I was in Ontario staying with my mother's aunt and my mom in Muskoka. My two cousins were at school and there was nothing to do. I had and still do have Tourette Syndrome. I was different from other kids. When I tried to make friends with the other kids around the block they did not understand my disability and would not play with me. I was ashamed of my Tourettes. People would stare at me as if I were a monkey at the zoo. I was like a Mexican jumping bean. I was lonely.
My mom caught me crying in the upstairs guest bedroom. A sea of tears streaked down my soft young skin. My eyes burned like fire and my heart was racing. When my mother asked me why I was crying I said, "I'll never have a normal life. I am cursed with Tourettes. I hate life!"
Immediately my mom made a phone call and soon enough we had packed up the Chevy and hit the road.
We drive the two hours it takes to get to Barrie and arrived at a building. The building was a stormy-grey colored, cobblestone frame that was covered in moss and curious vines. The driveway was full of cracks and potholes. The area looked like the aftermath of the Hiroshima Bombing during World War II. It was a poor run down area.
I was surprised to find an elegantly lit room full of people. These were not just people. They had Tourette Syndrome. There were pepole of all ages. It was very loud.
People all around me were twitching. Some people were barking like dogs, some were sniffing and some were spitting. It was amazing, but I did not like it one bit. In fact it made me angry.
I saw a slim man with blond wavy hair hug my mom. The man approached me and said, "Hello Gordie, I'm Duncan McKinlay, Dr. Dunc for short. You are a lucky boy to be blessed with your gift."
In a very disgusted tone I said, "What gift? I hate Tourettes. Life's a bitch!"
"You're wrong," said Dr. Dunc. "Life's a twitch. Tell me. Why do you hate Tourette syndrome?"
"Well," I paused, "I have trouble making friends and people stare and laugh at me wherever I go."
"There are many [famous] people who share this gift," Dr. Dunc claimed...It is ok to be different. If you told people why you twitch they may understand why you do what you do and not give you trouble. Your Tourettes...adds to your personality and teaches you how to understand people who are different."
At that moment his speech had really sunken in. I saw a whole new perspective in the life of a Touretter. I stopped worrying what other people think. I have traveled to different schools and universities as a guest speaker for the Tourette Syndrome awareness program. I made many friends who understand me and do no see me any different than their friends, family and peers. I have Tourette syndrome and it is a gift.