thought my laugh was bad, at least I don't sound like a duck!

TWO Costumes for Halloween!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Paula is still up to her antics and shocking and scaring people. Even if Halloween is over. New people are certainly her favorite. Yesterday, she decided to be a Diva. I mean, she already is, but yesterday, all she did was sing all sorts of tunes. Very operatic like, so I picture her in full Viking garb holding a skull on stage and everything,
There's my Diva!

In full opera form, she sang famous tunes such as, "Happy Birthday" and "I Know Something You Don't Know." Oh, and a few legit high notes with vibrato and everything. The really fun part is the new guy at work. After one quiet, but stirring rendition of "I Know Something..." he shook his head and said, "I'm going to have to get used to this. I jumped." I think she was trying to help him do just that, as she suddenly decided to sing for him again, but louder this time. 

Cue laughter! Where is my laugh track?!? CUT!!! Who's in charge of sound? *Angrily stomps off stage*

Yep, my Diva.

Party Time!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I went to an awesome Halloween party last night. The costumes were just so on par! I am super impressed. Mine was really simple and quite easy to throw together, but I'm sure many of these had been in the works for weeks in advance.

I went as a crayon. I had on a blue maxi, and put my hair up to look like the tip of a crayon. As it straight up. Super simple though, took me 5 minutes. Just for extra measure, I added a vest that looked like it could be an adult coloring book. Boom. Party ready.

But seriously, look at these awesome costumes. I wish I had gotten more photos!

Even Paula had a costume. Of course she did. She started off by screaming a few times. Some of the costumes were scary, ok? That ghost behind Tonks? Whoa.

Then she decided to turn into a bird. She got a few cheers, but she didn't win the costume contest. Such a shame.

This was the winning costume

Because Rosie the Riveter

In Preparation...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween is getting closer. Lots of people are getting excited about this. I've already mentioned this is not my favorite holiday. It's not awful, there is no such thing as an awful holiday or reason to celebrate. But meh.

Paula on the other hand... She is getting excited. Her ghost noises have come back. Scaring people in silence of course is there, too. I was asked today about costumes. I plan on being a crayon for Halloween. Trust me, it's awesome. I'll be sure to take a picture for you. I was also asked what Paula plans on doing for Halloween.

Last year, she was a dog. This year... I have no idea. Who knows what she has planned? I'm a little nervous, but at the same time, thanks to her past Halloween hauntings, I'm actually getting a little excited for the holiday, too...

Teacher's Pet

Monday, October 24, 2016

Today we had a training at work. Thrilling. Captivating. The stuff dreams are made of. Well, the cupcakes were good and I loved the people... Paula even made an appearance at this work meeting. Most of us were not entirely enthralled, but it was good and helpful information.

As one of my co workers was called on to read off the presentation, Paula decided to jump in and share her two cents. She doesn't read very well, it seems, but she had to get on the teacher's good side somehow, right?

Karaoke Day

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Today has been set aside for chores. I am cleaning and meal prepping... My roommate and I have found we have similar tastes in music, so we have been jamming out all day. Paula has quite been enjoying herself all day with that. Then we turned on the Hamilton soundtrack...

At this, I need to explain something. It has taken me some time to warm up to this music. I did not fall instantly in love with it as so many of my friends have. I had heard about it, and listened to a few songs. There were a few catchy lines, but for the most part, the music was not my style. I had to get into the story before the music could grow on me. So today is the first time I've really been able to really enjoy it the way it should be enjoyed.

Before we turned it on, Megan started humming a few bars. Paula decided to sing along to this song. Keep in mind, I haven't listened to this much, so I don't really know the tunes very well, but apparently Paula does and was a fan before I was. I may be slow, but I caught on, and yes, I am now a fan.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Actually, I don't know if that term best describes me or Paula. Especially when we are excited. We both get to be a little chatty on big days!

Like today! Normally on my breaks at work, you will find me reading and walking laps around the building. Not today, folks! So what did I do instead? I visited just about every department at work pretending I was in elementary school and it was show and tell day.

I have a proof for my book. I looked it over for errors. Found a few. Fixed them. Approved everything. Now Amazon says it will be ready in 3-5 days and I am relaunching on Monday! I had to show everyone, "Look, I have a physical copy of my book!" Paula was just as chatty today, too. Probably more than I was, since I could only go around the office on my breaks...

I Was Framed!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Paula made me look insane the other day. I couldn't help laughing like a maniac, and it only added to the scene that played out beforehand. It may have appeared to be an evil plot, but Paula was just doing her thing!

The really interesting part is that Kimber started it! We had been messaging back and forth (as we work on opposite corners of the room. Things have gotten little slower at work, so the room was quiet. While I may not recall exactly what Kimber was trying to pull, I do remember threatening to send Paula after her. Kimber didn't think Paula would dare. The second I read Kimber's note, Paula let out a loud, blood curling scream!

Due to the quiet office, everyone jumped and had to gather their bearings for a minute or two.... While Kimber and I laughed like we escaped an asylum. Tis the season, I suppose, for creepy things like insane laughter and making people jump.

Paula Turns Shy?

Monday, October 10, 2016

The longer I have Tourette Syndrome, the more it tends to grow up an awful lot like a child. Paula is getting ready to turn about 14. I wish I could remember the actual date I started and throw her a birthday party. Maybe then she wouldn't be so bratty. It's kind of funny, she even seems to be going through that phase that girls tend to go through during that time (at least I did) where the self confidence wavers.

Lately I have noticed Paula become more defensive. People laugh at her antics, and she has started snapping back. Rather than laughing with them, she has started saying, "Hey!" and "What?" My poor little Paula is getting self-conscious! Part of me feels like a concerned parent, wondering what happened to my noisy little Paula. Then she kicks my shoulder and I say, "Oh there she is." Apparently the physical tics want a turn in the spotlight. Maybe she is not so shy after all.

Here We Go Again!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Remember how Paula's favorite holiday is Halloween? Well, she's already getting ready and getting excited. Step 1: Scare people out of their wits. Check. She even scared me today! I was NOT expecting this. Granted, I'm never expecting her antics, but her timing, as always, was on par.

For once, the call center at work was quiet. There was not a sound, which is unusual. No ringing phones, no contractors... we weren't even talking to each other between calls! You could hear a pin drop as we all worked on various projects.

