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Episode 033: A Conversation on Tourette Syndrome with Olivia Reinert

a conversation on tourette syndrome

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and guest Olivia Reinert as they discuss Tourette Syndrome. Olivia shares about her experiences, challenges, and some of the common misconceptions people have about this disorder.

About Our Guest

Olivia Reinert is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, where she is studying creative writing. Her interests include writing and editing. She works on the campus literary magazine, The Foundationalist, and recently had one of her short stories published in Ink Lit Magazine. She is also Sarah’s niece!

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Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations where each week we explore a topic to help us have more powerful conversations with ourselves and with each other to have more powerful relationships. I am your host, Sarah Noll Wilson. And joining me today is a very, very special guest, Olivia Reinert. Let me tell you a little bit about Olivia, her background and why this is such a special. So first, Olivia is going to be our youngest guest that we have had on the show to date. So she is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, where she is studying creative writing, her interests are writing and editing. That’s what she wants to do once she’s done. She works on the literary magazine at the campus, The Foundationalist. And in a short time, perhaps by the time we hear this, one of her short stories will be published in Ink Lit Magazine. What you should also know about Olivia Reinert is she is my oldest nibling. She’s my niece and so we’ve known each other her whole life. And, and I was really, I was really grateful when she said yes to being on the show, because what we will be exploring is her experience navigating Tourette’s. But before we get into that, Olivia, what else would you like the audience to know about you?

Olivia Reinert
Wow, I love talking about my experience with Tourette’s. I adore bringing it up, and I really enjoy talking about it.

Sarah Noll Wilson
She’s got a fondness for cats. Like, you know, like, like you’ve never, you know, never seen and she’s also a very talented musician and singer. So I mean, I can like add in.

Olivia Reinert
I try my best.

Sarah Noll Wilson
She’s pretty great. The other thing is some of you who’ve listened to our show for a while might recognize her name when we talk in the show notes, because for quite a while Olivia was the one who was helping us transcribe these shows. And so she she has listened to most all of them until she went off to college.

Olivia Reinert
I’m definitely a little bit familiar with the format.

Sarah Noll Wilson
So let’s, you know, let’s let’s dig in Olivia. You know, one of the goals of this show is how can we talk about things that we don’t often talk about? And also how can we bust myths, show up differently. So, first, let’s just start with, you know, for people who maybe have heard of Tourette’s, describe for us, you know, how would you describe Tourette’s like without before we get into your lived experience, talk to us about what does it mean to have Tourette’s from a, you know, from a medical perspective?

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, so Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder and it to kind of describe what it feels like, it’s as if my brain was sending messages down to the rest of my body, telling me to make certain movements or to say certain things, and it kind of feels like blinking. Where it’s a very natural instinct to do and if I can fight it off for a while, but it’s usually pretty uncomfortable. So I tend not to. And those movements are called tics and they can be vocal or motor, physical ones. Yeah, I’ve had Tourette’s Syndrome pretty much my entire life since I was about six, seven or so.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, when did I was trying to remember when, like, when when did it start? But first, before we go there, it’s interesting for me to hear you talk about, I, I’ve never heard you describe it in that way of like, it feels like a blink. And when you were talking about you can kind of like hold them at bay a little bit. But not, not necessarily like completely. And using that analogy of a blink it made me think of yeah, you can hold your eyes open for a certain amount of time. And then at some –

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, eventually it gets really uncomfortable. It’s, I know Tourette’s syndrome and just tic disorders in general, because you can have tics without having Tourette’s syndrome. I know someone who’s like that. But it can vary on different people how it feels like but for me, at least, it it feels like a very instinctual thing. Like, my body’s just like this is so natural. And you have to do this right now. It’s crazy. If you don’t, you know, wave your hand or whatever.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, that’s interesting. So let’s so take us back like because, I mean, I kind of don’t remember you without it, but I know that it started to present itself. You know, like you said when you were younger, so talk to us about, you know, what, what, what was that experience like, for you? Or what, what, what was changing? Or what what were you noticing? Or what was your parents noticing that made them explore? Hmm, there might be something going on here.

