Saturday, February 11, 2012

Marc Elliot TSA Event!

Hey guys! So I should really be studying instead of posting on my blog but I just have to post about the Marc Elliot event! I have three exams next week so I've been super stressed which means my tics have been crazy bad this week but I seem to be managing.

Anyway Thursday night was the Marc Elliot TSA event which I had been excitedly waiting for for a while! My cousin Twitch was able to come which I was very happy about! Having her there was really nice and made me feel more conformable. Anyway I drove myself to the event with my mom in the passenger seat of the car because #1 I had no idea how to get to the random community center that the event was at and #2 my mom couldn't be without a car from 6-9 at night. We got a little lost by found it in the end!

I showed up early to help set up some tables and chairs for the event and to set up my laptop for showing the documentary. And when everything was set up, we all waiting for Marc Elliot to arrive. While we were waiting, the president of the TSA chapter told me that when Marc was done speaking she wanted to invite me up to the stage to introduce me and to have me talk a little bit about the documentary I just produced. I was nervous about this since there were already like 30 or 40 people in the audience but I was also really excited!

When he arrived the president of the TSA chapter grabbed me and introduced me to Marc. I had already met Marc when he came to give a speech at my school but this time I would get to meet him more in depth. The President and Marc both said that I was like the mini Marc Elliot, haha. I guess they said this because I am very involved with the TSA chapter and made the TS documentary, and am a very good student who is applying to the same college that Marc went to. The President had told Marc all about me apparently and meeting him on such a personal level was really exciting!

Marc asked me about how my senior year was going and then asked me if it bothered me that when he came to my school and gave the speech he asked everyone to stand up and "have Tourette's" for a few seconds. I told him that it was a "interesting experience" but that it didn't bother me at all. I thought it was a very good exercise. He then asked me if there was a time that my tics were worse or more obvious. I told him that my Junior year was the time when people started really noticing and asking me about it and I just told them what was going on and that everyone has been really great about it. He asked me if pretty much everyone in my class knew about my TS, and I said that yeah I think most people do.

I really felt that he cared and wanted to know about my experiences with TS because he really knows what it's like. It was so neat that we had this connection and that when talking with him I knew that he knew exactly what I was talking about and exactly what it's like. Talking with Marc Elliot (someone who has TS who is older than I am and can be a role model in a way) on such a person level made me feel really special and part of the Tourette's community.

 After talking to Marc, I talked with two of my TSA friends who are both guys. One is a sophomore in high school and the other is a freshman in college. Shortly after, we all took our seats and Twitch showed up and I moved to go sit with her.

Marc's speech was pretty different than the one he gave at my school. I kind of expected it to be the same, so I was excited to hear something new and fresh. He read the first two chapters from his book and answered loads of questions about Tourette's. At a few points he got really emotional and started tearing up because he gave his first speech in high school at one of our local TSA chapter meetings and now he is a nationally renown speaker.

Listening to what Marc had to say on Thursday actually has changed how I feel about my tics in a way. Even though I tell people I have Tourette's openly, and even though I am very used to my tics, I still feel a lot of embarrassment when I tic in class or in public or even around people I know well like my friends or teachers. I feel as if they are judging me in a way even though they know I have Tourette's. One thing that Marc said really struck me and changed the way I feel about this in a way. He said that a few months ago he became frustrated because he thought people were judging him and not letting him live his life and talked to a friend about this. His friend then told him that Marc was the most hypocritical person and judgmental person of them all and that in reality Marc has no idea what other people are feeling or thinking about him and the only person in reality that is assuming that other people are judging is Marc himself. He was assuming the other people were judging him or making assumptions about him when in reality he was the person making these assumptions about what other people thought of him. Marc then realized the only way he could find piece with himself was to stop judging himself and making assumptions about what other people around him were thinking.

This really spoke to me. How can I make assumptions about what other people are thinking of me if I have no idea what they are thinking in reality? The only person who is being effected by my thoughts are me. It is truly inspirational to meet someone who realizes that in order to be happy you just have to be yourself, stop being apologetic about it, and stop judging yourself for something that you can't help. At the end of the day all that matters is how you feel about yourself and you can't worry about other people's thoughts because ultimately you will never know exactly what they are thinking. I think this is a message that really anyone can benefit from, not just people with Tourette's.

After Marc was finished speaking, the president of the TSA chapter went up to the front to talk about the local TSA chapter and upcoming events. I then turned to Twitch and said "This is going to kinda freak me out, she's going to have me come up there and talk about my documentary". Twitch gave me a little first pump thing, wished me luck, and told me she would clap for me. Then the president introduced me and called me up to the front of the room. I don't exactly remember what she said to introduce me because I was nervous but she said something to the effect of where I go to school, that I have Tourette's, that TSA teen pizza night was my invention, and that I had just produced a Tourette's documentary. I hadn't really prepared what I was going to say so I just kinda did a short spur of the moment explanation of how I put my documentary together and how you could find it on youtube and that we have my laptop set up in the back so that afterwards people can stop by it and watch a bit. I went back to my seat and later Rachel and Trainman told me I did a good job. Sure was nerve racking but I felt like a real leader which always is a great feeling.

After that was all done, I went to set up my laptop to show the documentary. I made sure it was working so people could watch it as they passed by and then introduced Twitch to Trainman and MiniBrad and then we all went to stand in line to buy Marc Elliot's book and get it signed by him. We were at the very back of the line so we all had a while to stand around and talk.

I had fun catching up with Twitch about what had been going on in her life and catching up with Trainman as well. We finally got up to the front of the line and I bought my book and had it personally signed by Marc! We talked with him a bit and then the night was over and Twitch and I walked down together and my mom was there with the car. My mom was happy to hear that I had introduced my documentary to the whole group, we picked up some dinner from a grocery store, and I got back and went to bed because I was just plain exhausted from the exciting night! One of the best TSA events I have ever been to by far!

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