All of a sudden, my head snaps back and I let out a loud, high pitched scream. I was pretty sure the poor woman behind me was about to have a heart attack!! I think my heart skipped a beat! However, at the same time, it was hilarious. Especially knowing Paula like I do. So I covered my mouth and tried not to make it known. I kept getting louder and louder until I am laughing like a maniac. Maybe one of those mad clowns roaming the country and scaring the wits out of people.

Definitely Halloween time. Be on your guard.

Hidden Talent

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sometimes, Paula can be that one friend. She's the one that points out that I have some hidden... well, I wouldn't say talent, more like a stupid human trick. She likes to point these out to people.She does things, people ask questions, and things just kinda go from there.

For example, today I was with a group of friends watching a religious broadcast. I quite love it and was wide awake taking notes. A few of us may have been a little drowsy. There were a few yawns going around. So Paula decided to wake everyone up with a loud and high pitched squeal. My friend Brett (who would only allow me to use is name if I mentioned what an amazing marketer he is-true story though) turns to me and asked, "Can you sing that high?"

Well, truth be told, I am a high soprano, and yes, I can sing that high. One day I should really test my range and see just how high I can go and see if I could actually break glass, because that would be an awesome talent.

Instead of breaking glass, it came out that I can in fact sound like a cricket. Like this. This one is a noise I can control. In fact, requires a lot of breath and control to make it, so it doesn't really count as one of Paula's animal noises. This one is all me.

Wait Your Turn!

Friday, September 30, 2016

So we all know that Paula is incredibly chatty. We also know she can be rude on occasion. But today she took it to a whole new level!

I was training a new girl at work. She is starting to take her own calls, so she asked me a question as she finished one. Not only did Paula decide to speak up, she told a stinking story and it just kept going! I couldn't even get out a simple yes! Which made everyone else giggle in the office.

New girl hasn't asked about it all week long, so I think Paula must have been trying to either show off or chew her out. Paula does like her attention, after all! In fact, that very topic came up for discussion at work, how she hadn't asked about it, and everyone shared their first interactions with Paula, so we were all in stitches laughing at her antics.What would I do without this craziness known as Paula?

Paula Is a Story Teller

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

So on occasion, I tend to help out with training at work. I've mentioned before that new people are just fun trying to gauge new reactions. So today I was training a sweet and intelligent young woman. She didn't have much reaction to Paula's initial attempts to start a conversation, though.

So being true to her bratty, selfish self, she just started a full one sided conversation. She kept going for a solid 30 seconds, which is actually unusual for her. She will speak up, but her outbursts are short and come and go like when she responds to others. I've never seen a full story come out of her. 

I wish I knew what was going on in that creative mind of hers. Especially since we share it... Sometimes I need some of that creativity, too!

I Missed It!!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

So Paula is literally a part of me, right? We share the same brain. I'm ALWAYS present when my tics go off. It's not like I won't be in the room when she goes off. You would think I know all her funny stories right? Not so much.

Typically with TS, when a person is focused, they don't tic as much. For someone like me, with such a mild case, that usually means I don't tic. Period. At least that's what I thought. Apparently I was wrong.

Today I was focusing on something at work. All of a sudden, I got an IM from a friend on the other side of the room giggling about Paula. "What about Paula?" She then had to explain that Paula was apparently singing, and I hadn't even noticed! Which made this friend laugh even harder. I guess I am just used to her or something? But I'm really disappointed I missed a good story!! Paula stories are the best!!

Paula's Sound Effects

Monday, September 19, 2016

There were so many times during the play that I was asked to please make this happen, but it never did. Until now. Paula's antics are getting bigger, and as always, perfectly timed. I was in church yesterday and we were singing one of my favorite hymns, "How Great Thou Art."

There is a line that talks about when I hear the birds, "sing sweetly in the trees." Paula let out a nice, loud bird cry exactly during this line. I wasn't the only one that chuckled, but it did take the rest of the verse before I could get myself together enough to continue singing. Her timing, as always, was perfect!

Paula is Ambitious

Friday, September 16, 2016

There always has to be something new with Paula. She must really like change or something. She likes to learn new tricks. She might be more ambitious than I am! Granted, over the past several weeks and months, I have been doing a lot of changing, but the good kind. "All good things, all good things..." (Remember how I like Disney?)

Because who doesn't love a goofy Hawaiian snowman?

But I digress... Paula attempted reading today. Kinda. More like she made the noise I was typing. It did happen to be a tic she already had, but the timing... Oh the timing!! To say "Weeeeeeeeeeee" as I was typing it was kind of impressive to me. Look at my little Paula all grown up!! No wonder I had to quote a kids' movie to celebrate a milestone for my little tics.

Who Knew?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Remember how Paula loves attention? No? Try this one. It's a good read. I guess my introvert is rubbing off on her extrovert. That or else she really is a big jerk. It can be seen either way. Today while chatting with a friend of mine, Paula giggle.

Now, she has been known to laugh before. Like here. But today, she put a new twist on it. She giggled. It was almost like a whisper. Paula is never that quiet, unless she isn't showing up at all. Crazy Paula. Always has to knock me for a loop, just when I think I know what is going on. Funny how people are the same way.

Paula's Kind Of A Jerk...

Friday, September 9, 2016

She was on one today, I tell you what! Normally I like having Paula around, but today was not my favorite. I have noticed, however, that the older I get, the more my Tourette Syndrome progresses. I like to say I'm "growing into it" as opposed to those who grow out of it. Which is what made today so unique. Paula often responds to people around and usually likes people. Apparently she doesn't hide it well on the other side.

I work in a call center. I spend all day on the phones. Unfortunately, I'm kind of good at it, so I am not able to move in the company as much as I would like. I was speaking with a contractor at work today. He is a great contractor and a nice guy. I've spoken to him before, but today on the phone, there was something about his voice that made Paula go absolutely crazy! By the end of the call, my shoulder was SO tense for jerking forward so many times that I had to take an early lunch to chill a bit. That wasn't very nice of Paula. Good thing it was a phone call, because ticcing like that in front of someone might not have gone over well...

Paula the Pacifist

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Paula is definitely not ok with violence. For all her bratiness, and picking fights and debates, she kinda freaked out today. It should have been such a small thing. Someone's alarm went off. However, this particular alarm sounded more like a bomb was about to go off. In fact, one of my co workers stated that very fact.

It was then that Paula went off. First some incoherent babbling. Then a scream! Just for good measure, tossed in a shudder as well.

Pacifist Paula could not tolerate much of that. At least she was able to lighten the mood by giving my co workers yet another giggle for the day! And now I know to stay away from action movies, or I might end up kicked out of the movie for all her noises and dancing! Maybe she will know those are fake though...

