Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
— Bernard Baruch
On April 2, the Sunday Night program aired a segment which left me close to tears (remembering I tend not to cry in front of others). It was about three amazing young men who dare to go out in public and share their Tourette’s with the world.
I say ‘dare’ because I can only guess how difficult doing this must be.
Sure, there have been times when I have been nervous about going out in public because of a bad haircut (or no hair), a massive cold sore or zit, or with a child who has the potential to have a major meltdown in front of everyone. These are justified nerves because people do stare; they do make comments (not always out of earshot either); they do judge.
But, compared with the symptoms of Tourette’s … my ‘issues’ are nothing.
Collectively, The Three Amigos (as the three friends refer to themselves) exhibit behaviours caused by Tourette’s which include: vocal outbursts (including swearing), repetitive movements, eye rolling, head shaking, uncontrollable sounds and momentary paralysis. They say it happens more frequently when they are out in public than at home, which makes activities like going to school, taking public transport, going to the movies and eating at a café a potential nightmare. They do not know what is going to happen, when it will happen or how people will react.
Together, through their friendship and support of each other, they are overcoming the fear of going out, embracing and accepting their Tourette’s and making their local community more aware and tolerant of differences.
Right at the end of the segment one of the trio, Adam, stared straight at the camera and, in the words of Bernard Baruch, said ‘Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.’
How powerful is that attitude?
More of us should apply it, rather than being so wrapped up in the fear of what others will think about you that we stop doing what we want to do. If people care about something you do which is out of your control, do you really want them in your life? Stuff ’em.
Being stared at is so confronting, but the rush you can get from lifting your chin and getting on with it overrides the discomfort. Better still, staring boldly back soon makes the perpetrator think twice, drop their eyes and crawl back into their box.
As a society, I think we are better now at accepting pysical and behavioural differences than we were when I was in Primary School — but we still have a long, long way to go.
A huge shout out to The Three Amigos — Adam, James and Cameron — for taking that stand, getting it out there through the media and just being themselves. They certainly made me reassess my own situation.