Here's to 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funnies to Realities

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Paula is only funny because I make her funny.

My life has opportunities because I have sought them out.

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

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

Who am I to get such blessings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who are you?

What traits do you have? Which do you want?

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

Not What I Was Hoping To Hear Today...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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

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

"What's so funny Carly?"

"Hahaha! It sounded like a horse!"

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

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

Whoops

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hey there. Long time no see. I wanted to take a minute to apologize for slacking off here the past month or so. I am still around and I am still writing, but I've been focusing so much on other areas of writing. I've been writing on Medium, taking a few courses to learn and improve the quality of what I put out there for you and finishing up my second book.

I still have great Paula stories. I have several drafts started so I wouldn't forget them. But I'm trying to keep up and keep my sanity at the same time. Which is pretty difficult.

SO!

The compromise I've come up with is to mix things up a little. I will try to write one post here per week. If I don't get a Paula story, I'll share some of my writing from other areas online, so you can see what I'm up to and why I didn't get a story up.

Deal?

The best way to keep in the loop is to sign up for my email newsletter HERE. As a bonus and a thank you, I'll even send you an 8 question guide to discovering how to take control of your own story by using traits for you rather than against you.

You are wonderful, thanks for reading!!

Paula's Witch

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Paula has always gotten along well with children. It's been quite fun to work with them on a more constant basis. So today being Halloween, the kids wore their costumes. One little girl was quite shy as her mother came up to the window to ask a question.

She had on this adorable witch costume, so we told her so and asked if she was a good witch or a scary witch. She warmed up to us enough to let us know that she was a scary witch.

Paula screamed at the scary witch, and her little face just lit up like a jack-o-lantern! It warms my heart how good Paula is with children.

Powerful Paula

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Today I received quite possibly THE most beautiful comment I have ever heard. I was at another stake conference, and Paula- as always- made a show. She really likes attention and I have a few stories I will have to post later.

After the meeting, President Newton came up to me saying along the lines of, "I just had to let you know that your noises bring me peace." I sure I had the most confused look on my face. Noises usually disturb the peace, right? Not bring it?

He continued by saying, "I just know you are in the audience and I can't help but feel loved." I can't even handle how grateful it makes me to hear such wonderful words! I had no idea Paula had that kind of power and effect on others. I hope he isn't the only one. Maybe he just voiced what others feel? I hope so, because love is a powerful thing and it's part of my life mission to spread that power as far as possible!

Day 3

Friday, September 29, 2017

I think I had actually worn Paula out, because she was fairly quiet, given what Paula had been doing. This is actually a true fact, that people with TS tic less when they are tired. This is actually a coping mechanism used by the "World's Strongest Librarian" Josh Hanagarne. (Nice guy- interesting book) He would go to the gym and exhaust himself just to placate his tics.

So keep this in mind if I'm not posting often, I'm probably just exhausted from all my running around that Paula decided to be respectful and give me a break. She's thoughtful that way...

Disney Day 2

Thursday, September 28, 2017

So Day Two actually took place in California Adventure. Still a Disney Park though. Which is why Paula was still excited that she sang on the tram from the parking lot to the park. Her song of choice? "M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!" However, once we entered the park, she changed her tune to the Star Wars theme. The group next to us laughed and thought it was quite appropriate.

Photo Taken by Kimber Kruger

We started the day at the back of the park and worked our way forward, so we started at the Midway Games, playing a shooting game. Paula was enthusiastic about this, screaming, "Pew! Pew! Pew!" on occasion as we played. Her enthusiasm must have been what gave me the high score. Even higher than my dad, who has spent his entire life hunting and shooting guns. Go me!

Best in Vehicle. Boom!

Apparently, someone thought Kimber and I were the targets..

She was pretty quiet the rest of the day. I was starting to wear her out I think. She only came out when provoked. Like when Kimber tried to poke my nose. Paula screamed, causing Kimber to shriek as well. Good news, my nose was not poked! Thanks, Paula!

Disney Day 1

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

After Paula's initial excitement, I knew we were in for a good day! One of the perks of going with my parents is that my mom had recently had surgery and was still in a boot. We had to get her a wheelchair since walking the parking lot alone just about had her done for the day. On the upside, it's like its own FastPass and we went on SO many rides. Paula quite obviously enjoyed that aspect, since she mimicked just about every ride we went on.

Halloween Haunted Mansion
First, she sang along to one of the songs on Splash Mountain. After we left the Haunted Mansion, out came her ghost noise. I'm fairly certain Indiana Jones was her favorite ride since she not only did this theme song after we got off but several times throughout the day. She obviously wanted to go back for round two.

Pirates of the Caribean might have been another favorite. Most of the noises and sing-alongs happened after we got off the ride, with the exception of Pirates. This one she sang along while ON the ride. The Jungle Cruise she mimicked the gunshots, and our tour guide wasn't quite sure how to handle me.

She even screamed, "WEEEEEEEEEEEE," after Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I'm pretty sure she enjoyed that one as well.

Rose Tavern had great details! LOVED this window!
She didn't stop there either. During lunch, we went to the Rose Tavern. The food was amazing, and for reals, try the grey stuff. Delicious is an understatement! I am still craving it! As soon as I got up to place my order, Paula went off nice and loud. The poor girl taking the order sat up nice and straight. She let us know she was awake, despite how tired she looked before. Paula just wanted to help, I'm sure.
I want more!











To top off the day, I got to meet Moana. I'm such a fan of this movie and of this character, and Paula couldn't contain her excitement any more than I could! While standing in line, she serenaded the rest of the crowd. One lady even commented how appropriate that was and that I must be there to get everyone excited to meet Moana. Not quite, but I'll take it!
IT CALLLLLS ME!


Paula's Birthday!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


I have officially declared September 21st to be Paula's birthday. Mostly because it is my half-birthday and she has commandeered half of my brain. Actual statistics may vary, but you get the idea. I have no record of exactly when I started ticcing or when I was diagnosed so this is as close as I get. And this way I get to celebrate every six months! I'm okay with this...

For her first "official" birthday, Paula and I took a trip down to California to Disneyland, along with my dear friend Kimber. Kimber and Paula get along quite well and they had a blast chatting it up on the long drive. We left on Tuesday, the 19th. To break up the trip, we stopped at a natural hot spring just outside of a small town called Meadow. Paula was a little shy, but after talking about her a bit, she popped up to say hi.
Natural hot springs were amazing! Photo Credit: Kimber Kruger

After stopping by my parent's house, we continued the adventure as a foursome. We went to Disneyland for two days, starting on the 21st. I don't know if Paula just loved her birthday, or if she loves Disney that much, but upon reaching the entrance- before she even got inside!- she gave a loud Mickey Mouse yell of, "Oh boy!" She sounded just like him! Yup, you should be excited as the stories come. I'm going to post them a few at a time, so you know I am still alive and working on them!
The Disney crew- Day 1

So Much Time!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

So I have a new part-time job. I'm working at a Gymnastics Academy researching for a character I want to write. I am learning a lot, and the coaches are great. One coach, Carly, was working on a routine, but she has about twenty seconds that she isn't sure what to do with and was stressed about it. "It's just so much time!"

Well, Paula and her sassy self, had to put in her two cents. This is Paula, after all. She spoke up, and at first, Carly thought she had agreed with her. "Right? It's SO much time Paula!"

Well, Paula then had to up her game... She let out a few more yells, before saying, "Nuh-uh, nuh-uh, nope, nope, nope!" Let's just rub it in there, shall we? Then Carly proceeded to yell at her, "No it IS!" At least until none of us could breathe for laughing so hard...

