IPG Publishing recently sent me two books on tics and Tourettes. One was Welcome to Biscuit Land, by Jessica Thom. This book was an honest, open and candid “diary” written from a woman who lives with severe Tourettes.
I read this book in two days and was struck by two things:
1. Jessica Thom is seriously the most funny person alive. She knows how to spin a joke more than Jay Leno on a merry-go-round. I can completely understand why Stephen Fry (of Monty Python fame) included her in his television show Planet Word when it came to discussing the evolution of the curse word. Thom is one of those 10% of T.S. folk who deal with coprolalia: the inability to control obscene language.
2. Class and kindness rises above any sort of disability.
* NOTE: Folks, no one wants their child to deal with uncontrollable curse words. I would be lying if I said that I was immune to fear of my son screaming the F-word at Super King Markets or during a Spelling Bee next year. Judge: “How do you spell Excitable?” Stink: “E…X… F U C K a duck you Penguin Humper CITABLE!”
At the same time, what Thom taught me through her book, and subsequent interviews on national TV shows, is that having a “disability” like extreme T.S., does not keep one’s true elegant soul from shining through. I, for one, would rather have a child with a keen intellect (and kind disposition) like Thom than a “neuro-typical” child who doesn’t involuntarily curse but acts like an ass-wipe.
Note #2: My cussing can not be blamed on T.S.. I am tired and have a potty mouth at times. As Thom mentions in her book, her own father does not use her tics as an excuse for any kind of cursing. Like a true dad, he knows the difference and lets her know when she is out of line!
I personally found Thom’s book, and our subsequent back and forth emails, to be both engaging, encouraging and enlightening.
Thom’s T.S. does not define her.
My son’s T.S., much more mild, does not define him.
And fear will not define me.
And I hope not, you.
More on her book to follow.
Meanwhile, you can check her out at Touretteshero.com.
In closing, for you moms who are new to T.S., I want you to know that I was so scared when my son was diagnosed with T.S.. I thought, “Wow, what now? Will he be shrieking and cursing and acting nutty?” Let me tell you that not only is this far from the case, he is thriving. Again, let me say that if it WERE the case, I could only hope to sit down with Thom’s parents (or Thom herself) to be reminded what being a human is truly about. That is being oneself, and rising above obstacles, to let the heart shine through.