I haven't told the world about this yet. There are many people in my life that I would've liked to tell about this before I do tell the whole world, but honestly we are not in the kind of relationship at the moment to where I can tell them. This can wait, but I don't exactly want it to. I've tried many times to decide whether or not I should tell people about this. Like, why embarrass myself? Once I tell everyone, I can't un-tell my story. Will I regret this later?
I recently read a post written by Jamie Grace about her physical battle that she lives with EVERY. DAY. It caused me to SOB. There is something that many people don't know about me. I have been able to hide it better in the past few years, because the symptoms get better over time, with age, and with a lot of different factors in my life.
When I was 6 years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome.
It seems at this point in time, that is not going to be a big shock to people. More and more stars are coming forward with their 'story', all about having Tourette's. There are movies that portray (inaccurately) people with Tourette's. But cool or not, talked about or not, it's what I have.
Now, I don't even really know my whole story... where the symptoms began, when it became a concern, or where I started doing any certain tic. I honestly don't even know all of the different tics I have had. I was so young, and a lot of them were so long ago! However, I do remember some from when I was young. Some memories stick with you forever. So many days of being scared of my own body, not knowing what was going on, and praying to GOD that He would put me out of my misery, and wipe the minds of everyone who saw me move in a strange way. I wanted to be normal.
As you grow up, you start to realize that normal is boring, Actually, normal isn't even a real thing. But at most times in our lives, we don't want to stick out. We don't want to be different, and be judged for it. But I was different. We all are different!
I have Tourette's syndrome. Honestly, it has defined me in the past. In my middle school mind, it was the reason that boys never liked me. It was the reason I wasn't doing well in school (this is actually true, I had to be home schooled half way through 8th grade because I was struggling with my tics so much). It proved to me that God didn't love me.
God is bigger than our "flaws". Honestly, flaws are beautiful. But I no longer really consider this a flaw. I understand now that God made me this way! I am set apart from most of the world, for a huge reason. I have learned that, over the years. I am special. God has huge plans for me, and He has been orchestrating every little detail of that plan since before I was born. He knew that Tourette's would bring me closer to Him. It has showed me how much I need Him. Tourette's has showed me that everyone goes through battles, but it is the ones who overcome those battles that SHOW JESUS. Just look at Jamie-Grace! Her song "Hold Me" was written during days of hiding in her room, afraid of showing the world who she was. In those difficult moments she realized that God had His arms around Her, and would never let her out of His grasp. "By my side, You'll always be. You take each and every day, make it special in some way".
I am not Tourette's syndrome. My tics no longer define who I am! As I said, my tics aren't nearly as bad as they have been in the past. But even as I type this, my hands are not completely cooperating with me. I have to move my hand over to my thigh and touch my pinky finger to it in a certain way. If it isn't done perfectly, I have to do it again or my mind will drive me crazy. Sometimes I just can't believe that this is a problem with my brain. How can my brain affect what my hands or eyes have to do? My neck, arms, and stomach have to tighten in certain ways all day. It's hard for other people to understand just what this syndrome is like...
For me, it's this:
yeah, as I write this list, I realize.. it's mostly tightening muscles in different parts of my body, then kind of flicking my hand or head or whatever a few times. So annoying!
Some of you who haven't known me since I was younger are probably wondering, "Wow, I've never even noticed things like this in Emily... why is she telling the world all of this now??"
Here is my answer:
We all have struggles and battles that we have to deal with, every day of our lives. Tourette's is my battle. It is my old crutch. I want to do so much with my life; inspire change, help people, and create music. I feel like I can't honestly follow my dreams without confronting my past. People need to understand what it took for me to get to where I am today. I am Emily! I am not "Emily... that girl who has Tourette's". I am a musician. I am friend! I am a daughter of Christ. I am a dreamer, I'm a fighter, and I am an overcomer.
To wrap this up:
Your battle, physical, mental, spiritual, or otherwise does not define you. You define your battle! Never let it defeat you. The only thing that can truly define a person is their relationship with Christ. Do you have one? Our identity is not found in anything on this earth- it is found purely and simply is Jesus Christ. He loves us, and His opinion is THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS.
Never, ever, EVER give up. You may think, in certain moments, that you just want to be put out of your misery. You'd rather give up instead of trying that 1001th time. DON'T GIVE UP. God has got you! Go to Him; run to Him. He sometimes allows bad things to happen to you to bring you closer to Him. When you make the decision to go to Him, you will understand why.
Hardships are blessings. They teach you so much more than normalcy ever will. Strive to be like Christ. Don't strive for being normal; normal doesn't even exist!
I encourage you to share your story! You never know the effect you may have on people just by telling them how you got to where you are today. Share your heart and share your journey.
Use hashtag: #CGshareyourstory to join me!