Homesickness

Friday, September 8, 2017

Once upon a time, I used to live in Hawaii. I was there for about 5 years and I miss it terribly. I do love Salt Lake City, but it's not Hawaii. Anything related to the islands can instantly take me back and makes me so happy. Take for example, the luau I attended today. It was an end of summer party, but they went full out and it was legit.

They roasted a pig, they had Polynesian dancers, and they had GUAVA CAKE! I about died of happiness! I was so tempted to jump up and dance several of the numbers with the performers, but I did at least let out a few loud "CHEEE HOO's!" in support. In fact, so did Paula. She misses it as much as I do. It's like her people were calling to her and she simply responded.

It's good to know Paula and I agree on at least a few things. Anything island-y being on that (short) list!

What a Chicken!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

My little scaredy cat is sure fun sometimes! It's funny to me, mostly because I'm not a jumpy person. Apparently, Paula is though. My friends can attest that I am not normally a jumpy person. I do get scared, but I freeze, rather than give the reaction that they would like to see when scaring someone. Maybe Paula just felt bad for all their hard work...

The other day, I was walking past the air conditioning unit as it clicked on. I didn't have much time to react before Paula let out a nice loud scream.

The chicken!

For the Dogs

Friday, September 1, 2017

Paula really likes animals. They have reactions as good as children. Besides which, half the time she sounds like one, so she blends right in. Just a little bit of background for you, I come from a small farming community. While my parents are not farmers, we do have chickens and turkeys in our backyard.

One day at home, I was taking a load of laundry to hang out on the clothes line. My parents Dashund, Toby, loves to "help" when going out into the backyard. He gets excited and stands right in front of the door.

Now, if you didn't know, turkeys can be really loud. And living with them, Toby isn't really fazed by them at all. So when the turkeys called out, it wasn't a big deal. But when Paula imitated the noise, he suddenly decided to get out of the way so I could open the door.

What ever works I guess!

Paula Likes to Play

Monday, August 28, 2017

Maybe Paula gets along so well with children is because of how much she likes to play. That and she always likes to be in the middle of things. Sounds a lot like children to me...

The other day I walked into an office and there was this adorable little girl with curly red hair running around with her arms out and pretending to be a ghost. We know Paula loves Halloween and has been known to make ghost noises. So she jumped right in with Hope making ghost noises.

Hope thought that was quite great and went around tagging other people telling them they are now ghosts, too.

Favorite Auntie Status

Friday, August 25, 2017

So remember how good Paula is with kids? She certainly has lots of good experiences with them. My own dear nephews are no exception. The youngest of my nephews, Rowdy, is incredibly smart and knows he can get what he wants without talking. So most of the time he grunts, points and uses sign language. Having spent so much time with my boys last week while home with my family, Rowdy may have picked up a new habit that my sister isn't thrilled with...

It's not like I can hide Paula from them. she made a few loud appearances, which the boys thought were great. They both giggled and Brantley (the older nephew) started making more odd noises. It was Rowdy though who took this to the next level.

My sister called my mom to check on her, and little Rowdy stole the phone. Ironic given he doesn't say much. What melted my heart was after a few grunts, he let out a Paula scream. Sister wasn't too happy with this new development. But I mean, he basically asked for me by name. Totally just claimed favorite auntie status...

Paula's Big Game

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

So for the past week, I've been home babysitting my mom who just had a foot surgery. I had to make sure she didn't get up and try to do much, as any pressure would pop her stitches. Problem is, mom doesn't sit very well... It was good to be home, but now it's back to the grind. That doesn't mean Paula came away without any good stories.

Like the night that Dad was flipping though TV channels to find something to watch. He paused for a moment on a baseball game, checked the score and moved on. Who knew Paula was such a huge baseball fan, she screamed when he changed it, then proceeded to mumble at him. Someone was not happy!

Beginnings and Endings

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'm glad I'm suddenly getting so many great stories from Paula, but not gonna lie, I'm nervous about Paula disappearing when I no longer work around such wonderful people. Which is silly, Paula has been with me for so long, I don't think she'll just disappear, but at the same time, I am a little nervous.

Anyways, the real story was from a large meeting at work. As we slowly filter in from the different departments, there is a lot of chatter as people find friends and people they started with. As we get closer to the start time, Paula gave a loud scream, silencing the room just as the meeting started.

The meeting ran for about an hour with a lot of news regarding a lot of changes. There were a few squeals of excitement and a few times Paula decided to talk back. Despite her personal opinions on the meeting overall, Paula is still her helpful self and basically let out a closing bell as well. Her final scream happened at the conclusion of the meeting.

Apparently, everything starts and ends with Paula...

You Better Believe It!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I'm a little worried about this whole leaving the job thing, because where am I going to get all my good Paula stories? Paula loves my co workers and plays with them so much. They give her all sorts of attention, which is her favorite thing.

This company has been growing and is constantly hiring new employees. There are still people learning that I am a writer and that's why I am leaving. One new employee asked me if I published under my own name or a pen name. When I explained that I publish under the pen name Paula Jean Ferri, she wasn't surprised and responded, "Paula has a bigger voice than you do, huh?"

Oh, did Paula like that comment! She went off with that idea. To which I could only reply, "Yes. Yes, she does."

Paula's Copycat?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

So my life is crazy right about now. So in case you don't know, I quit my job in order to write full time. Well, mostly. There will be part time jobs as research for characters, but I am going to fully and completely focus on writing. So I have put in my two weeks notice at work, and my time is drawing short. Which is really weird. I've been there over two years. It's a hard adjustment.

These co-workers have become my family. I love them. I think they kinda like me, too, but I certainly know they love Paula. They think about her even when I'm not around. Like the other day when Mykala and Kimber were in the break room. It was so great that Kimber told me after about the conversation.

Walking en route, Kimber started to whistle. Mykala started to spin around, finally asking Kimber, "Is that Paula?"

Paula seems to not only have her own fan club, but my little copycat has copycats of her own.

What's Your Excuse?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Paula is quite a strong personality. That's been quite clear. Sometimes she is strong enough to actually intimidate people. Take for example, my poor roommate Becky. Paula loves Becky. I'm often amused at how Paula can still catch Becky off guard, though, despite their many conversations.

For example, one night, we had a conversation regarding a movie we were needing to watch. We started planning snacks. Popcorn is an essential, right? Becky doesn't like popcorn! Paula was not in the mood for such foolery... She gasped in shock.

Poor Becky, she then felt the need to defend her position. I'm not sure what she thought Paula was going to actually do... but it was enough to get a response from Becky!

What a bully, Paula.

Chatty Paula

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I don't know if it's the fact that there is a full moon coming soon, if it's the fact that I put in my two weeks notice at work or what, but Paula is having a hard time letting me work. She keeps going off at work. She is having full conversations- either with herself or others. She has been having a lot of fun with my co workers so I am leaning towards the fact that I suddenly won't be surrounded by all of these wonderful friends that I now consider like family.

I have learned so much working for this company. I couldn't even attempt working on my own and creating my own business around my writing had I not been part of this start up and seen the inside of watching a company grow. So maybe Paula is just trying to re-create the fond memories she has had with these people and express her gratitude in the only way she knows how.

Loudly.

Paula's Purpose

Monday, July 31, 2017

So this post is about to go deep, guys. I've been doing some serious soul searching the past couple of days. I've come to realize just how much Paula has helped me with some of my biggest insecurities. I mean, they are still there, but she's made them a little less prominent. I'm suddenly completely overwhelmed with gratitude for this trait that some call a burden, disease or problem.