Sassy Pants!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yeah, we all know Paula is a sassy pants type of person. Which makes it fun when she is around other sassy pants people. The back and forth just gets SO entertaining!! I still work with Adelana, but we are now in different departments, this is a different sassy co worker. And oh, was Paula on one today!!

Ashley was looking for something and exclaimed, "I can't find it!" To which Paula instantly imitated every part with the exception of actual words. She is still working on those. Ashley was not impressed.

She turned to me with a sharp gasp and said, "Oh she did not!"

Ashley went all "mom" on Paula. I was too busy laughing to give Paula a change to give a response. It actually had me laughing most of the day! This is one of my new favorites I think! Then again, most of Paula's stories are...

Jealous Much?

Monday, August 29, 2016

This is an important post. Especially for those that have Tourette Syndrome. I had a friend of mine tell me she is sometimes jealous of my TS. And she was serious. She is also not the first person to tell me this. My friend Carlos also told me the same thing once. Jenna told me how much she loved sitting by new people in church, especially when Paula came around. She, like me, gets a kick out of watching them twist around, trying to figure out where the noise came from and why no one is reacting.

Here's the thing, when people are on the outside looking in, they only see the good things. Especially when this comes from people that love us. Sure, they don't always see the struggles that come with having TS. However, the funny thing is, we often don't see the good in ourselves either. Not only do we want to be skinner, more muscular, more graceful and so on... but we also think we need to get rid of anything not "normal" and any "bad" traits we have. It frustrates me. I love being around people and getting the positive affirmation of kind, supportive, caring and intelligent people. It's hard not to feel proud of Paula when people like Jenna can admire it!


Saturday, August 27, 2016

No, not Paula. She always has something to say. But she did leave a friend of mine speechless the other day. He was talking about how early he had to be at some event or another. He was going to be exhausted trying to get there by 8 AM. I don't think Paula was amused as I normally have to be at work by 6 AM.

Granted, Brenden stays up later than I do. He is still in college after all. Paula, however, did not seem to think this as an excuse. She went off on him! She even got my head shaking with attitude. Brenden just stood there while she was on her little soap box. By the time she finished, he really had nothing left to say. So, since actions speak louder than words... he stuck his tongue out at me!!

I guess sometimes, that is really the only response you can give to Paula.

Poor Newbie...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Paula can be a brat sometimes. Apparently, so can I!

On occasion, I help train at work, so I get to be one of the first ones to meet new hires. And no one thinks to warn them ever. Today I trained a sweet and smart girl, who picked up on everything really quickly. Paula must have been proud of her, because she kept cheering her on from time to time... I stepped away from my desk for a minute, and when I came back had a message from her cousin, who also works here.

She asked if I was training her cousin, to which I replied I was. After the new girl went to lunch, I told my friend that her cousin is awesome and it must run in the family. She then proceeded to tell me about a few text messages that were exchanged while I had stepped away from a minute.

Apparently this poor new girl thought I was yelling at her and asking what she was doing wrong. She felt better after my friend was able to interpret for her what was going on and explain a little about the fact that I have Tourette Syndrome.

I didn't even think about it that way until my friend told me what was going on. We had a good giggle and I asked her to apologize for me. I didn't mean to make her feel bad on her first day. Guess I better start warning people!

Paula is Famous

Friday, August 19, 2016

So now that Paula has officially published a book, I feel like I have become a bit of a celebrity. It is truly humbling to see all of the support I have received. The cool thing about social media is being able to watch your reach. I have created so many different ways to try to connect with people to be able to share my message. It's amazing to see how publishing a book has multiplied that reach.

Not only that, but there have been such marvelous experiences. I was chosen to have my book featured on a website publication on Check out the article I wrote HERE. I'm kind of proud of how it is doing there and the fact that I was selected at all! My Facebook and emails have been absolutely blowing up and anytime I go out with a group of friends, it tends to come up. I'm so blessed to be surrounded by such support.

I'm still blown away by the fact that I have published a book. I'm brought to tears at the sweet reviews I read and perfect strangers reaching out to me to see more of my work. I am so excited to watch this grow. I can't help but be overcome with the sense of this is why I was born. This is why I'm here and what I'm meant to do. There will be more books to come and this time, it won't take me so long!

It Is Finished!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It's done! It's finally done and I have finally published Awkwardly Strong: From Insecure to Inspirational!! Here's the catch... Once you hit "Save and Publish," it goes for review, which can take a day or two... then they put you in this "stealth mode" which I'm not really sure what is going on with that... All I know is they will send me an email when my book is live and officially published. Until then, I don't think I can really do anything with it. Maybe I can and just can't figure it out (which is highly possible).

The good news is, it's still pretty much done that I have commenced the happy dance.


Run Away

Sunday, August 7, 2016

So this is not a Paula post. Sure, Paula tends to just run off, and she does it often. This time, however, it's my turn! I'm taking a week long vacation to finalize things with my book and just relax with my family. I love going home and love my family. I'm super excited to play with nephews and do some swimming. However, I still have lots of work to do!

How does one determine how much work to do on a vacation? hahaha It's a good thing I like writing so much and am so excited for my book to come out, I don't think I really consider it work. I'm so grateful to have something I love so much that I can make a career out of. Being able to write just makes me so happy, I've done it most of my life anyways. I've kept journals since I was about eight years old.

Being home makes me realize just how long the written word has been a part of me. Speaking with my old friends and neighbors and discussing how I was always reading and the many, many hours of "practice" I have put into this. I feel like I have come around full circle. I have come home, I'm writing as I used to when I was a kid (and really pretty much since) and my childhood in a way becoming my future. Sometimes, it's good to run away.

Time Marches On

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

So the past few days while I am waiting on some finalization for my book, I have had a few dear friends drop into town and I was able to spend a few hours with some of the special people in my life. I love that no matter how long I am away from these people, the comfort level never changes and conversation flows so easily about every concern and detail of my life. I love having people to confide in.. Even a few tics that I'm not ready to publicly share. Maybe one day I can get to those.

Both of these visits with both of these friends, Paula was sure to make her appearance. She got almost as chatty as I did! Not only that, but one friend even got to see my new flirty tic and saw me wink a few times. I love having people understand me on such a level, having known me for many years, and am amazed at how often even they had to ask questions as things have evolved and changed. Even a span of a couple months, Paula can change and evolve so much, much less years.

