Where Are They Now? – Mason Esposito

My name is Mason Esposito (they/them), and I was the 2015 NJCTS scholarship recipient, former coach for the Tim Howard Leadership Academy, and a recent guest on the UpTic podcast! I majored in Psychology at Muhlenberg College, and I got my Master’s at the University of St Thomas in Counseling Psychology. I currently live and work in St Paul, Minnesota at a mental health clinic specializing in autism – most of my clients are autistic children and teens! I’ve lived in the Twin Cities since 2019, and despite the frigid winters it is still one of my favorite places in the world. 

TS has affected my life in so many ways, both positive and not so positive. I still experience pretty severe tics (especially for an adult). Counterintuitively, my tics have been an asset to my career as a mental health clinician – many clients have expressed that having a clinician with Tourette Syndrome makes them feel more comfortable around me, because they know that I have a disability too! I have unfortunately faced employment and educational discrimination due to my tics – my grad school advisor attempted to prevent me from graduating due to my coprolalia. Even going through that experience, I finished grad school with a 3.9 GPA and I have been receiving nothing but positive feedback.

I currently live with my cat, Sprout, and my best friend, Dana. Dana plays a lot of Guild Wars 2, bakes remarkable cakes, and is always willing to sing Brian David Gilbert songs with me. My partner Lucy and I have been together for almost 5 years. Lucy fosters kittens, knows how to do every single craft exceptionally well, and always listens to my infodumps about musical theater. My friends are so important to me and I appreciate their support so deeply.

My passion is the arts and being creative – I participate in a queer figure drawing co – op, I take dance and voice lessons, attend art fairs and basement shows, write fanfiction and create fanart (don’t look for it!), I make cakes and frost my tics onto them, and I am currently in a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof (if you’re in the Twin Cities, come see it!). 

NJCTS has positively impacted my life for the better. Prior to being involved, I had never met another person with TS in person. Specifically, seeing other adults with Tourette’s with tics like mine – as opposed to the people I was meeting or seeing who had ‘grown out of their tics’, or had very mild tics – was life changing. I still remember meeting Dr. Cox at the 2015 Leadership academy very clearly – here was a person, who had a doctorate, worked clinically, and taught university students, who also had Tourette’s like mine. During my discrimination debacle in 2022, I emailed her and she offered profound support. Katrina Bergeon, who was a co leader of my team at the 2019 Leadership Academy, is still one of my biggest supporters and one of my best friends. Having someone I can talk to about TS frankly, and have it be understood, is so powerful (we are also both big fans of Taylor Swift, How to Dance in Ohio, and sharing ridiculous tiktoks). Without the support of NJCTS, I would have never had the skills and support needed to challenge the discrimination I was experiencing, and I am so grateful. 

To celebrate 20 years of NJCTS we will be showcasing 20 stories of adults with TS who were once involved in the organization and now all grown up! Stay tuned as we share all of these incredible and successful stories!