So here's the thing. One of my biggest fears as a human being is being forgotten. The worst part is, this has actually been something that I've dealt with, and more often than I like to admit. Growing up, I heard things from people I considered friends, "Oh, I forgot you liked this," or "Oh, yeah, you were there, too, weren't you?" Yes, yes I do like that and thanks for remembering I was standing right next to you.



I'm fairly forgettable. Which is quite tragic. No one should be forgotten. Everyone has purpose and talents and skills and stories. And it hurts when you are, you know? Time and time again, I heard similar phrases growing up. It's now deeply embedded in me that I'm forgettable and unimportant. Which is not true, I know that now. It was a long road, though, and sometimes it still gets me.



As I look back on this process though, and how far I've come, there was a defining moment that started to change things. I can't even remember who it was, though I wish I could and find them to thank them profusely. The only thing I really remember was that someone I didn't know all that well, upon our second meeting said, "Oh yeah, you're the girl that makes the funny noises." I was undiagnosed at the time. I was just so impressed that he even remembered meeting me once. I didn't care about the comment about the noises, that he didn't remember my name... he still REMEMBERED ME!

Then it started to happen more often. And people started to remember my name. They remember the girl who stood out. The one who makes noises and she can't control them. They remember the girl with Tourette Syndrome. And it changed me.



Even this first concept of an idea that I'm someone people can remember, made me want to be someone worth remembering. I've worked hard to do so much more with my life. My life really started once I started making noises. Sure, my family always knew and loved me, weird as they thought I was. Sure, I had friends and people who spent time with me. But it was Paula who started to make the statements. I guess you could say my Tourette Syndrome is kind of like my role model in a weird way.

I'm now making statements right along with Paula. I'm doing cool things, too. I want not only to be remembered but to be someone worth remembering. I want to make a difference. I want to do great and big things with my life. In the simple way that Paula changed mine, I now strive to be that same force for others.
 

This is why I love my Tourette Syndrome so much. She saved me from my greatest fear. She gave me a voice. She gave me confidence. She gave me an identity. I would not be who I am without this quirky trait in my life. It is almost painful to me to see others with it who hate it so much. It can do SO much if you let it.

It's NOT just TS, either. It's any part of you. It is part of who you are and what makes you, you. And how wonderful are you! Now I want to hear your story. Who are you? What makes you, you?

Paula is Jumpy!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sometimes Paula takes the words right out of my mouth. Most of the time, she does her own thing. She is often far funnier and wittier than I am. However, this is my brain, so it only makes sense that on occasion, Paula can express exactly what I'm thinking. How do you tell when it's me vs my Tourette's? You may never know. Mwahahaha.

But here is a great story for you to show sometimes we do think alike. I'm not typically a jumpy person. I don't scream, though I may flinch when things catch me off guard. This is a tried and tested trait. I have numerous friends who have tried to get me to scream. I just freeze when caught off guard. I must have been a possum in another life...

However, the other day at work, I was walking around a corner at the same time as Brianna.* Of course, we were both startled, but none more than Paula. She screamed. She's a bit of a chicken...


*Name has been changed

Slacking

Monday, July 24, 2017

I'm so sorry I have not been keeping things up to date. Summers just get terribly busy, don't they? I'm working on editing/getting ready to publish book two, working on establishing a business, trying to enjoy the sunshine while I can have the sanity it provides me, working, working overtime, and the list goes on. So there are my lame excuses. The really sad part though is the lack of recording of good stories. I get most of them on here, but I know there was one a few days ago, and I've already forgotten it.

Shame on me.

Paula has been fairly quiet though, too. It just makes me wonder what kind of antics she is up to... She's as bad as a toddler. Quiet is more dangerous than noise...

Paula Likes People

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sundays are my favorite of days. I love the group I go to church with. they are continually inspiring me to be the best version of myself by simply being amazing. They are so giving, aware, intelligent, thoughtful and so much more. They aren't perfect though. So sometimes Paula thinks she has to step in and help out. Or something.

This week's lesson was on service. The discussion leaned towards the little things we can do that make a big difference. The teacher at one point observed, "Sometimes, people aren't very nice." Ohhhhh, Paula was not happy about that. She piped right up with an emphatic, "NO!"

After a few minutes of giggles and laughter, the teacher continued on with the lesson. That didn't last long though. She looked at me again and chuckled a bit more. She even conceded, "I guess I deserve that, people are nice."

Yes, indeed. They are. Sure they aren't perfect. But for the most part, they are pretty wonderful.

Chatterbox

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Typical Paula. We know this already. Some days it's more than others though. Yesterday was one of those days. She was there all day long. At first I thought maybe it was the full moon. Weird things happen on the day of a full moon...

Turns out, it was her super-sonic hearing. I really wish she would share that. Even with a hearing aid, I couldn't hear Marcos in the next room talking back to Paula. I guess they had quite the conversation going on.

I missed out, yet again. Paula has all the fun...

Do I Get a Turn?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Paula can really be a brat sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean often. She's getting a little pushy even! Today, she wouldn't even let me get a word in edgewise!

I was leaving work and Paula was saying goodbye to everyone. I noticed that Amy was wearing a super cute dress and I wanted to tell her I thought so. I started to tell her when Paula stopped. Before I could get a word in, Paula started up again and kept going as I stood there awkwardly staring at Amy.

Good thing she knows I'm not intending to be creepy. It gave us both a chuckle when I finally managed to get out what I was trying to say.

Paula does like to be the diva at the center of attention, after all!

Independence Day

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

So you all know that I'm the type of person that likes to celebrate. I love holidays and will find any excuse to be with people I love. However, I'm finding that this particular holiday, like New Year's, is a solitary holiday for me. It's just so multi-tiered and there are so many things to celebrate.

Sure, it's what we call "America's birthday." I am eternally grateful for the great men who founded this country. No, they weren't perfect, but they put a lot of work into creating a plan that stands as strong as the people behind it. Which on occasion creates a reason for worry. I was born and raised in this beautiful country and its history, thick with stories both tragic and victorious. It's unique. I'm kind of a sucker for

I also have a glorious opportunity to celebrate my own Independence. yesterday I read through a journal depicting the worst summer of my life. Looking at how much I have grown and changed over the years astounded me. The chains that bound me that summer and continue to try to keep me down. Time and again, I fight and on occasion, succeed and realize my personal freedom, no longer held back by past mistakes.

Then there is the fact that it falls just after the halfway mark of the year. Do you remember those New Year's goals you set? What a great time to stop and re-evaluate. I've set some pretty high goals this year. There have to be a few changes made if I'm going to make it. Do I change the goals? Is there something in the process I can change?

For the record, the soundtrack to Hamilton is the perfect background for a day like this. Independence and success despite failures. All day long.

How do you celebrate today?


Christmas in July

Saturday, July 1, 2017

I don't know where on earth this came from. Maybe it's her love of parties that come at Christmas. Maybe it's that she was feeling warm and wanted to pretend it was winter to cool off. Maybe it's just that it was early in the morning and she was part delusional. Although, that might have just been me...

Whatever the reason, Paula has started singing Christmas carols. So far, it's only been the first two lines of "Dashing Through the Snow." Given the hot debate that constantly surrounds when it is appropriate to play Christmas music, I hope she (and I!) make it to another Christmas!

Deceitful Paula

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

She's not exactly a liar, but she sure can lead people astray. She can sound all sweet and innocent. Especially with her impeccable timing. I'm sitting at home just writing, and Paula goes off. Apparently, it sounded like a very loud hiccup.

Random fact, since beginning my vocal tics at age 17, I haven't had "normal" hiccups. Just Paula.