While they spend time getting reacquainted with Paula, I'm glad they still know and understand me. I know I run the two together a lot, but they are quite different and distinct. It's good to know people still know me, even when Paula catches them off guard.

Reality Sets In

Sunday, July 24, 2016

So this is going to just be a fast post, I wanted to touch base and let you know first of all, why I have not been posting as much and secondly the exciting news!

As many of you know I am working on publishing a book. This is taking a lot more time than I anticipated and is a project I have essentially been working on for 4 years now! About a year ago I knuckled down to really follow through and holy time consumer batman! I'm proud that I have been able to still keep up fairly well, but the last few weeks have certainly seen a dip in posts. Why?


Well, assuming all comes together like it should. I just got the full manuscript back from my editor and there are still a few things I need to tweak, then formatting and it. Is. DONE! I will try to keep up on Paula's antics, but if I'm MIA, at least you know why!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paula doesn't whisper. Then again, this post really isn't about Paula. Not directly, anyways. A few weeks ago I was sitting in church. The building was incredibly quiet and the atmosphere pensive. Paula, doing her usual attention grabbing thing, jumped out. Not just once, a few times and nice and loud. My favorite part was the whispers that followed.

"She has Tourette Syndrome." "It's Tourette's." "Oh, that happens, her Tourette Syndrome is great!"

I'm sure there were more conversations that followed. If not, there might have been more research. I love the awareness that Paula spreads for herself. Best of all, that due to awareness she has already spread, others now get to help in this endeavor and can now answer questions. If they don't know the answer, the know where to to get it.

It's funny, I have heard people with Tourette Syndrome say that the worst part about TS, is the people that don't have it. However, I'm kind of a fan of my ability to be different and share and sometimes, even educate others on what it is and how it affects me.

These whispers bring joy to my heart that others can do the same. Share the love, people.

Paula is a Flirt

Friday, July 15, 2016

I have started another new tic. It's not even a new vocal tic, it is a physical one. The best part is, it's not even one that hurts! It was actually kind of subtle at first, I don't really know when it started, but I am noticing it happening more and more. Especially around large groups of people. It is also certainly a happy tic. In fact, it's the most flirty tic I have. I think Paula might be better at this dating thing than I am!

She has started winking! Oh I wink once in a while, but not as often as I find myself doing it now. I mostly started to notice this was a new tic when I did all alone one day. I may or may not have been thinking about a conversation I had the day before with a cute guy, but that certainly does not merit winking all alone now does it? I'm pretty sure this is a tic. I'm not too upset about this one though! I certainly plan to take advantage of it!

Paula Takes Care of Me

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sometimes I wonder if she doesn't see things better than I do. It's not hard, I've had glasses since I was in 5th grade. Except I don't mean that kind of seeing. She recognizes patterns in my life and helps me to see what is going on. Sometimes a little better than I can. It's kind of nice having a gauge of what is going on internally when I am not paying attention.

I am a big advocate of mental health, especially given some of the things I have experienced in my life. I have been very blessed to have such wonderful people help me to regain my footing and get back into stable territory. Those experiences have been slightly traumatic though, and very easy to see when things are going wrong and that I need help. Who wouldn't have a hard time breaking off an engagement for example? Even if you haven't broken off an engagement, life still gets stressful. Stress greatly affects our mental health and it needs to be taken care of and watched just as much as our physical health.

Lucky me, I have a stress-o-meter. When I get stressed and need to take a step back, I usually would try to plow through and get things done anyways. Paula won't stand for it. She cares about me apparently and when I get stressed, tics increase, making it necessary for me to stop and take that step back I mentioned I never take. It will either be by the pain caused from physically ticcing so much, so she might physically not let me touch the mouse at work. (She did this the other day. The keyboard was ok, but no mouse!) I certainly appreciate her thoughtfulness and consideration of my mental health.

Paula Is a Schemer!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Paula can border on being a jerk sometimes! I think she secretly makes plans to creep people out. She doesn't even let me in on the secret when she does it either. I guess it makes me a bit of a jerk that I laugh when she does it though. I"m not necessarily always laughing at the other person. Maybe once in a while. Mostly I am laughing at what  brat Paula is. So cheeky that one!

This morning at work, Paula screamed. My co worker that sits behind me must have jumped, though I didn't see it. She did, however, turn around and say, "Oh my goodness, you scared me!" Before I could do anything, Paula jumped in and gave her two cents. "I know!" Oh, I just about died laughing. Not at my poor co worker, but of this bratty side of me. I promise, I don't plan it!

Paula's Interruptions

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I have been terrible at posting lately, but it's only because things are moving along so well with my book! It should be out within a month you guys! I am so excited, and have been working furiously on my book description and tweaking the back cover and dimensions and all sorts of things I had no idea were involved in the book writing process! Especially since most of the book is with my phenomenal editor.

Don't let that fool you though, Paula is still up to her antics. She must be getting a bit impatient for the book release or something. Usually she is very polite and waits until I finish talking or doing something to show up. Lately, she has been jumping in whenever she darn well pleases. I understand this is more typical in the TS community and Paula is unique, but I miss my polite little Paula! Yesterday at work she wouldn't let me touch the mouse. My shoulder would jerk anytime I got close. I could use the keyboard, but no clicking for Jessica. Granted I had been a little stressed out, so she was a little more aggravated than usual. I wasn't able to get much work done until I took a break and calmed down a bit though. She can just be so cheeky when she wants attention!

Paula Can Be Quiet

Friday, July 1, 2016

Paula has been very active the past few months. There has been so much going on in my life, and she has loved the excitement and attention. There have been lots of blog posts to share that as well. This past week has been kind of quiet though. Not only has it been a quiet calendar, but Paula has be quiet as well. I find myself missing her. She makes my life much more entertaining. My life suddenly feels so empty without five or six new stories per day.

Oh sure, Paula sang "Final Countdown" at work today, but we already know she is a singer. And that was almost her only appearance. She wasn't around to make me smile with her antics. We already knew she loves people and gets pretty vocal when I am excited and happy... Which begs the question... do I have no stories because Paula isn't around, or is Paula around because I have no stories? Maybe I should be making a few more changes in my life... little more sociality or something!

Paula is Successful!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I have been so incredibly grateful this entire week. First, for all the amazing people I have in my life. They are fun, they are inspiring, they are everything I want to have in my life. They keep me busy and this is a great thing! I am so lucky to have them in my life and I'm fairly certain Paula has played a large role in cementing many of these relationships. Either by breaking the ice to speak with them, by being able to share and open up, which led to deeper conversations or maybe they just like her more. She is entertaining, and I wouldn't be surprised. Whichever way it is, these people are in my life and I am a better person for it.

