Emily. Jacksonville, FL.

“I was four years old walking in Disney World when my parents noticed I was acting ‘strange’. I would walk a few steps and then squat and then it would repeat every few minutes. It was a few days later that i was diagnosed with Tourettes syndrome. Growing up , the kids in my class would mock my tics or even worse count them. I’ve spent a lot of my school days trying to isolate myself from ‘the normal’ kids. It wasn’t until after highschool I realized that my tics have been one of my biggest teachers. Through ticing excessively for sixteen years, I’ve learned how accepting your flaws and your weaknesses can make you more accepting of others. I’ve learned that people often ridicule and do cruel things to others because they just don’t know or they’re truly uncomfortable by the unknown. Having Tourettes has shown me that I am not my label. I am not ’ strange’. I am a woman who uses her quirk as a weapon against the idea of labels.”