Anyways, Paula corrected herself by giving off a few of her animal noises. Yeah, she's still around. I just can't quite seem to shake her. Which is fine by me. I may not be able to shake her, but she sure shakes up my life!

Stahhhhp!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Every once in a while, I tend to think I know all of Paula's antics. Especially considering her tendency to recycle old tics. They come and go and every once in a while, she tosses in a new sound. I know the drill, I've got this. Right?

Nope. She still manages to keep me on my toes after all. Here is a new spin, I had another change happen today. It's like I'm going through puberty again. And far too often. This one actually gave me a bit of a scare. The tic was the same, it was just a simple scream... but it kept going and going. I didn't know when it was going to stop. Slightly disconcerting. 

Good news: it finally stopped.

Bad news: she's now literally taking my breath away. And lots of it. 

Take a breath, Paula.

Nephews

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I have the greatest nephews. I just love them to pieces. One is five years old, the other is two. It amazes me how different they can be though. When Brantley, the five-year-old, was little, I went off during dinner. It was a loud one, and he was only about a year old. He jumped and looked at me for a second before beginning to wail, terrified by the noise. Rowdy, who is currently a little over two, had the exact opposite reaction. He turned to look at me, got a big grin on his face and gave a squealing laugh. Almost like he was imitating it. Maybe it's because he lives with an older brother, but he sure handles loud noises a lot better.

Scapegoat

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I don't know if this is common for other people with TS or not, but I'm incredibly forgetful. I had so many great stories this week with Paula and her antics. That's actually why I started this blog in the first place. I wanted to have a place to write all her crazy stories. But guess what, I forgot them already.

I blame Paula. I could remember more if I wasn't sharing my brain with her, right? Oh, that's not how it works? I'm still using the excuse anyways. If Paula is going to get me into trouble sometimes, she will be the scapegoat whenever I choose.

Crossing the Line

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I am glad others enjoy Paula so much. She can really be a bit of a pill sometimes. Sure, she's funny, but sometimes there's a line. And sometimes she dances on it. Like when she goes off ALL. DAY. LONG. I'm sorry, after a while it's just not funny. She still thinks she hilarious. So do several others.

Granted, she had a few good moments today. Here's a new trick, she combined a few different noises that she usually makes and put them in context. She made her loud creaky door sound, which that alone caused a few giggles. It hasn't come out in a few years so no one at the office had really heard it before. For the record, that one is rough on the vocal chords and not my favorite.

When Renae commented on her noise, Paula had to be her bratty self. In the same voice, she croaked, "Yep!" Which caused another round of giggles. Now she is combining her noises with her words. Heaven, help me with Paula, pushing boundaries the way she does.

Thanks for the Help

Monday, June 12, 2017

So not only has Paula been incredibly active lately, but things at work have gotten crazy. Full moons make people weird. Paula was in an oddly chipper mood today. Especially for a Monday. Even more especially considering it was the Monday after a full moon. Work was overwhelmingly busy, and we were all drained pretty quickly.



Except for Paula, of course. She just kept going at it. She wasn't helping me much. It actually got to a point where Pat turned around and mockingly retorted, "Oh stop being so happy." To which Paula gave the most appropriately sympathetic sad sound she could.

As draining as the day was, it didn't get the round of giggles she usually gets, but it did send a few smiles around.

Thanks for the help today, Paula.

My Turn

Friday, June 9, 2017

I think sometimes Paula lets her popularity get to her head. She knows she is quite loved and enjoys being the center of attention. But for heaven's sake, it's not always about you, Paula!

Today I was walking down the aisle to my desk at work. I had a few friends say hello. Not just hello, they even mentioned me by name, "Hey, Jess." Yet Paula was the one to respond. Several times. I had kept walking, and by the time I had finally reached the end of the row, Paula gave me a break so that I could finally say, "Hi!"

That got a good round of giggles. Way to steal the thunder, Paula.

Game Shows

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Paula was on fire the other day, I tell you what! She was quite active, but I simply had to share the highlight of the day. Most of the day passed quite cheerily when Paula went off. However, at one point I got a little frustrated with a contractor. He was trying to get more money than was fair for a task. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame him, paychecks are kinda helpful. However, that's not how my company operates.

I was explaining the conversation to a few co-workers, when Paula came out, and obviously not happy. After a few giggles, the conversation went from him trying to make a deal, to playing in a game show. "What does he think this is, Deal or No Deal?" Paula in her fury proclaimed, "No Deal!"

At that point, people couldn't even pick up a conversation after the laughter. Apparently, she belongs on a game show. Maybe she could win me enough money to pay for editors for my next few books...

Changing the World

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When I was a little girl, back in my bookworm phase (that I never really grew out of...), I loved reading about the heroes and heroines in exotic and local places. no matter where they were or what kind of book it was, they all managed to save the day and do amazing things. I wanted to do cool things. Yet all I did was read about them. I wasn't talented enough. I knew I was smart, but not that kind of smart. I wasn't brave enough.

Or so I thought. I had so many excuses. They masqueraded as anything but excuses though, that's what made them so tricky. They were my entire belief system and understanding of who I am. I didn't think I was anyone important. That thought was important because it is what helps me be humble. I wanted to be humble. You know what? Who says you can't do big things AND be humble? Ever heard of Mother Theresa? Nelson Mandela? George Washington? What about the Pope? Just a few humble people who did BIG things.

I was content to stay in a small town, living life the way I was "supposed" to live. Have I told you yet how much I loathe the word "supposed to?"

Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with this kind of life. I still aspire to this. I want to live in a small town and raise a family. At the same time, I've learned that I can still make a BIG difference. In fact, I've seen people living the life I dreamed of AND still making a big difference.

It's amazing what technology and a global society can do. We have so much ability to reach others and be the master of our own story. I'm amazed at the things life has been throwing at me since I tried to stretch my wings just a little farther. Since trying to be just a little better.

Because here's the thing. We can leave the world the same way we found it, we can make it worse or we can make it better. I can make me better. This alone makes all the difference.

I had to stop hiding behind the very things that make me, me. I had to use those just a little bit better. I'm still learning how to do that. In the process, a few things have changed. Once I had a roommate, Laura, tell me that she always stopped to listen to what I had to say, because I rarely spoke, so when I did speak, it must be important.

I do have things to say. Now it's kind of hard to get me to stop talking. I just get so excited and passionate about things. I want to balance these two traits. My shyness and my passion. Both so important, so necessary. I can't choose just one or the other. Both have their time and place.

Recently, my friend Andy told about an incredible experience he had while reading something I had written. My initial reaction was to apologize for any pain I might have caused. I didn't even know if I had caused any- I just assumed I would have hurt someone. He then thanked me for the profound impact it had on improving his life and the steps he was taking. Truth be told, this was a few weeks ago and I'm still reeling over it. I'm still in shock.

I want to help people. I want to change lives for the better. So why am I so shocked that I actually did that? Partially because it wasn't all me. Andy is the one who actually read it and thought about things and let it change his life. My writing was just a catalyst. But what an awesome experience.

I did something good. I have the ability to change the world, one person at a time.

FYI- You can, too. Start with you.

What are you doing to change the world?

Help Me Out Here, Paula!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I've mastered this awkward thing, don't' you think? No? I don't think so either. It's funny sometimes I absolutely love awkwardness, other times it can be so hard. Paula tends to make everything better. It's always easy with Paula around. Here's the thing. Paula isn't always around in my awkward situations. Sometimes, it's just me. And it doesn't always end well with a funny story. Sometimes, it's just... awkward.