Olivia Reinert
So I actually don’t have any memories of what it was like to not have tics. But based on what my mom has told me, it, I do remember having tics and that kind of like restless sense of energy in first grade at the earliest, when I started blinking rapidly was my first one. And I do remember having that tic because it it’s easy to satisfy. And I can do it over and over and over. So I started I, that was my very first one. And eventually, my parents picked up on that. And they took me to the doctor, because, like, why, why am I blinking so much? Is there something wrong with my eye? And I remember the doctor talking to us and being like, yeah, it’s these are tics, it’s fairly common for kids to get these, it’s pretty common, actually. The vast majority of them will grow out of it by the time they’re 18. A minority of children still end up with Tourette’s syndrome, or, like long tic disorder by the time they’re of adulthood.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s a you know, like, oh, well, one of the things that I you know, hearing you describe it as, like a restless, restless energy. I know that the different tics evolve, and, you know, for for you like, and I think just it’s helpful if you’re, if you’re comfortable with sharing, like, for people to understand, you know, like, what it might look like, or, I mean, I remember there were times where I was like, why does she keep stretching her back? Like she keeps, you know, like, there is a period where you would, you know, stretch your back. So, talk to us a little bit about, you know, what does it look like? Or what does it feel like for you and your experience of, you know, because it was never just one type? And then, we’ll start with that question. And then I’ll, I’ll ask a follow up here in a minute.

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, so with tics, I definitely do have more than one tic at once. And tics can last a long time. I’m trying to think of what’s what my oldest one is. I mine tend to stay pretty static. I know a lot of people who get a lot of different unique ones. And for a while I was that way with vocal tics. For vocal tics it can be pretty much anything for me, mine tend to manifest primarily in whistling sounds. So I’ll make like little bird calls. Yeah, it’s the sensation for those is interesting with the vocal ones, because they tend to be inspired by other people talking. So I have a hard time being around other people who are whistling because it’s like, my brain wants to mimic them so bad. That it’s like, I know I’ve said it before, but the really only best way to describe it is it’s a very, like intrinsic sensation, like blinking. It’s like, you just have to do this right now. It can vary, though, because that’s how it goes with vocal tics. But I have a couple motor tics. Like I have one where I, like stretch and I cracked my back, or I crack my neck. And for those, it’s, I feel pain if I don’t do those. It’s it’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s just like an overwhelming like sense of discomfort. Sort of like an itch.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. What do you feel like people get wrong? Like, you know, I, one thank you for doing this. It makes me a little sad that we haven’t talked this deeply about this before because I’m hearing just hearing you talk about your experience in a way that we don’t usually get to connect. What do people get wrong about Tourette’s? Because I feel like I just feel like there’s some misconceptions out there. So from your perspective, what do you feel like people get wrong?

Olivia Reinert
People get a lot wrong about Tourette’s. First thing would probably be that it will represent different in every single person and Tourette’s syndrome and tic disorders in general, tics aren’t super uncommon. I can guarantee that everyone’s met at least one person who’s got a tic disorder. Like we’re all out there. I tend to not be obvious as someone with Tourette’s whenever I tell people they tend to be surprised because mine are all pretty subtle. So it’s like I’m aware that I’m ticcing by other people aren’t. And another big one would be that Tourette’s Syndrome isn’t just swearing. So for a lot of people, when they think about Tourette’s Syndrome, they’re going to think about, you know, like people uncontrollably dropping the like F bomb, for example. And that does exist, that’s called coprolalia. When you have swearing tics, it’s not super common. I only had a couple swearing tics. So a lot of people will think that everyone with Tourette’s will have swearing tics like those.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, no, I mean, I think that’s those are some of the things like that, that I was thinking about. And then your point about, right, everyone being different. And you know, and one of the things that I know, it like something that I’ve learned from your journey is that sometimes they can increase in intensity, you know. In times of, you know, nothing like being on a podcast with your aunt to just like, raise the heat a little bit –

Olivia Reinert
Talking about it makes it worse.

Sarah Noll Wilson
But what, yeah, so say more about that, because I think that was something that was that was new insight for me in your experience of like, oh, big changes, anxiety, right? Like, what are some of the things that might trigger it to get more intense?

Olivia Reinert
Anything could make it more intense. It’s kind of, I’ve always thought about my Tourette’s is like a physical manifestation of how I’m feeling on the inside. So if I’m really, really excited about something, I’m going to have a lot of tics. Like I remember, whenever I have a vacation coming up, I, it’s going to get really difficult for me for a couple of days leading up to it, because I’m like, it’s going to be like coming out through my tics and my body. The same can be said, though, for when I’m anxious. So if I’ve big test coming up, I remember when I had my driver’s ed exam. And it was really bad, because I was just so nervous and I had to focus on staying still. And that was even worse because if I think about staying still, then of course, my brain’s like, I don’t want you to stay still. That’s –

Sarah Noll Wilson
(Laughs) We need you to move now.