Secondly, I am finally living a dream. My elementary school yearbook predicted I would be an author. I took a little longer to realize it, but I love that I have written a book! I love how many people find it interesting and want a copy! I love the conversations it opens! I love that this book is doing more than I ever could and I get to tag along for the ride!

Thirdly, not only am I living a dream, but it is successful! It hasn't even become available yet and I already get to be featured on a website! It won't happen until the book is actually published, but I am making connections and working on getting on a few podcasts, too!! Paula Jean has really done a number on my life and I am oh so grateful to have her in my life!!

Paula Loves People

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sometimes Paula is a little bit more considerate than I am. Today in church, the teacher asked for a volunteer to write a list on the board as the class called out suggestions. Paula was quick to volunteer. Luckily for me and my terrible handwriting, so were a couple of other girls, so I was off the hook. Now I have to be careful where I take Paula if she is going to start volunteering for things. Don't get me wrong. I like to give and to serve. I should probably be careful going to auctions though. She might get me into a bit of trouble!

Sometimes it can be helpful though. I went with my ward to Bear Lake this weekend (and had a blast, thanks for asking! SO beautiful!). I went up a day later than others though, so I had to find the girls that I was staying with so I could put my stuff in the tent. While she didn't use their specific names, she seemed to be attempting to play Marco Polo. It still took a while to find them, but find them we did! I sure love my sweet and giving Paula!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The other day I went to a brunch with a few people from work. It was a reward for recognition for the month of May. Yay me! Paula was super excited. She was quite active as we sat in the cafe. I got there late and sat at the opposite end of the table from everyone I usually work with, but they knew I was there! As did the several waiters taking care of us. As we were getting ready to go, my friends commented on the entertainment of watching the waiters trying to figure out what was going on and why no one else was reacting.

However, my favorite part of the whole brunch was near the end. Paula shouted at a stranger and we made eye contact as he was walking past our table. This guy became my new favorite person as he walked past and said, "That's how I feel, too." I responded with, "Right?" I then laughed about it for the rest of the day!

Nephews Are The Greatest!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Over the weekend, I went home for my nephew's 4th birthday. This kid is a stud! He already has a dirt bike (with training wheels of course!) and a mo-hawk. He also loves his Aunt Jessie. He made me promise months ago that I would be home for his birthday. The funny thing is that his parents took him into Vegas to a water park with his cousins. Which meant I got to stay home and babysit his little brother. Also a stud. He doesn't have a mo-hawk just yet, but he can't even talk yet either, so he might be a little young.

At just 14 months, he is a hoot. He is so different from his older brother! When Brantley (the now 4 yr old) was this age, he did not like Paula. He didn't like loud noises in general and when Paula showed up, he would look at me, and slowly start to cry. Then we would have to basically start over every time I came home. He would be super shy and sling to his mom before he would warm up to me.

Rowdy, on the other hand, is no where near as cautious as his brother. In any way! He follows Brantley anywhere, even if he doesn't have the coordination and ends up falling on his face. I have photos of this kid with a mouth full of blood- and smiling! he is fearless and as happy of a baby as anyone could want. So when Paula shows up, he will always turn and face me before smiling. On occasion, he would even giggle at me. That just made me melt. It was a good distraction for him to get into something. He is one you have to keep an eye on! I just love these boys!

Shout Out to You!

Friday, June 17, 2016

See what I did there? I just wanted to take a break from Paula's antics to say thank you. Thank you for reading my blog posts, for your excitement about my book, and for just being a part of my life. Maybe I'm feeling reflective since the play is ending soon. Maybe it's the thought of publishing my 100th blog post (!), the lesson in church this past week on gratitude or even all the great things soon to be happening with my book launch and continuing to write. Whatever the reason, today I am grateful for you.

I've joined a few FB support groups for TS as of late and sometimes I am amazed at how often people are discouraged and embarrassed by their tics, as well as some of the terrible things people say and do. It makes me ever so much more grateful for the wonderful people I know and for the love and support shown to both me and Paula. I am grateful for the excitement for my book. I am grateful for the laughs. I am grateful for the interactions between you and Paula, and I am grateful to be able to both watch and be a part of all this at the same time. So THANK YOU for reading and for your love and support!!

Paula is Proud

Monday, June 13, 2016

She is proud in a good way, though. Remember this rehearsal that Paula loves so much? Sadly, these are over. This week has been absolutely, crazily wonderful. I can't believe how blessed I have been to spend time singing and dancing with some of the most inspirational people I have ever met! Paula sure loved them, and was so proud of what we accomplished.

We had our dress rehearsal on Thursday evening. After we did some visiting with those that came to give feedback, our amazing director told us to give ourselves a round of applause. As the clapping died down, Paula cheered with a  "whoo-hoo!!" Commence laughter. Paula got a few cheers herself for that one! A few shouts of, "Yay Paula!" and "I love Paula!" were also heard.
I love these people and this experience.

MTC Throwback!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I figured I would give this Throwback Thursday idea a try! Paula started loving attention around the time I went into the Missionary Training Center back in 2007. She started becoming much louder than she had before. In fact, it became a game for her, as well as those in my class learning Spanish as we went to various locations. She has quite the range! The MTC in Provo can accommodate up to 3,800 missionaries (at least that is the current number. It might have been less back in the day!) On Tuesday nights, there was a devotional and we would put as many as would fit in one large room to hear the speaker. My companion and I were a little late and were on the very back row. Paula got a nice loud screech out before the meeting started and we watched the rest of our class (on about the fifth row) whirl around in their seats searching for me!

It was there I also received the first nickname regarding my TS. One day as I was teaching a lesson, my teacher at the time forgot my name. I was still pretty new, so it is understandable. So for her notes, she wrote at the top of the page where it should have had my name, "Hermana Hipo." The Spanish translation is "Sister Hiccup." At the time I was undiagnosed, so it was the closest description we really had! Good times back in the day!

Attitude & Sass

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I continue to be amazed at how much personality Paula has. She is even expanding her vocabulary to prove how sassy she is.