I had a friend ask me if I was interested in a call to discuss marketing. I'm always up for learning new techniques, so I agreed to a time. Once we started the call, we were joined by another person and it turned into... awkward. They tried to sell me a product that I was essentially already using, though they never asked what I was doing with this particular area of my life. The third person in trying to get to know me asked essentially if I had a family of my own or if I was single. I tried to say I do have a family, I mean I have parents and a brother and sister and nephews. Afterward, they asked if I had any siblings. I felt really listened to...

The only other question that was not led and wanting only a yes or no answer was what I would do with additional income. I had to think for a bit, as I'm pretty good with my money and take care of things and make them last. I finally decided I would probably pay for editors and try to get more books published. They took this idea of furthering my writing and somehow turned it into a cabin in the woods or on a beach for inspiration.

I can't even tell you how much I wished Paula would show up and we could change the topic of conversation. I can do awkward fairly well. But this call was more than just awkward. It was painful. No one wants to feel like they weren't listened to, whether selling or being sold to. So when they wanted a follow-up call, what did I do? Did I politely tell them I wasn't interested? No, I set another appointment. Then sent an incredibly awkward text later saying never mind.

Sometimes, there is just no way around the awkward.


First Thing

Monday, May 22, 2017

So yesterday in church, a new member of the bishopric was announced. He was asked to speak to the congregation and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Paula, however... she had to be her bratty self as always. Not only did she have to introduce herself during his address, but she had to get snarky while she was at it.

He referenced the classic Sarah, Plain and Tall and how we typically describe ourselves by our appearance, but how much more there is to a person. He said that as he meets each of us, the first thing he will notice is what we look like.

Cue Paula.

Nice and loudly, she proclaimed, "NUH-UHHHH!"

I didn't even get a chance to speak with him after and explain, but the rest of the ward got a good giggle out of it. I look forward to actually having a chance to speak with him.

Obsession and Sheep

Friday, May 19, 2017

I've discovered a new thing. I mean, Netflix isn't exactly new, but the content always surprises me. I also have this tiny problem with being... slightly... well, kind of obsessive. Ok, really obsessive. I binge when I find things I like. Which is often. New songs? Never get old to me, no matter how many times I play them. New show? Have to watch the whole thing- TODAY. Movies? I may have worn out a few VHS tapes when I was younger and pretty sure I had Tangled scratched within a week from pulling it out and watching it so much. In fact, by the time that one came out on DVD, I already had it memorized to the point that Aaron* asked if we should turn it off and they should just watch me. Oops.

Apparently, that's a side effect of Tourette Syndrome. And not the point of this post. My roommate Megan suggested watching an episode of  The Great British Baking Show. Little did she know. I'm actually kind of proud that I've stretched season one over 4 days! It's a glorious show. It's hilariously punny and the food looks amazing- it makes me constantly hungry. The accents. Oh, and they show beautiful scenes from the English countryside.

I've even seen a few sheep pop up during the show. The sheep would go, "Baaa-a-a-a-a-a." I would imitate the noise. Megan would then imitate the noise. The Paula decided she would take a turn as well. Maybe Paula just likes sheep? That or the Echolalia is really coming out strong today.

*name has been changed

Sirens

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As alluring as Paula is, I'm not talking about the mythical creature. She on occasion sounds like an actual siren like you would hear on an ambulance or police car. You know the ones you move out of the way for because you can hear them, but can't always see them. Not only does Paula imitate the noise, but apparently the overall feeling as well.

At work today, I left for my break. However, as I started to turn around the end of my row, the team on the next side were blocking the exit having a meeting. I had not yet seen this when Paula let out a nice loud siren.

So I come around the corner to see the crowd, slowly parting. A few didn't see me coming, so the cry came, "You are supposed to move when the sirens go off!" The path was suddenly clear as I ran to my break. I have some very important reading to do, you know. I don't have time to swim through a crowd.

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sang that in my head. Although I wouldn't be surprised, I do stuff all the time by myself...

Paula has decided to follow this movie quoting theme it seems. This time, she decided to follow one of the most iconic characters, um, ever. In case you couldn't guess, she pulled a Mickey Mouse. When Paula speaks, she speaks in a very high voice. So when she got excited as I was leaving work and said, "Oh boy!" she sounded exactly like the master mouse himself.

Of course, the entire room erupted in laughter. Paula really has that effect on others. Then again, so does Mickey. What a heavenly combination.

The Hills Are Alive

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Anyone who knows me, knows that I speak fluent movie quotes. I'm not necessarily good at impressions, I just steal phrases because movies just say it better than I can. That and the fact that my brain works in GIFs. I was so glad when GIFs became a thing, I can't even tell you how wonderful it was to be able to share EXACTLY what was on my mind (since many of them come from movies, anyways).

See that look in Rapunzel's eyes? The next 5 seconds after this has been playing in my head for a couple years now. I couldn't find a GIF of it already made, and I'm not tech savvy enough to create one...

Remember how Paula and I share a brain? Apparently she also speaks movie quotes and possibly even better than I am, since I didn't quite catch this reference. I've had this tic for a while, too. Maybe it's my roommate, Becky is the one who is better at movie quotes than I am. She heard it before I did and I don't think I can ever unhear it now...

Remember how Paula likes to say, "weeeeeeee" like she is riding a roller coaster or something? Remember how Leisl says this exact same thing at the end of this song? Exactly. The. Same. Sound. 


Except she was actually 23...
It must be said, this is not my idea of romantic... I kinda found this creepy.

She has a tendency to do this when things get exciting. Which is often. Guess my life tends to be as exciting as a 16 yr old girl getting her first kiss or something!

Professional Voice

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Seriously, most of my good stories come from work. I essentially work in a call center, but lucky me, I don't take incoming calls. I call out and make sure things are flowing smoothly. Ever notice how when you are on the phone- especially for work- you sound different? People have a "professional" voice they use when talking to strangers to make a good impression. I use mine fairly often.

The other day, Paula was doing her thing, and often. I heard Danielle, who sits across from my cubicle giggle in between instructing a new hire. At which point I asked if the newbie knew what was going on. Danielle responded that they probably didn't. We had an entire conversation around the topic of Paula without ever actually explaining what was going on.

After a while, I figured I was only fair to explain to the poor soul what was going on. So, with the voice I would have used in an A.A. Meeting (which is sometimes what it feels like when I explain I have TS. It's like it's supposed to be a confession or something), I announced, "Hi, my name is Jessica and I have Tourette Syndrome."

As soon as I had spoken, Megan leaned over asking who I was speaking to. When I responded, she was surprised. "I thought you were on the phone with a contractor!"

At this, the entire room burst into laughter. Does this mean I should start doing some kind of comedy act? Too bad I'm not that funny!

Cat Called

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I guess with Paula growing up I should have expected it sooner or later. Most women get it at some point in their lives. I'm not catcalled often, but it certainly has happened. I'm not particularly a fan of it, but I did rather enjoy watching it happen to Paula. I also quite loved her reaction.

Here's the thing. Paula can't exactly be catcalled the same way others can. I mean, she's mostly just a noise. If I hadn't experienced it today, I don't think I would have thought it was possible.

Today Paula was quite active. She was having her conversations with Adelana again, she was singing up a storm and quite likely terrifying the new guy at work. (Don't worry, we told him. He still jumped.) Sometimes when she was singing, Kimber would whistle a response. Paula would then chirp back. These conversations were hilarious.

Well, after a while, Paula grew silent. I was enjoying a much-needed break from all the ruckus when I hear some whistling coming from Kimber. She did it a couple of times before Paula came out of hiding. This gave everyone a good laugh. It seriously sounded like she was being catcalled and she really showed up in response.

