Life for me with Tourette Syndrome has been challenging. Tourette is now well known in the media. If it is mentioned, it is shown as coprolalia and is considered too mature for children. I have had to advocate for myself from when I was eight and onwards. I repeated the same amount of information over and over so many times that I know it better than I know my own name and birthdate. But even explaining my syndrome to my peers did not stop them from making fun of me. In fourth grade I would come home crying because I did not fit it and I was constantly being yelled at by my classmates. If I stomped I was yelled at and if I coughed a lot kids would avoid me.
Nevertheless I pushed myself to exceed in school. I was always at the top of my class, even if I struggled a bit with my attention span or being able to hold my pencil. Nothing could hold me back. I often repeated the phrase “I have Tourette but Tourette doesn’t have me” over and over to myself when I felt down. In the seventh grade I started writing. Unconsciously I started noticing that none of the characters in the books I read had Tourette or any type of neurological disorder. So I would write or rewrite scenes from my books with either me or an original character with Tourette. My writing has improved since then and I know write original pieces featuring marginalized characters.
In the eighth grade I was introduced to coding. It became a favorite activity because I didn’t worry about tics. Unfortunately, I had to move away and wasn’t able to pick it up as a true hobby until tenth grade. In tenth grade I had a resurgence of faith in myself. I applied and was accepted to become a Tourette Syndrome Youth Ambassador. For the first time in my life I met other people with Tourette. I suddenly wasn’t the odd kid out. I was considered normal for once in my life. Talking and interacting with other people with Tourette helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone in my struggles. I realized that I had the tools to make the world a better place. My Tourette is an obstacle that isn’t going to hold me back. My Tourette is my muse that inspires series upon series of stories. My Tourette has made me the person who wants to code and design apps and appliances to help people. I am the motivated person I am because I have Tourette. Life is hard with Tourette, but it also opens a large field of opportunities that other people don’t see.