being who you are

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.

2017-03-31_1354 Tourettes
Photo from http://www.tvtonight.com.au (Sunday Night – April 2, The Three Amigos)

 

 

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4 thoughts on “being who you are

  1. As I read this blog, my mind starting racing, reflecting and wondering how people cope with incredible sickness and stress in life. For me it is very distressing indeed. How lucky, how fortunate I am, to still maintain control of my thinking and more importantly how I react to and try to help people less fortunate than I. The horrifying news images of men, women and children suffering, dying due to chemical warfare to me is beyond belief in today’s so called inclusive and diversity embracing world. Such images tend to overtake the ‘good side’ or ‘parts of our world’.

    The challenge is, I guess, to do something, be it ever so small, to improve people’s quality of life. We must keep paddling and support those battling against ferocious currents. We must become open to listen, to learn about fellow human beings who are suffering, what is to me, incredible hardship. We must do all we can to help.

    I quite like these quotes:
    ‘Do anything, but let it produce joy.’
    ‘Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.’

    Janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Absolutely! This news story really made me take stock of the way in which I form opinions of people. I have full admiration and respect for these boys. If more people were able to do what they have achieved, the world may well develop into a more tolerant place.

      Like

  2. “As a society, I think we are better now at accepting physical and behavioral differences ” – I agree with this, but there are still so many people ignorantly making fun of tourettes. Just read the posts tagged tourettes in wordpress.

    Like

    1. Absolutely Jeff … we have such a long, long way to go. Not only with tourettes, but also with other conditions – autism (aspergers) springs to mind because of my son. As a teacher myself, I find it so scary the number of teachers (some of whom I work with) who just don’t get it, and find it necessary to make fun of these students. It makes my blood boil to be honest. However, any little thing we can do to raise awareness and promote tolerance and acceptance has to be worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

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