Who would have thought she was so easily provoked?

Paula Doesn't Need Help

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Paula has been singing again. She's really musically inclined. In fact, once I started studying music in college, she started to change and evolve from just her normal little squeak that sounded more like a hiccup. I'm afraid she picked up on it more than I did. She keeps up on it and helps me remember every once in a while, too.

The other day at work, she sang the NBC chimes. For the record, the first two notes, form a major sixth. So this was something we legit studied in music class to help us remember/teach intervals. So right as I was getting a refresher course on intervals, Renae chimes in, "Sing it, sister!"

Remember how Paula likes to be the center of attention? She belted out her high pitched, opera diva voice just for Renae. Although, every single one of my co-workers enjoyed that, and Paula received mass appreciation in the form of laughter.

As the one who was trying to work and had been dialing the phone right as Paula's solo began, I had to remind Renae that Paula does NOT need any encouragement.

Oh, Paula. What a diva.

Paula Is Grateful

Friday, April 28, 2017

Who knew Paula could be so sweet? I think is me rubbing off on her this time though. I've been a student of a grateful lifestyle for several years now. Granted, it did start with my parents making me write a thank you letter to almost everyone in my hometown for all the graduation gifts. It's amazing what a small thank you can do.

I confess I started with some prodding from my parents, but I was in awe at the reactions from people. In case you haven't noticed, I like watching those. Then I realized what my own reaction was, and how much happier I was. It has been life changing for me as I have developed this trait and it is very much a part of me and who I am.

So imagine my glee when my sassy Tourette Syndrome showed a sliver of gratitude in IKEA with Kimber. As we were finishing up, Kimber spoke up, "Let's find you a bathroom before we leave." To which Paula gratefully squealed, "Thank you!"

Lingering Laughter

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meetings are boring, right? At least, according to some. I actually quite like them. I think I'm alone in this, though. Paula sure thinks the opposite. Any kind of meeting... work meetings, church meetings, and any other kind of meeting where Paula has to behave. She will for a while, but certainly not for long.

I had several meetings this weekend. I loved every minute of it. They were church meetings with my stake, and this was the first big gathering we had since the talent night where Paula embarrassed our poor MC. The meeting had just started when Paula decided she was already bored. She let out a nice loud one, similar to the one at the stake talent night. This created quite a stir of laughter.

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Nate (the awesome MC who handled the situation incredibly well) duck his head, as our stake president commented, "I sure hope this isn't a bad omen or something."

After this, Paula calmed down. As much as Paula really can calm down that is. Hint: that isn't much. I was amazed at how much people were still talking about the talent night and the stir she caused. Even if she is being silent, she still manages to cause a few giggles with her antics.

After You...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Paula has her polite moments once in a while. She is mostly pretty bratty and sassy, but at least I can feel like I am raising her right. Sometimes I am simply amazed at how much personality she really has and how much she can surprise me. Seriously, it's like she is my own child. Which is kinda helpful since I don't have any, but I still get the life lessons.

Remember the musical I was in last year? The leaders that organized it will no longer be serving in my area. Tomorrow we are having a talent night and the cast has planned a lovely little tribute (those of us who are left anyways). It is funny how in just three rehearsals, she has managed to re-create all her antics. Stealing lines, creating solos for herself... Just, you know, Paula's usual tricks.

However, Carolyn has a part where she gets to run across the stage, while the rest of us sit in the wings. She was standing in back when Hayley said she should be up front. I took a step back and with my arms gestured to her new spot up front, while Paula graciously welcomed her. She even left my smile on my face and it was probably the nicest I have ever seen her. Especially given how she basically cussed Belinda out last week... At least she does have polite moments as well. She's learning.

Talent Show

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Paula has really outdone herself this time. This is now my new favorite Paula story, and I'm still laughing. When it happened, I was laughing so hard I was literally crying. And I haven't done that for a long time.

First, a little background. In my church, we have wards and 5-16 wards create a stake. In the US, a stake must have a minimum of 3,000 people. So stakes are fairly large. Keep in mind that while attendance is rarely 100%, especially for things held on a Monday night, there were a LOT of people at this stake talent show. For time purposes, most wards will do a ward talent show and pick the best act to send to the stake talent show.

There were two MC's filling time in between acts: Nate and Natalie. After the first act, Nate told one of his most embarrassing moments and had everyone in stitches. A few acts later, Natalie asks Nate why he's not in the talent show. "I didn't make the cut." He had sung a mash up of a few random songs. Natalie asked what other talents he had, trying to find one that might have made the cut, also pulling out her knowledge of Nate and his tricks. Nate denied having any other talents until Natalie pointed out he can sound like Kronk from Emporer's New Groove.

Now anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge fan of this movie. Especially when Kronk speaks squirrel. Because squeaks. Right? Here is where it gets fun. Nate said he needed Natalie to make the squirrel noises if he was going to do his Kronk impression. she was in the process of declining when guess who showed up. In all her loud squeaky glory.

Nate's eyes instantly lit up and he started to walk towards me. Genius that I am, I was sitting in the third row. Bad things happen when I sit up front. Nate was all excited about having a volunteer, and I start laughing. He looks at me expectantly as I bring my hand across my throat until I finally manage to breathe out, "I can't!"

At this point, he thinks I am being shy and he holds the microphone out to me before bringing it back, since Paula obviously doesn't need it. Tears start to flow as he continues trying to encourage me, until I compose myself long enough to spit out, "I have Tourette's."

"Oh."

He got super embarrassed. He then asked me if he could explain what happened since no one could hear me without the microphone that he had. After explaining the interaction, Natalie then decided to jump in, "Well, now you have an embarrassing moment for next year."

Part of the reason that this is now my favorite was what happened after. I was backstage getting ready for when I got to go on stage to perform. He stopped me as I walking past and gave me a high five, telling me I was the coolest human he knows. While I don't know Nate well, I do know the crowd he hangs out with and he knows some pretty cool people.

Not only that, but his dad happens to be the Stake President. And I know him and his wife pretty well. They know Paula and exactly what had happened. First Nate's mom, then his dad, individually gave me large hugs and exclaimed, "I love what you did to Nate."

Paula happened to make herself (and by default- me) an instant celebrity in the stake. It gave me a great laugh. I also loved hearing all the reactions of those who knew Paula and what they were thinking as it played out. This story drew itself out the entire evening. It was one of the best stories Paula has ever given me.

Take That!

Friday, April 14, 2017

We all know and love how sassy Paula is. She is not afraid to tell it like it is and is not one to back down from any kind of discussion or argument. Yesterday I had a meeting that was being led by our CEO. The meeting hadn't started yet, and Paula piped up how excited she was for the meeting. It got a few good giggles and one wonderful co-worker started talking about when she first met Paula... and the trouble she caused.

Paula was not about to stand for that! She instantly started ranting and chewing out Belinda for what she just said. Had you seen my face, you would not believe such angry noises could come from someone on the verge of laughing so hard! When she finished, Erica, through a fit of giggles, said she KNOWS Paula was trying to tell her to f@#$& off.

At least Paula was kind enough to censor it in front of the boss...

Naughty Paula.

Overtime

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

So this week has been a little hectic. There has been lots of overtime at work going on. While I love the people I work with, the amount of work causes excessive amounts of stress and exhaustion and it's been rough. I generally try to keep my blog upbeat and happy, but I also want to make sure I keep it real as well.

