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.

Paula is Decisive

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It's fairly well known amongst my friends and family that I am an indecisive person when it comes to a lot of things. Especially where there are just too many good choices and I want them all and can only pick one. It' usually small things, too. What to eat, which top to buy, luckily just the small things. Big things, I'm pretty good at deciding.

Paula, however, knows what she wants and has an opinion about EVERYTHING. Before I can even look at the options! Yesterday I went out for ice cream with a few friends. Walking from the car, Paula said, "Banana." Out of nowhere! It was random, and we continued inside. We looked around for a while, and I couldn't decide between two different flavors.

Guess what ice cream I had yesterday? Banana. Although, I had to add Oreos and graham crackers... Paula didn't have to tell me that much.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

This isn't actually a Paula story, but it is something that I have had on my mind and will likely put a lot of in my next book. I've been reading a few articles floating around in the TS community. There are slightly varying stances, but they come down to the same idea, expressed different ways. Tourette Syndrome is NOT a label, it is a diagnosis and necessary for treatment, and realizing we are not alone in the struggles of TS.

I have a few thoughts of my own on this. I do think that calling it a diagnosis is still giving it a label, just not the one we think we are giving. The term diagnosis implies that we have something wrong with us that needs to be fixed and still has a very negative connotation. There are still a lot of stigmas, especially in regards to mental illness. "Diagnosis" has a more positive connotation than "mental illness" so I can see the rush to claim this term.

I want to address this really quickly first. There is nothing "wrong" with me. I am NOT "broken" and I don't need to be fixed. I am different.I have different struggles and I have different opportunities and benefits. So basically, I'm not a fan of the diagnosis term. Tourette Syndrome is just as much a part of me as anything else, and it makes me whole. I would not be who I am today without it. I am a ticcer just as much as I am a writer.

This is a label that defines me. I have gained so much by having TS. I have gained more relationships, gained deeper relationships. I was already a people watcher, but I learned so much more by watching different experiences I might not have been able to see. I have had some hilarious moments. I have had hard moments that have taught me empathy. I would not be who I have become with it, and as such, it does define me. I love this label for all the good it has brought into my life.

What I see is simply a difference in which label we are using, but here's the thing, labels are also a GOOD thing if we know how to use them right. There will be labels on anything and everything because that is just what we do as human beings. In order to make sense of life, there has to be a level of understanding. Understanding typically comes through organizing. Unfortunately, I think it has been taken to an extreme. 

The current use of labels has people put in boxes and everything has to be "just so." I grew up very much thinking, "I have to do this because it's what I should do and I want to be good." I had these thoughts as a child in elementary school. I still do that from time to time. "I have to do this at work in order to keep my job." Funny thing is, it's just a job. There are thousands of others, and some that will be better suited to me, without having to try to fit into a box I don't fit in.

There are so many labels out there. Which do you choose and how do you make it work for you?

Where Is She?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Paula is certainly a playful sort. Hence the reason she is so good with kids. It does depend on the game, though. Some games she has good skills. Others, she is downright terrible and she takes me down with her every time. I had to give up on either my perfectionism/competitiveness or give up the games. Usually, I will give up on the game. Other times, that isn't as easy as it seems.

I gave up on hide and seek a long time ago. Paula is found every time. Her noises pop up and I'm a goner. Who knew Tourette Syndrome had a bad side? I will not hide during this game. It's pointless and my competitive side knows I won't win.

Paula, however, is not as competitive and gets a giggle from getting found. Sneaky Paula managed to still play hide and seek this week. She put a twist on it, though.

It was once again the filled Assembly Hall for a church gathering. I was not in the choir seats this time. I was in the audience, and Paula let out a little peep. It wasn't very loud and didn't get much notice or reaction. Five minutes later, I got a message... "We just played Where's Waldo to find you. And we did!" My friends who were in the choir seats had the biggest grins on their faces. Krystle, Laurel, Will and Andrew have much better hearing and eyesight than I do. I was thoroughly impressed by their skill, by Paula's conniving way to play games at all times and by my inability to win at this game. Good thing their smiles were so worth it.

