A few weeks ago I got two advance copies of my book Welcome to Biscuit Land from the publisher. I kept one and gave the other to Leftwing Idiot. He asked me to write in his, which I did after a lot of thought. I enjoyed thinking about our friendship and what it’s enabled us to achieve together, and it was good to have a reason to write it down for him to keep.
Without Leftwing Idiot there would be no story, or at least not a positive one. Not just because of his tireless work to make Touretteshero an amazing and unique organisation, but because he’s a remarkable friend and I’m glad I’ve had his company on what’s often a tricky journey.
I was keen for him to write in my copy of the book, but he suggested I should write something in it for myself instead. To start with I wasn’t into this idea, but he said, “What you wrote to me was lovely. I think you should write something for yourself so you can look at it on days when things feel tough.” This made sense so I thought I’d give it a go.
I’m sharing this in case writing a note of encouragement to yourself seems like a good idea to you:
So here it is – your book!
Not a book you consciously set out to write but one that’s evolved from the unexpected twists and turns of Tourettes. It tells the story of a year in your life. Look how full it is – full of friends, laughter, sad times, and determination. Whatever amazing or tricky events happen in the future, remember what the book’s saying, and draw strength from how you’ve been able to change your life.
Biscuit Land’s about friendship as much as about Tourettes, and the sort of friendships you have don’t just come about by chance. These friendships aren’t only based on the kindness of others – they’ve developed because people like you. Hold on to that.
However much or little support you need to do things, thinking creatively and practically always helps. Things will definitely be impossible if you say they are. This book didn’t just happen. It was built on hard work, negotiation, and a bit of bickering. Don’t let fear of what’s ahead or the attraction of an easy route determine the choices you make.
Strength, resilience, creativity and humour are the cornerstones of this book and they’re only there because they’re part of you. Don’t feel embarrassed about being proud of what you’ve achieved and don’t stop looking for ways to help make a difference to other people.
If you’re reading these words and they sound empty, remember the conversation that a mum whose son has Tourettes told you about. When he’d been unsure and worried about going on a school trip he’d asked her what she thought Touretteshero would do? Don’t be afraid to ask the same question, but never forget that Touretteshero is you.
However long you remain in Biscuit Land, remember the lessons you’ve learnt during your stay: be open, ask for help, ignoring problems never works, laugh loads and if something’s not working, change it.