That being said, it's been a rough week. Paula has had chances to vent vocally. She gets a few choruses of "Right?" and "Me too." each time. However, it has also given her chances to vent physically as well. My shoulder has been jerking back and forth more than I would like. This makes everything in my back tense, but with all the overtime, I have been unable to visit a massage therapist or my chiropractor to loosen things up back there. It's a never ending cycle. So if I'm MIA for a few days, it's because I look like this and feel worse:


Game Time

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I'm feeling playful today. Must have something to do with being home to play with my nephews for the birthday of the younger of the two. I love my nephews but boy are they active! So since I won't get any fairly mellow games today, let's play Two Truths & a Lie. I want to see if you can guess mine and leave yours in the comments and I will try to guess as well.

Here are my three. let me know which you think is a lie...

1. I was once studying to become a psychologist.

2. I was once homeless for a week during college.

3. I was once grounded from books for an entire summer.

Once Upon A Time

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

People have been asking me stories about Paula again, so I figured I would share an older story from before the blog started. The very first time Paula appeared, it was just a little noise. It sounded like a hiccup. Thankfully, it didn't feel like a hiccup. Hiccups hurt. This didn't.

When it appeared, I was at work at our local public library. I was seventeen years old and a senior in high school. Not only was I working part-time at our local library, but I was taking 9 classes (our high school offered 8...), was heavily involved in the music program as a singer and playing the violin, on a council for my church and was in a local choir. This was the busiest I had ever been in my entire life and I loved it! Come to think of it, things haven't changed much since then...

I had been in the back room, made the noise and thought how awkward it was going to be to have the hiccups in a quiet place like the library. I was pleasantly surprised it was just the one, and I continued the day without incident.

The next day, I did it again. However, this time, I was at the front desk. There were no patrons around, but my co-workers thought it was quite adorable. Again, it was just the one, and the rest of the day passed without much fanfare.

The following day, when it happened again, it appeared twice. Day after day, they continued to come more frequently, and usually when I was working. Although I did this on my days off as well. They just weren't as frequent. Considering all my many other activities, this was rather unusual.

The noises started to become so frequent, my co-workers started COUNTING how many I would do in my 3-4 hour shift. The days they counted, it became more frequent than days they didn't. Either way, they came every day. But Paula has been an attention hog from the beginning...

What the Heck?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

I mean, seriously, Paula. That was uncalled for. Usually, she and I have a pretty decent understanding of what is appropriate. She doesn't go off much in the temple, when I'm singing/performing, etc. But this time she crossed a line and I'm going to have to figure out something to do with her. This might even push me to the point of medication I'm so upset.

It doesn't help that it was an awkward situation to begin with. Strangers don't know about Paula right off the bat and take me for face value. So I was out and about today running my errands, and a complete stranger comes over and starts having a conversation. I'm a friendly person and can hold conversations, but this got weird really fast. About 15 minutes in, this guy starts talking about how beautiful I am and how kind I am to talk to a stranger, and he's never met anyone like me. I don't mind hearing stuff like this, but so much that soon is a little unsettling.

He then proceeds to tell me how he would love to take me out on a date and if I'd let him, he'd kiss me right now. Stranger. 15 minutes. Umm, no. However, Paula decided to intervene with an excited squeal. His eyebrows leap up and he asks, "Really?" Before I had a chance to explain, Paula pipes up again with her, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" tic. So he grabs me and kisses me. Not cool, Paula! I then had to explain not one, but TWO awkward tics and a lot of misunderstanding. I mean, I knew she was a flirt, but whoa!

Exactly, Paula

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Today was a rough day at wok. They happen. We were short a few people, and things are getting busy. I was barely able to maintain my sanity without doing the overtime they asked for. We were all feeling it today, too. Especially those who were willing to work overtime. So, of course, Paula had to have her say, too.

She let out this odd combination of a groan and a screech. I've had both noises separate, but never combined quite like this. Behind me, Pat turned around, "You too, huh?" Followed by latest signature tic, "Yeah!"

It was all fun and giggles til the shoulder tic showed up. That's when I knew it was time to go home and take a nice bath with a good book...

Paula's Friends

Monday, March 27, 2017

Paula is kind of popular. Pretty sure more popular than I am most of the time. However, Paula has the ability to attract friends I don't even know about!

For example, I have a friend named Kadi. She is a marvelous individual, and I love that I can call her friend. How did I meet her? At first, they were vague comments. "I thought I heard Paula during sacrament meeting, but I couldn't find you."

Then they became centered around a person, "This girl Kadi sounded just like Paula!"

I was finally able to meet this wonderful human who did not have TS, but chronic hiccups. After meeting, Kadi and I bonded quickly. So did Paula and her hiccups. They would talk back and forth in church all the time. They were typically the loudest ones and they always got away with it!

There is also a new girl at work, who likes to make random noises. She has complete control over hers, but you can bet Paula loves having someone to talk to during the day!

Paula's Chosen A Career

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ever since I've posted about Paula's sound effects, Paula has decided this is a talent she would like to pursue. I think she has decided to follow a career as a Foley artist, making sound effects in movies. My life suddenly sounds like I'm in a cartoon.

I sit down at my desk as she makes a noise to narrate it. Her timing is actually getting really good with that one. Her noises are fitting conversations all too well, making noises that just sound like Monday. She started imitating the time clock again (despite the fact that we updated our system) when someone mentioned they forgot to clock in.

It may not be perfect, but I think she is well on her way!

Birthday Shenanigans

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Whoa, two posts in two days! Someone take my temperature and make sure I'm not sick! I said I would do a follow-up to the birthday excitement since Paula hadn't even come to say hi at the time I had written. The sad part is, she never showed up at all yesterday! Out of all the birthday wishes, there was nothing from Paula. The punk.

Then I realized it might possibly be due to the fact that I never celebrate hers! I feel like a total jerk. Confession: I don't even really know when her birthday is... But I have ways to find out! Good thing I have always been such an avid journal writer! Who knows, I might uncover a few good gems I haven't even put on the blog yet with all the journal digging! Wish me luck, I'm off to do a lot of reading...

Celebrate!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The thing about Tourette Syndrome is that there is really no rhyme, reason or pattern to when tics show up. Paula just likes to do her own thing. Sure there are trends, but that does not guarantee any kind of pattern. For example, statistically speaking, most people with TS tend to tic more when they are stressed. I tend to do it more often when I am excited. It's the same idea, adrenaline rush, butterflies in the tummy and what not.

This is why I am a little surprised that so far, Paula has not shown up on my birthday! Of all days! I love my birthday and get terribly excited about it. So far, nothing. Although, that might also be due to how much Paula likes attention and I have not been around many people yet today. Guess I'll have to do a follow-up post with any birthday antics once I actually leave the house...

Sound FX

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Well, well. After all this talk of no new stories and getting slightly bored with having Tourette Syndrome, I finally get a new story! Kudos to Luke! He is the brother of a dear friend of mine, and all three of us happen to work together. Kinda. Luke works upstairs but happened to be down visiting Courtney a few seats over from me.

I have no idea how their conversation was going, but Paula decided it was as good of a time as any to pop out, getting quite chatty and tossing in a few different noises. Here I must mention that I cannot imitate Paula's noises. I have tried, but I can't quite manage to get them to sound the same. Paula really is her own entity with her own voice.

Luke looked right at me, "Those were great, I wish I could make such great sound effects."

Me, too, Luke. Me, too.


Mondays...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Not many people like Monday. However, I'm a fan. I like having a fresh start to the week and starting over with goals I may have messed up the week before, or stretching the goals I did achieve. Remember New Year's is my favorite holiday and I basically re-celebrate all year long, touching on my goals quarterly, monthly and weekly. I kinda love goals. Sunday I check in on how I'm doing and Monday is the fresh start to who I want to be and what I want to accomplish.