Am I Possessed?

Monday, February 13, 2017

I love when Paula catches people off guard. Especially people that I've known for a while. It's best when they are already well acquainted with Paula and her antics. I'm pretty sure no one (me being the obvious exception) has experienced ALL of her tics. Some people have come close, though.

For example, my friend Emily at work has certainly heard lots of them, and even reads my blog, so she reads about others she doesn't always hear. Is it bad that I'm a little proud of myself for catching her by surprise? I actually had to explain that what was happening were my tics.

To be fair it was a more complex tic. There was both a vocal and physical tic at the same time. It was my gasping noise, followed by a noise I used to make a lot on my mission. I was having a hard time trying to describe it, but Paula decided to help me out and make it again. It's a door. A creaky, old door. The physical tic pulled up my shoulders and tilted my head back.

Emily's head tilted to the side as her eyes opened wide. Apparently, her first thought was that I was trying to exorcise a demon. Not a typical work activity, I promise. This gave us both a good giggle once we got on the same page, though.

Now I do want to be clear. This was simply a complex tic. Complex tics are simply a combination of more than one tic. So by doing all three of these tics at the same time, the tic became complex, rather than a simple, singular tic.

Also, just because you never know who is taking me seriously, I am not possessed. I do not in any way want that thought in your head. Tourette Syndrome CANNOT be cured by exorcism. Don't even go there. Just no.

Paula is a Child

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Last post I talked about how good Paula is with kids. I realized the other day it's quite likely because she IS a child. So am I, though so it kind of makes sense. I tend to act like an over sized five year old, especially when I get excited. 

For example, earlier this week at work, the internet went down. This kind of complicates work considering it's an online company. Although it meant I got some visiting in with my awesome co workers while we waited for it to get up and running. 

We know Paula loves people and likes to the center of attention (see ummm, just about any blog post I've written...), so this was an exciting opportunity and she made the most of it by introducing TWO new tics!

The first happened just in passing. Someone mumbled a good morning. It's hard to be bright and cheery at 6 AM- unless you are Paula who belted out a bright "Morning!" in response.

Later, with my friend Kimber, she decided to give a throw back to a childhood movie in response to Kimber's question. Anyone remember Ducky? Here is a refresher if you don't. That "yep yep yep" line? Paula decided she would quote Ducky anytime I was asked a question, especially if the answer was yes.

It certainly made for an exciting morning with movie quotes from my childhood and good people.

Paula The Sitter

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tis true, Paula is good with children and makes a great sitter. Although, you might also want me around, just to be on the safe side. You should see how good she is with children. it makes me smile every time.

A child walked up to me, proudly showing off all the diamonds they had acquired in a game. "Look at all my diamonds!" They were not disappointed by Paula's response. Well, series of responses might be more appropriate. They even got a "wow" out of her, along with several exclamations of joy and excitement.

I loved how happy they looked and swelled up with pride. Paula sure does know how to treat kids individually and specially, like they are the most important person on the planet. Really though, isn't every one on the planet here for a specific purpose? It may not be diamonds in a game, per se, but the encouragement can help them get to that point. I whole-heartedly agree Paula. Well said.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Paula seems to understand that imitation is the highest form of flattery. She has a bit of a big head about it, too. Not only do people tell me how adorable and endearing she is, but she gets lots of attention and imitation. She seems to refuse to think any of it is negative attention, too, which I highly admire. However it was meant, it is kindly accepted. She's just happy for the attention.

Luckily, most of the time, it is meant in good fun and we get some good giggles out of it. For example, the other day Paula started singing her infamous, "I know something you don't know" tune. My roommate Becky decided to pick it up and to imitate her noises. So what does Paula do once Becky finishes her turn?

"Yep yep!"

And good laughs were had by all. This is how you tell if you have good people in your life.
site design by boots by the backdoor