Last weekend, one of my best friends from high school gave me a call. She is the friend who I have referred to as Tie Dye in previous posts. This call really made my day and made me appreciate how much friendships can truly mean even more.
She asked me about my day (because she always genuinely cares) and asked me about my plans for the weekend. I asked her about her day and her plans for the weekend as well. She wanted to make sure I was still enjoying college and having a fun time and I told her all about how I was still loving college!
We started talking about big lecture classes, and then the part that really got to me and made me so grateful to have friends like her, though, was the part of the conversation that went something mostly like this:
Tie Dye: “So this might be a little bit of a sensitive topic to talk about if you’re next to people, but how are your big lecture classes, with your tics I mean?”
Me: “They’re pretty good actually. Not as bad as I thought they would be. The people in front of me sometimes turn around and look at me because they’re probably wondering ‘what is she doing?’ but then they pretty much ignore me and I ignore them. Thanks for asking.”
Tie Dye: “That’s really great. Oh and how are your friends about it? Are they understanding?”
Me: Oh yeah, they’re great about it.
Tie Dye: “Good because if they weren’t, they’d have to answer to me!”
Then Tie Dye started talking about how her friend at college started volunteering with young kids who have Tourette and how she wants to go with her sometime to volunteer with them too.
Awww, the whole conversation made me really really happy. Tie Dye and I have been friends since 6th grade, and she knows me so well. She is comfortable with my TS and I love when she asks me about it because I know she really cares and wants to know how I am.
She understands that TS is a part of my life that affects me; she understands that sometimes people aren’t as understanding as they could be; and she understands that saying something like, “Good, because if you’re friends weren’t understanding and supportive, they’d have to answer to me,” would make me feel safe and accepted by her, which would make my day even though she is on the opposite side of the country.
The interesting thing, though, is that although the conversation made my day and let me know that no matter what I have a friend who understands and accepts my Tourette, it made me kind of upset at the same time. I realized how much I missed her and how things would never be the same as they were in high school.
It also made me think about how none of my friends at college have yet to reach the stage of comfort about my Tourette that they would be willing to bring it up themselves and ask me how I was with my tics. I know relationship building takes time, but I’m not a very patient person sometimes about these kinds of things.
I want my friends at college to have complete comfort and understand about my Tourette like my friends in high school did. I know, however, that this kind of comfort, understanding and habituation takes time. I’ll get there with my friends — I just have to wait. That night, though, I really didn’t feel like waiting. I pretty much just went back to my room and felt sorry for myself.
The next morning when I woke up, though, everything was back to normal and I felt better. In the long term, the conversation helped me realize that with time my new friends at college will reach the level of understanding, support and comfort with my Tourette that my friends in high school had, it will just take time.