A slam poem about living with and accpeting Tourettes
Blink. Blink. Blink. Squeeze. My eyes slam shut. 1. 2. 3. 4. Fuck!
So close to 5 and yet I open my eyes. I can see the road again. Just taunting me. Teasing me. I hate this. I hate that devilish conscience of self-preservation on my shoulder! She snatches away my chance at success, at discipline and relief. Because now I have to go again. You stupid idiot. You’re weak and this is pathetic.
I twitch my head and jam my neck to calm it’s frustration, but I stop when the sickening tap of my brain against my skull starts the nausea in my stomach.
Streaks of light from passing cars shine into my blurry eyes and it’s as if I can feel their pity, their fear and disgust. I hate my brain. It thumps and aches as my tic gives me release I can’t explain. The shame. The pain. The pressure builds inside me and I need to let it out. I can’t breathe because there’s no space, no air, no time in between.
Why do you do that? What’s wrong? Is there something in your eye? I think I need glasses, I lie. Did you poke your tongue out? Does it hurt? Why are you huffing, sniffing coughing, squeaking, kicking and jerking? Can’t you stop?
Oh, but I thought Tourettes made you swear…
Why does he bend down so small to talk to me? Why does he soften his brow and smile as if my body, that twitches, shakes and thrashes against itself inside and out, hundreds of times a day, could be intimidated by the big frame and old, grey face of another doctor?
I use all of my strength and exhaust my muscles, to battle against the the urge, the itch, the crawling cockroach that prickles the flesh inside my brain, as if clinging desperately to my own dignity, refusing to allow myself to blink or breathe out of rhythm under his gaze. I will not endure another smile in support, another question, another curious stare, another look of pity. I have cried enough tears of “Why me!”
No, not anymore.
They tell me it might go away as I enter early adulthood and I’ve always clung to that thread. But why would I want it to go away?
All of it is me. And all of my experiences have made me who I am today. That girl in primary school who asked me every single day why I shook my head and blinked my eyes, the Hypnotherapist who couldn’t stop me laughing as I swung between her lounge chairs and ignored her every attempt to get me to lye down, the naturopath with the stinky room who made me hold her hands & close my eyes, and the bully at the back of the bus who would make me sit for five minutes while he watched and stared hoping to catch me in the act so he could laugh in satisfaction at my lack of control. But I never let him. I sat strong, proud, still and focused, until he tired and moved on to another amusement. I thank them now for making me the thick-skinned girl who loves and accepts everyone as they are. Who from now on, will embrace everything that makes her her, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Who is ok to be both fragile and strong.
The girl who often blinks, jerks her legs, shifts in her chair and occasionally swears. That’s me.