What Would You Do With A Built-In Parrot?

Monday, January 29, 2018

My Tourette Syndrome is a form called Echolalia. This type of TS is probably the most fun, but I may have a slight bias... There is also a profound piece of wisdom that I get to experience first hand every day.

Echolalia basically means that I am a parrot. The sounds and words that I hear on a daily basis come in and then find a way to escape from me once again. So the things that I surround myself with are mirrored to show others what I do with my time and the things I surround myself with. I can't hide anything.

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

This is why Paula gives me such great stories because she mimics and imitates the world around her. Though sometimes at the joking expense of others. But imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? So don't be offended when I repeat what you literally just said...

The other day we were having a lunch party for a friend who is leaving the company I work for. A few of the mothers brought their children along, which was great. These kids spend all day with us at the gym anyways and we love them.

One little guy, Tanner, is only about 2 years old. He is adorable and usually gets a lot of attention around the gym. So when the adults were suddenly not giving him attention because we were chatting, he does what most 2-year-olds do. "Mama, mama, mama, mama!" Came in a constant stream while his mother continued to tell the story she was sharing.

Remember, there is no logic or reasoning behind when my tics come out, but we were all crying, when I looked right at him as Paula started to also exclaim, "Mama, mama, mama, mama!"

The poor child was not exactly sure how to handle this situation and gave a look of mixed confusion and horror that I would mimic him in such a way.

The adults were all crying with laughter.

Here is the poignant part. I love when Paula mirrors what other people are doing and shows them what they look like. It doesn't happen often, but it is quite great. Tanner didn't try to interrupt his mom at all the rest of the lunch and she was quite grateful, I'm sure.

While it's great for others, I'm also a fan of several other aspects of Echolalia. I love seeing life principles that I can apply into my life to make it better, and this form of TS does such a great job. I can tell by what type of tics I'm having where a lot of my subconscious thinking is.

Remember how Paula likes to sing? I'm obviously spending a lot of time around music.

The sassiness that Paula does? Comes from the fun and sassy people I hang out with.

Photo by Alan Godfrey on Unsplash
What I spend my time on shapes my TS. Remember- this is not true for everyone with TS, this comes from a form called Echolalia. I'm just lucky with that one.

When I was a little girl (as in I might not even have been in school yet, or had just started), computers were a relatively new thing. Average people didn't have much access before but were now becoming more commonplace. She went away for a few days to a conference to learn more about computers.

When she came home, I remember her telling me one of the lessons she learned for searching (before Google) was the acronym GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out. What you put in a search will determine the quality of what you get out of it.

I have such great stories because I surround myself with good people, good music, good... well, everything. I intentionally surround myself with things that make me happy, and when it gets parrotted back to me, I am able to find twice the joy in it.

What do you surround yourself with?

Stop and take a look around. Do the people you spend your time with make you smile? What about the movies you watch and the music you listen to?

Are you one person at work around the office and someone completely different at home?

If you had a parrot on your shoulder all day long repeating what you spent the most time around, would it irritate you or bring a smile?

What would you change? And why don't you change it?

Take Charge!

Let me be your parrot for a little bit. Download my free 8-question guide to see what to keep and what to change in your life. Get it HERE!

New Book Release

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Paula is pleased to announce the second book we have written. I am quite excited about it. It's very similar to the first I wrote called Awkwardly Strong back in 2016. It's taken me way too long to get the second book out, called Tragically Strong.

Just like in my first, Tragically Strong looks at the hard things we deal with in life. Problems happen often, but that doesn't mean it's the end of the world. This book looks at how to properly heal from these experiences to move forward, using them as benefits to you and to others.

Get your copy now for Kindle or Print.

And if you need further motivation, I'll give you a set of warm fuzzies. I have been working part-time so I could spend more time focusing on my writing. I've been on podcasts, featured in news publications and been posting articles on Medium.com in addition to writing this book. A lot of time, energy, hard work and not to mention money go into each book.

Thank you for the support so that I can continue to do what I love and help others along the way. Be sure to leave a review once you finish reading!

How To Survive A Rough Day

Monday, January 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Can I just say again how wonderful these people are?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you choose?


Saturday, January 13, 2018

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

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

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

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


Friday, January 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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