The other day at rehearsal (of course!) she let off a few chirps. It's gotten to a point where the cast now responds to Paula's antics. She got a quick reply of, "Oh, really!" Her chirps may show a certain level of sass, but not near as much as her quick reply, "Yeah, buddy!" This isn't even a phrase I use!! I have no idea where it came from. It actually leaves me a little speechless. Not really good when I profess to be a writer, but you are welcome for the short post today!

Rough Day

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Yesterday was the worst I have ever seen my tics. My physical tics were incredibly active and painful. Both shoulders and my back were moving way more than a person who normally sits at a desk all day should. It even went up into my neck a few times. I hurt so much by the end of the day and my muscles were SO tight.

I eventually couldn't stand it any more and asked a friend of mine to work out at least one massive knot I had in my back. As she worked, my right arm started turning red as I suddenly had so much more blood flowing through my veins. It worried me a little. I also have a chiropractor appointment today. I need that as much as I need the massage, guaranteed!

On the upside, I am so very grateful that I have such sweet friends who are willing to take care of me. I hate asking for anything, and I wanted to cry when she was so willing. Also upside, I'm grateful something as simple and easily accessible as a massage will help on bad days. I might have to find myself an affordable massage therapist. Maybe I can get some kind of deal with a medical need! hahaha!

Stink Eye

Monday, May 30, 2016

No, this is not a new tic, thank heavens! New things do happen, though. For example, sometimes I go new places, where no one knows me, or about Paula. The reactions are always so very different. Some fun, others not so fun, depending on how much I am able to explain or interact with the other person. On occasion, I am in situations where I am unable to explain or play with Paula. Times like this, I get a lot of stink eye.

For example, going to church in a new place. Once I was sitting behind an entire row of girls, and during the most quiet part of the meeting, Paula decided not to be so quiet. The whole row jumped. It was difficult trying to stiffle my giggle. All four or five of them jumped at least a foot up and all perfectly together. I managed to stay quiet, but when they all again, in perfect unison, turned to glare at me, I couldn't keep it in. I let out a few chuckles, which I'm sure didn't help their view of me. Lucky for me that I never saw them again I guess!

Not really, I would have liked to explain and make new friends. Paula is good at doing that for me. I'm not sure how much of it is them feeling guilty for judging me so quickly vs actually wanting to be my friend, but either way good things happen. Whether it's just awareness or an actual friendship. Either way is a blessing in my life and I'm grateful for the chance.

Stare Down

Friday, May 27, 2016

The musical I am in opens in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!!! It's going to free up a lot more time for blogging and writing and all the fun jazz that goes with it once it finishes. I will be able to get out more posts! Except, it also gives me so many good writing stories. So, there's that... Like the first time I got to practice with the children's choir that is involved in the play. These adorable ones are elementary age, and not shy.

In fact, I am fairly certain the only thing not stopping some awesome comments was the distance I always was when Paula decided to show up and taunt the kids from across the stage. There was one cute little girl in particular who turned and just started at me. I waved. She kept staring. I turned it into a staring contest. I'm not sure who won (which probably means I lost- go figure) as the music started and dancing recommenced. Can't break character after all. The show must go on!!!

Paula Has Copycats Of Her Own

Monday, May 23, 2016

It's not secret, Paula loves rehearsals. She has made some wonderful friends. We both have. I'm a fan of these people! They are incredibly creative and hilarious and kind. They do some of the most random things and it just makes it so easy to play with them. Paula thinks so, too. For example, my friend William Kesler is a talented actor. He pulls the most random faces and knows how to make people laugh.

The other day, he made a noise and thought to himself, "Gee, that sounded a lot like Paula." (True story, he told me so later.) As cool as it would have been for her to echo and make the exact same noise, I can't control Paula. So the best I could do was yell, "That noise is copyrighted, William!" Paula made that noise long before he did! Now who is the copycat? Luckily, he thought I was funny. See what a sweet person he is? He even laughs at my weird jokes!

Stress- It's a Killer, Sir

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I don't often get stressed. I try to avoid it at all costs. Paula doesn't like it much. TS is typically agitated by stress or excitement. I have noticed I do both. Paula gets more vocal when she gets excited. It becomes this cycle of awesomeness. It's a great day, and Paula does something funny, and people laugh more, and she pops out more, etc.

However, when Paula gets stressed, things tend to cycle the other direction. I'm already stressed, then my shoulder tic gets more agitated. The more that acts up, the tighter my muscles get. It got to a point this week that I literally couldn't sit in my chair to get any work done. I had to take a 15 min break to lap the building a few times and loosen myself up. I had both of my shoulders going, which made my back muscles tighten and twitch as well. It was pulling my neck in weird directions as well. It was painful, not gonna lie. At least I know how to tone it down. Tone down the stress!

Paula Is A Teenager

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sometimes, all I can do is just sigh and shake my head at Paula. We've established pretty well that Paula has  mind of her own. She can be quite a brat sometimes. I mean, she is thirteen years old. No really, I started ticcing at age seventeen. I am now thirty. I have been ticcing for thirteen years! Crazy to think so much time has gone by since my first little peep while working in a public library. 

The crazy thing is, sometimes she does act like a teenager. a few years ago, while working at Dillards, we had a new assistant manager come to our store. Everyone was so excited to see how he would react to Paula. Funny thing was, she NEVER showed up when he was around. We figured she was shy around him. She was a few years younger after all...

I mean really, who wouldn't? Look at these guys!
However, this teenage ticcer has suddenly lost her cute little shyness she once had around new boys... Rehearsal, Again. Maybe now I know why she likes the play so much. As a group of guys were practicing their number "Those Canaan Days," Paula decided she would cat call to them. Her nice loud "Whoo whoo!" got a few giggles from several others in the cast. Can't say I blame her though!  

Paula's Hobby

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Paula can be pretty creepy. We've already established the phantom aspect, but she is just so good at it. She pulled another phantom today. At work, I have been moved to the top floor. My friend Kimber works in the room just below mine. We both get into work pretty early, so it tends to be a little more quiet. I was upstairs working, and Paula decides to say good morning. Nothing too loud, she didn't have a lot of people to grab attention from. Pretty mellow, no big deal, right?

WRONG! I suddenly have a message pop up on my computer screen from Kimber. She told Paula good morning. I giggled thinking she didn't realize Paula had just popped up. To my surprise, her next message said that Kimber had indeed, heard Paula. It was like she was reading my mind!!

Kimber then went on to explain she turned to Kayla and asked if she heard it. Sadly, she did not. Kimber would have thought she was going crazy if she didn't know that my shift had started. There has to be a vent or something that allowed her to hear such a quiet noise while being on a different floor! That or Paula learned how to throw her voice really well. Maybe she should become a ventriloquist...