This past Monday was not my favorite, though. There was a big storm back east, and there was a lot going on, so there was overtime to be worked because we basically felt behind all day. Some of my co-workers decided to pull twelve-hour shifts. I was proud of my ten, thank you very much. It was a long and exhausting day.

Paula evidently felt the same way. At one point during the day, she let out a loud, long scream. It wasn't even a crazy noise, it sounded like a scream from a horror movie. All around me, there was a chorus of, "I feel you, Paula," "I know, right?" and "My thoughts exactly" from many of my co-workers. Sometimes, she just says it better than anyone else really can.

Forgetful Me...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I'm glad Paula still manages to keep me on my toes, even if I'm getting bored. This week, she pulled another stunt. I was with a group of friends when someone came up to speak with a mutual friend, but I didn't know him at all. He asked a question and thought it was obviously not directed at me, Paula decides to not only answer, but answer quite emphatically, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"

He sent a glance my way and continued to speak with our mutual friend, while others in the group got a good giggle and asked me a few more questions about my TS. Sometimes I forget that others aren't around it all the time the way I am. I may get bored with it (as I mentioned in my previous post), but it is still new to others. Sometimes it's nice to have a reminder.

I should really find new ways to explain it to keep myself entertained. Maybe that way I won't forget.

Boredom

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I haven't run into this problem in the 13 years I have had TS. There has always been a funny story. There has always something new, exciting and different. Maybe I've just been spending too much time at home trying to write, but I have no stories. I've been so focused that I don't pay much attention to when Paula goes off and when she doesn't.

Sure I can still make others giggle. It just doesn't tickle my own funny bone the way that it used to. When she pops up, it's the same thing she's always done. She'll say "hello," she still screams, people still jump... same old thing. How sad that I'm suddenly bored with my Tourette Syndrome. Who would have guessed it was possible? Good thing I'm at least working on new and exciting things in other areas of my life.

What Are You Looking For?

Monday, March 6, 2017

I have a confession. Yeah, another one. I'm not a very secretive person, can you tell? I just have another rant to go off about. I guess it's a good thing that my rants become the most well-read of all the posts I have. Getting back to topic. My confession is: I love Facebook.

Most of my friends have this love/hate relationship with this social media site. Often they will take "Facebook fasts" and just unplug for a while. Good for you, doing what you think is best for you. I don't think I ever will, though. I find too many good things that make me happy. And I don't cut myself off from things that make me happy.

Facebook has become more than just a way to connect with others. It's almost become a surrogate news source, showing videos and articles from anyone on anything. One of the common reasons I hear people wanting to take a "Facebreak" is to get away from all the negativity and overwhelmingly despondent things they see online.

Politics, corruption, racism, abuse. All highly prevalent in today's society. I can't and won't deny that it's there. However, it's not what I want to see on my timeline. When I want to see what's going on, I look at actual news station's websites or a newspaper. So when it comes up on Facebook, I hide all similar posts. You know what's left? The things I actually want to see.

I see my friends doing happy things. Getting married, graduating, having children, adopting children, traveling far and wide, or enjoying a simple staycation. I see simple, happy moments in their lives, I see the awkward stories. I hear the songs that have made their heart soar. I see the jokes that make them laugh. I see their hopes, I see their dreams. I see the things that moved and inspired them. Sometimes I see cries for help and am able to jump in and lend a hand. I see my friends and the people I love.

Not only that, but I get to see people that I don't even know doing extraordinary and inspiring things. People chasing their dreams. People going out of their way to help another. People doing what they can to survive. Sharing, giving, and any other form of goodness you can imagine. Things that overall make me a better person for watching, reading, listening. There are so many kind hearts in this world. Just as much, if not more than the negativity that continues to spread. The things is- are you looking for it? Because you find what you are looking for.

Facebook is a simple matter of filters, but it totally applies to any area of life. You will find what you are looking for at work, at school, at home, at church... The list goes on. I have spent most of my life in the pursuit and understanding of being happy. What does it mean and how do we get it. Guess what. I found it.

Much Appreciation

Friday, March 3, 2017

Back to the "normal" Paula stories for today! It's a short one, but I was thoroughly entertained. Not by Paula, mine you. Maybe I'm getting too used to her. She doesn't really surprise me often anymore. What does catch me off guard is the clever way others play with her.

For example, I walked past a guy at work at the same time he happened to sneeze. Then Paula went off. As I continued walking, he said, "Thank you, Paula."

I'm so glad someone appreciates her! Just today, a leader came by and asked us to get together for a quick huddle. Paula got excited and piped up to show her approval. "Except Paula. She can't come to this meeting."

Paula was surprisingly quiet. Normally she would give sass right back and demand a place in the meeting. She must have just been shocked into silence this time around. I guess at this point, she wasn't feeling that appreciation...

My Own Terms

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In my last post, I spoke of wondering how often people are annoyed by my sounds when I don't get a good response/story out of Paula. I wanted to do a little bit of follow up on this. Everyone has insecurities. We see the worst in ourselves. In moments of silence, we tend to assume others have the same thoughts. This has been bothering me all day.

You know what the worst part is? These thoughts we are assuming others have about us? The person we are thinking we should be? That person doesn't exist. These rules we should follow aren't real. In fact, the word "should" is a word I've come to dislike. Who says I "should" or "shouldn't" do something? Who says I "should" be a certain way?

I find this word constantly nagging at my soul. It's draining. When that word appears, I become the worst version of myself. I become the most tired, trying to do more than I am capable of doing. I become less happy, not having any time left over for me and self-care. I get irritated more easily, thanks to a lack of sleep and self-care. These words are not me. They are not the best version of me, nor who I want to become. 

I want to be energetic. I want to be happy. I want to be kind. These are labels I cling to. If there is any way I "should be," it is these. I am the one who determines what these mean for me and how to get there. I don't have time to waste trying to figure out what other people are thinking. I have things to do. I have my own person to be. 

More than that, "should" is a lack of action. It implies thinking about something, but lacking the willpower to follow through. I'm tired of this in my life. These are the moments that motivate me and remind me to keep pushing, doing and becoming better. On my own terms.

What Now?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Just over a year ago, I made a commitment to myself. I was going to be more consistent with my blog. I wanted to make sure I was putting out at least one post per week. I was so proud of the fact that I had somehow managed to do that twice over. And it's been going on for over a year! That's a lot of writing. It's a lot of funny stories, as Paula tends to be in the middle of them all.

Trouble is, what happens now? Paula hasn't done anything new and exciting in a while. Sadly, that's really the only way to keep people's attention these days, isn't it? My tics are no longer exciting without the new funny stories. People read about them, and they move on. But I can't. This is still my everyday life. I still make noises every day.

Except now I can't tell what the reactions are. People are quiet. There are no comments, no giggles. This is where things can get messy. I know a lot of other people with TS are self-conscious about it. It can be nerve-wracking for sure. I've found myself thinking, "How annoyed are they? Do they wish I'd just stop?"

In all honesty, sometimes I wish I could stop. I feel like I'm bothering others, I'm a distraction. You know what I've learned, though? Humans tend to project their thoughts into the minds of others. If I think I'm annoying, then of course they think I am, too. Why wouldn't someone else have the exact same thoughts that I do? I mean, everyone is essentially the same, right?

Except, no, we're not. We are all different. Obviously. So of course we are going to think different. In fact, chances are, they aren't even thinking about it at all.
 
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