…and I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks!

Let me set the mood:

October 1, 2017 – Las Vegas shooting, 60 dead, 413 wounded

November, 5 2017 – Sutherland Springs church shooting, 26 dead, 22 wounded

February 14, 2018 – Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, 17 dead, 17 wounded

February 15, 2018 – Anastasia Bernoulli wrote her viral blog post “Fuck you, I like guns.” A couple of days later, my friend Lisa messaged me on Facebook: An interesting read for you. She knows me well. Anastasia wrote about gun control from the perspective of a former soldier. She’s experienced (and proficient) with an M-4, a military weapon almost identical to an AR-15. Anastasia sees no reason for civilians to own these guns. They are, she says, made only for killing people. Lots of people. “These are people-killing rifles. Let’s stop pretending they’re not.”

So a gun control post almost five years old. I’ve read dozens of these since then. I’ve written a handful myself. I remember nothing about those subsequent posts, but Anastasia’s stayed fresh in my mind all this time. I even remembered her princess-like first name. What’s the hook? Her post has a killer title. “Fuck you, I like guns.” It gets your attention.
I made a new friend a few months ago. I checked out Ellie’s blog because she has a cool avatar. I could tell immediately that we would click. First off, she seems to click with everyone. All the comment strings on her blog are long and deep—real conversations on topics of consequence. I can tell she cares about the people who read her blog. Plus, she has a history of alcohol and drug abuse. I find her relatable.

Responding to a comment I made the other day she asked “How is your Tourette Syndrome? You haven’t mentioned it for quite a long time.” See? That’s what friends do—they check in to make sure you’re OK.

So how is my Tourette Syndrome? I could have given Ellie a long answer with ample complaining. Not great, omnipresent, perpetually annoying: eye squishing, skin chewing, teeth clenching, thigh punching, grunting, breath blowing… In the past, the distress and embarrassment this caused fueled countless blog posts, but not recently. It’s not that I don’t notice these actions anymore. It’s that I no longer care.

Let me qualify that. Of course I care. It’s infuriating and exasperating. Some of these actions create problems for me. Clenching my jaw causes it to stiffen and ache. When I eat my daily apple it’s painful to open my mouth wide enough to take a bite. My jaw audibly snaps with every chomp. Squishing my eyes together messes with my vision. Doing it while driving can be dangerous. I do my best to keep my ‘blinks’ brief, but to not blink at all? That’s out of my control. 

So yes, while I care about having Tourette Syndrome, I’ve started caring less about what others think. I don’t know what prompted this sudden change. Susan began advocating for this approach the very day I got my diagnosis. I chose to go to war with TS instead. I spent nine years trying to fix a problem that’s unfixable—so much easier to accept it. Maybe I subconsciously figured that out. Maybe it wore me down until I couldn’t fight any more.

When Ellie asked how I was doing, I told her my attitude had shifted. Channeling my best Anastasia Bernoulli, I told Ellie that I’ve hit the point that Susan’s been pitching since 2013. My new attitude is “Fuck you. I have Tourette Syndrome, and I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks.”

For a guy who doesn’t curse in real life, a written F-bomb is like a slap across the face. Like Anastasia, my goal is to open eyes, to make an impression. I’m announcing a shift in the universe. This is a complete about-face for me, a game changer. I feel rattled, upended and knocked off my foundation, but in the best possible way. If it continues, my quality of life will measurably improve.

Everything in the world of Tourette is temporary. My tics—my unwanted movements and sounds—wax and wane, come and go. A year ago, I continually flipped my tongue upside down and painfully stretched that spot where my tongue and mouth connect. This stopped one day, and I don’t know why. Possibly over time, my acceptance of Tourette Syndrome may diminish. I’m not the only factor in the equation; I need to live and operate in the world around me. But for now, I’m basking in the warmth of newfound peace.

23 thoughts on “…and I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks!

  1. This post makes me happy. Not just because it’s so well written. But because you’re sharing a huge life lesson that can apply to many things each of us find challenging or frustrating or even unlikable about ourselves.

    Oh, to have learned how to not give a fuck when I was thirty! While in my fifties, I read an essay written by a woman of my vintage. She titled it, “The Fuck Off Fifties.” She wrote about the freedom she gained when she stopped caring what others thought of her. I decided to immediately adopt the same attitude, and I gotta say, it works and is wonderfully liberating.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I so, so hope I can hold onto this feeling. Everything will be so much easier. Holding in the tics until I can be alone or think no one is watching is exhausting. Thanks for the compliment on the writing. I’m glad someone recognizes that I worked hard on it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • When I was younger, I was somewhat liberal with the F-word. Once I had kids, I quit completely. Now it bugs me when people use it casually. I like to save it for when I want to make a point. I heard my father use it twice in my life and both times he really got my attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. good on you, jeff! you are miles ahead of me. my anxiety was off the charts last week (not sure why?). so bad, that i actually erased my site and had to recreate myself. same linnie– slightly new avatar. p.s. what is the photo? (i don’t recognize it– and you know i don’t read the news. ever!).

    Liked by 2 people

    • So sorry your anxiety was high. That’s a very different thing (and much worse) than stressing out about tics. I don’t actually know what the photo is. I just wanted a building off it’s foundation. From an earthquake, not a hurricane, but there are probably plenty of similar photos from this week.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I was intrigued by the image you included, but now that I’ve read your post, I can see why you chose that particular one. As for the shootings you mention, they are terrifying statistics. Although we don’t have as many guns over here, and the law is very different regarding them, we do still occasionally hear of shootings. It never ceases to shock me.

    Thank you so much for the kind mentions you gave me in this post; I’m very humbled. You are quite right in that I do care about my readers greatly. Each one, including you, is a true friend in my eyes and heart, so I like to treat them as such.

    I’m glad you wrote about your TS – I understand more about where you’re at now. I think it’s great that you’ve been able to find a way to express your more accepting attitude regarding what other people think. How wonderful! I should take a leaf out of your book, but I don’t think I can get to that stage yet, although it would undoubtedly do me a power of good if I could. It shows we’re never ‘too old’ (you’re younger than me) to change our ways. I’m celebrating your success with this you. Great post, Jeff x

    Liked by 2 people

    • The truth is, I look forward to your comments on my blog and yours. Several people have commented (including me) about how they would like to apply this philosophy to their mental illnesses. The problem is, it’s not the same thing. TS is a disorder and can be treated as such with a healthy dose of rebelliousness. Mental illnesses are accompanied by insecurities and fear. It makes it hard to capture a stance of F— You. (If this is even what you are talking about. It occurs to me that you might be referring to your wheelchair instead).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Jeff. I agree; it’s different with mental health. I’m still full of insecurities and fears. It is difficult not to give an F— about what people make of my mental health, but as far as my physical disability is concerned, I don’t care what people think. I can embrace that side of me far more easily than the mind games my brain thinks up sometimes. Still, it’s a work in progress, so I never know how differently I may feel in the future.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s not an easy journey to get to the point of not giving a rip about something. Great piece! Or do I mean great peace? I’ve had a year of one thing after another going awry to the point where my friends have commented time and again at how challenging this or that must be. Why does one thing after another happen. I am learning more and more to ignore the negatives and see the silver lining about some of it. But, it’s harder when it comes to my body’s failings. I’m glad you cleared that hurdle. It sure can bring you more peace.


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