Who Will Volunteer?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

My ward recently had a talent night. I go to church with A LOT of SERIOUSLY talented people. In between the entertainment, our emcee asked for four volunteers. Specifically those who were good at history. I like history, but I am by no means an expert. I used to be, but I have gotten rusty, I admit. I had no plans on volunteering. I was just happy to be there and thoroughly entertained. Between Paula and I, we had the cheering section covered.

I guess Paula didn't think it was enough to cheer. Remember how she likes being the center of attention? There were three volunteers, and the emcee was asking for just one more. So Paula yelled. Apparently everyone took that as a volunteering cry. The emcee called on Paula and several audience members tried to cheer for her. It took a while to convince them that Paula does NOT speak for Jessica. Good thing, too. Instead of a history quiz, it turned out to be a hula hoop competition. No talent there, thank you very much! At least not from Jessica. I would be very afraid to see what Paula comes up with should she really end up in a hula hoop competition!

Probably something like this.

Show Stopper

Friday, May 13, 2016

Paula really loves rehearsals. They give her a chance to really shine and show off her talent (insert eye roll here). After running act 2, we were gathering around to go over notes. Being the festive crowd we are, everyone was still chatting as we gathered.

Well, Paula likes being helpful, so maybe she was just trying to quiet everyone down. That or she is trying to take over as director. I can't tell. Never can with Paula... I assumed the former at the time.

She let out a loud screech and the room silenced. This is unusual as most of the cast tends to just ignore her; unless she is stealing lines again. I was not expecting the entire room to turn my way, so I was playing back with Paula, and made a motion like I was cutting off music. As I realized all eyes were suddenly on me, I sank to the floor as a few chuckles rolled out. Paula doesn't usually embarrass me, but this sure did! I'm sure I was red as a stop sign. Thanks a lot, Paula!

Paula's "Yellow Bird"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

We know by now how much Paula likes attention. She loves going to rehearsal and stealing lines from the narrators of the show, as well as the lead. Sometimes, I think she just wants to be the whole cast  and crew herself! During Benjamin's Calypso, there is a line about a yellow bird. Normally her timing is on par. However, she was a little late on this one. We had even jumped to a different scene.

The rest of us had gone back to the beginning of the act in Egypt, but she jumped back to the islands, doing a bird call. She received orders to do this during the show (sorry Mary-Martha) during the line about the yellow bird from a few members of the cast. Guess we will see how well she obeys! Though her track record would suggest not normally.

She does her own thing at all times. In fact, her bird cry might pass for a yellow bird, but it sounds much more like a peacock.

Paula's Super Hearing

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I am partially deaf in my right ear. I can hear upper and lower registers and everything in the middle, I can only hear at about 50% making it a lot quieter. Apparently she does not share my ears with me, as her hearing seems to be quite on par.

I didn't even realize what had really happened. I was just sitting at work, I must have ticced, because I suddenly heard laughter from the aisle over and my friend Brandon yelling, "That was perfect, Jess!" I don't know what noise I made, even! I asked what was so perfect. Apparently there had been a conversation going on and whatever noise she made fit in perfect with what they were saying.

It's kinda sad, but I felt a little left out! These are my noises, but now she and Brandon share an inside joke. We share a brain, shouldn't I be in on this too?!? They are both lucky I like them both so much!

Paula is Growing Up, Maybe I Am Too

Saturday, May 7, 2016

My little Paula Jean spoke her first sentence! Of course, it was to Addy, one of her favorites at work. It was a very short sentence, but none the less, it was more than her now normal screech of "What." Not only that, but she stole one of my phrases.

Adelana went on a 15 min break. When she returned, Paula cried, "Welcome back!" It's like she missed her or something.

As I was telling my mom this story, she got a little concerned. She was worried about me developing split personalities by referring to my TS as Paula. She is becoming so individual and almost becoming her own person. I had to explain to her that this is not why I call it Paula. I refer to my TS as Paula to show that this is NOT ME doing this. I do not choose the noises I make or when I make them. I don't choose the actions that come from my TS. I did not choose to almost punch my computer at work, but it happened none the less.

Sure, I get along with Paula, but these are not cognitive choices I am making. It has been hard on my parents watching me "grow into" my TS. Most start young. Some grow out of it. I know my situation is unique. I still count myself as one of the lucky ones.

I once read a story about a man who had gone to a TS conference, and met a woman with an even more unusual tic than I had. She started to undo the buttons on this man's shirt! I watched a documentary of a girl, who would strangle herself. Tics are hard. They take a life of their own. Referring to my TS as Paula allows me to see trends. Almost like a personality. I call it Paula to show that these are not my choices.

I. Do. Not. Choose. This.

It happens the same way a normal person would cough or sneeze. It is uncontrollable. Unstoppable. Paula is a force to be reckoned with. I do not choose this, but I do have to deal with it and work with it. I do make a cognitive choice to enjoy it as often as I can.

I like Paula. I would not be who I am with out my TS. I can't picture life without her anymore. She has given me a new perspective and a fresh view of my life in relation to the world around me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Stealing Lines

Monday, May 2, 2016

Paula can be such a ham. She enjoys being the center of attention a little too much! For those new, I am currently rehearsing for a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Paula has made herself known to the cast. She has made several new friends and loves to sing along with several of the songs during rehearsal.

This however, she may have taken it a bit too far! My friend Will was singing one of Joseph's solos (and doing quite well I might add!), but our director yelled for a pause to give some instruction to the cast at this point. Paula wasn't about to miss a chance to take center stage. So she decided to keep singing for Will. After singing his line and creating quite a ruckus of laughter from the cast, she finally decided to quiet down. At this point, Will yelled, "Hey, that's MY line!!" Provoking even more laughter from the cast.
I sure love these people!

I can't even express how much I have missed being a part of a musical, singing and dancing and all the new friends I make. I get so excited to go to rehearsals, Paula has to show my excitement for me. I couldn't do it justice. I am all the more grateful for her ability to express joy above what I am capable of.

Sometimes she can get carried away, but I feel a constant joy being around these people. It can be exhausting most days. That brings out the not so fun tics, like my shoulder tics. It is oh so worth it though. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I had a few people ask what happens when I get on stage for the performance. For the record, Paula gets stage fright. She may love rehearsals, but does not show up on stage. I am ok with that! It gives me the best of everything!

