Sanders, a student at Emerson College, hopes his poem will help kids embrace who they are. “It’s so much a part of me,” he said. “All the little tics and intricacies are an important part of my existence. I hope some little kid who’s getting picked on every day can
“I have Tourette’s. Please please don’t tell anyone.”
That’s what I said to my teachers on my first day of sixth grade .
A new start, after a loathing of my own mental state, was conditioned into me by my sweet, innocent peers before my school switch escape.
This time it will be different.
This time they’ll understand.
This time I won’t be set off and offset any chance of my friends not staring.
But the pens on the paper all around me are so loud and I start tearing at my hair as if I can grip the strands of my affliction and tear it out and throw it down.
So I can stick it with a stake.
And that was a mistake.
And as I come out of my moment and look into the eyes of my new 6th grade classmates, I see fear and then, amusement.
Two reactions most commonly seen to occur at a freak show.
And as my circus tent collapses on my head all my mouth can muster up is ‘this time, this time, this time’.
This is my syndrome, my issue, my what’s-wrong-with-that-kid.
But,see my words uttered forth in a manic manner make my mind settle in a way that I can’t explain.
And so I ‘this time, this time, this time’ in high school and I got a little better .
And this time I’m okay because I can see every ‘this time’ is me.
They say I might grow out if it ,
but why would I want to grow out of my skin?
Of my veins ?
Because they grew so well with me.
Because now I tic the rhythm of my life.
I tic the same way you breathe.
To those kids who watched me do tricks, thank you.
Thank you for whispered words behind cupped hands
because I’m ticcing like a metronome and everything is music pounding.
At the base of my neck is a drum
and your laughter is strings and when you and your friends called me a freak and pushed me down a flight of stairs –
you only wrote me a symphony.
I suppose now is the part where I wish they were me,
walking a mile in my shaking-shoes, but they don’t deserve the privilege.
I have Tourette’s. Please tell everyone.