Paula Scares the Doctor

Friday, April 29, 2016

So remember how on not so awesome days, my shoulder tic causes problems? Well, the other day, I heard my neck pop and decided Paula just sent me to the doctor. I went to visit my chiropractor, Dr. Matt Wood. PS, he is a miracle worker. If you live in the Salt Lake Valley, I highly recommend him! I explained to him what happened. He knew about my TS, and he knew about Paula, so he just went right to work.

After he did the adjusting, he uses a small machine that pounds on my back. I wish I knew what it was called! As he is using this machine, my shoulder decides to go off again. Luckily, this was a small one and did not completely undo everything he had just done. It must have scared him though. He turned off the machine and I could feel him step back and put his hands in the air. He must have thought he broke me or something. As often as I see him, he had never seen Paula and still has not heard her.

I was so touched by his concern though. When Paula doesn't make me laugh, she at least knows how to make me feel loved and cared for. He asked if I was ok. He asked if I needed to start over and get re-adjusted. He asked several more questions along the same lines as he pretty much walked me out of his office.

On the not so nice days of Tourette Syndrome, it's good to know I'm not alone in my fight. Not only do I have the support of my amazing family and awesome friends, but I have the support of people I barely and casually know. Yet another reason Paula is a favorite.

Paula's Interview

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I have some really wonderful friends! I love how much they love and accept Paula, despite the problems TS can sometimes cause. I will post more about that soon, but today is a fun story. So I have been blessed to become a part of the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It has made me several new friends and lots of great new stories as my new friends discover Paula's personality.

One such attempt happened last night. My new friend Kirstin decided to interview Paula. It was the perfect time to do so, as she has been incredibly active the past couple of days. The interview went something like this:

"What are Paula's thoughts and feelings on.... Trump?" *Silence*
     Guess she doesn't have any. She must not be one for politics. That's ok, I'm not a fan, either.

"What are Paula's thoughts and feelings on... worms?" *Silence*
     Oh wait, Paula decided rather than speak her feelings, she would show them. My shoulder jerks forward. It looks like a shudder. Paula must not be a fan...

By this point there are so many laughs that we don't have time to finish the interview. However, at least we learned one very important fact about Paula.

She does not like worms.
Not even cute cartoon ones?

Accountability and Passion

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to a couple of friends as a weekly check-in. I started telling my accountability partners about my week and about any progress I had made on my book and I got a bit carried away...

My New Year's resolutions this year all funneled into this idea of consistency. This is my overarching goal for the year. (New Year's is kind of my favorite holiday and I tend to celebrate at least at the beginning of every month) This is something I realized I have slacked on in the past few weeks. As we approach month #5 of 2016, I realize how off track I have gotten. I have lost the resolves I felt at the beginning of the year. I may still be going through the motions, but I question if my own resolve is really behind the actions.

I want to place a thought in you. I'm not going all Inception on you, I promise. It is however, something I have been thinking about. Remember when we first signed up for SPS? When did you sign your contract with yourself? I was looking at mine taped to my closet door today. I signed it in August. I was so excited to finally do what I had been telling myself was, "someday." Sadly, I think I have fallen back into this mindset. Complications arise and I have no clear set and solid date for publishing. I have gotten lax. 

This week, staring at that contract, I remembered. I remembered I am a writer. I am going to live like one. We just had a guy at work have his last day. I am incredibly jealous of him. Not because he left, but why. He managed to save enough money to have at least two months of living expenses. That was two months he would not need a job and could focus solely on his art. Drawing. Painting. His passion. Again, SUPER jealous of him! While not everyone may have that luxury, it is no excuse. He is an artist and chooses to live as such. I can do the same, even if it is on a smaller scale. I like my job, and I still need to work. But I am a writer. 

Coming back to my love of the New Year. I did not just set a goal. I was resolved. I made a promise to myself on New Year's of what I was going to do and who I was going to be. If I want to be a writer, I need to be consistent. I need to write.

This week, since I am unable to progress much farther on my current project due to insufficient funds (something I have accepted and am working to remedy), this does not, I repeat, DOES NOT!- allow me the excuse to stop writing. To stop doing something that I am passionate about. This week, I had a dream. A really weird dream... that actually would make a fun idea for a novel. This week, I started to write again.

I am writing, and I tapped back into that passion and the words are flowing! Sometimes, it's not even for my novel! The words are flowing and I am again writing. And it Feels. So. Good. 

It is coming out in my journal. It is coming out in letters to friends and family. It is coming out in books. It is coming out even in notes that I leave in work. They are long and detailed. It is such a release for me to get details out! I notice details. I see them, I hear them. I feel them. Sometimes it is overwhelming how many details I take in each day. 

But as I sit, with whatever medium I have on hand at the moment, the details come, flowing like water. Cool, clear, refreshing water. And I feel good, despite stress at work, despite exhaustion, even despite weighty matters on my mind like finances. I feel good doing what I love, being consistent and moving forward towards my goals. My Dreams. 

I may feel stuck in many areas of my life, but I still have those dreams. I still have my passion that I can hold to. It lights me. It fuels me, getting me through each day. No more excuses. No more saying I am working on my book, when in reality, I am on social media. Despite my best intentions to be trying to promote my book, it still feels a waste of time. 

I don't want to be a marketer. I understand it is important. The reading articles and books on business and promoting my book and platforms and how to use social media.... They are good. They are important. They are even necessary. But they are not essential. My writing is essential.

What is the difference between necessary and essential? They sounds the same, right? Not so much. Necessary are things like going to work. Eating. Sleeping. Surviving. Things that can put us in a grind. Essential are the things that make the essence of who we are. What we love. What motivates us. Essential are things like family relationships, and for me, writing and music -dancing and singing. Without these in my life, I lose the essence of who I am. I survive for a time, but never fully live!!! 

I was offered several times this week large amounts of overtime at work. In response, I quote the words of my dear wise friend Sid the Sloth when I say, "No sthanksth, I choosth life." (Ice Age- great movie. Very underrated) While the funding may be helpful right now, it is not worth the added stress, frustration and distraction from the things that are essential in my life.

Work revolves around and funds my writing, my writing is not a side project I work on around my work schedule.

Going forward, I want to check in with where my resolve is. I do not need to check in with my actions, if I keep my resolve in place. I want to continue to feel the passion that flowed from my fingers for the past hour in writing this. This is who I am. If I want to be a writer, this is what I need to remember through ups and downs. This is the life I choose.
site design by boots by the backdoor