Olivia Reinert
We need you to move. So yeah, it when I’m not, when I’m calm the tics tend to be calm. There’s good and bad times. And it can worsen depending on what I eat, as well. I know a lot of people who have to watch their diet, because certain things will influence their tics. For me, I can’t drink caffeine, because it makes it near unbearable.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s interesting to hearing you talk about how like, it’s sort of manifest how you’re feeling on the inside. And, you know, I don’t know that we’ve talked about this on the show, but it’s certainly something we’ve talked about in our work, how, you know, stress is energy, even when it’s good stress. You know, even when you’re excited, and you’re, you know, call that you stress and versus distressed and that can still show up similarly, similarly in the body. You know, one of the things I’m curious about is, you know, I’m, you know, I’m thinking about our audience and knowing that probably a lot of the people who are listening are leaders or HR professionals are in the workplace, and, you know, hearing you talk about the, like, the restless energy. The just feeling sort of like, the fact that this can be painful if you aren’t able to move. And, you know, and I’m wondering, like, in what, you know, and you talked a little bit about this with your driver’s ed, but, you know, what are some scenarios where it can feel difficult, and maybe, and maybe you don’t feel this way anymore? You know, because, you know, I don’t know where you’re at on your journey, but like, I could imagine and appreciate that there’s probably times where you’re just like, okay, like, I have to navigate this while wanting to stay focused, while wanting to, you know, like, what are some of those scenarios like for you?

Olivia Reinert
It definitely can be difficult in some respects. I often have to be delicate about who I tell. Especially because, like, of what the pop culture idea of Tourette’s is. So I honestly usually withhold it from, especially in less casual settings, I let people get to know me first. Especially with like, friends and such because if I go and tell people, head on, hey, I have Tourette’s, they might go into it with a different expectation.

Sarah Noll Wilson
You want to make sure people get to know you first. And not necessarily, I would imagine, like not see you as, as like this being your identity. It’s just like, yeah, it’s just part of, you have brown hair. And you have, you know, it’s not a sometimes I like, Yep, I got panic disorder. That’s – ADHD. But you know –

Olivia Reinert
It’s the thing that I have. It’s not. I exist without it. Part of me, but I’m, like, I’m a person. Tourette’s is a tiny little aspect of that.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I could imagine. And, you know, I know that you’ve only started to get into the workforce over the last couple of years. But, you know, I could have I could imagine, so maybe, like, speculate with me here for a minute. I could imagine and appreciate why some people might be hesitant to share at work.

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, I don’t tend to tell people when I’m applying for jobs because I feel like it would probably not be good for me. And I know that I’ll be fine. So it’s like, well, you can figure it out, or I’ll tell you way in the future, once you know that I’m a good worker and all that.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, well, and there, I mean, again, like there, there can be limiting beliefs people have about what it means what it can look like making assumptions about, well, how will you behave? Or what are you competent with? And all of that, and you know, and I think I think the other thing, and this is something we, you know, we explore a lot in our work and in talking with this show is part of part of conversations like this is so people can become more familiar with it so they can become, they can pay attention to it differently. They can think about it differently, and they can think about how they can support people in their life with it. You know, I think that that’s something I’ve learned, as you know, my own experience with neuro divergent from an ADHD perspective is like, I don’t know that I would necessarily tell somebody I worked with, unless I had a really high level of trust with them. Now my boss already, she knew, like when I was diagnosed, she was like, are you surprised? Because I’m not surprised. I was like, well, good. Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate that. What are things people? Like, let’s talk about the don’t list, the to do list. Like what not to do if somebody in your life, loved one, coworker, friend, family, you know, family member has Tourette’s? What what are the things? What are traps people fall into that you’re like, please don’t just stop.

Olivia Reinert
Oh, man. There’s quite a few. One that I found a lot is that when I tic, and this tends to be more on, like, really noticeable tics. People will feel the need to like, acknowledge it in some way. And I’ve talked to a lot of other people with Tourette’s, and they’ll, like talk about other people, like cracking jokes about their tics. And it depends on the individual person. But I would say that if you meet someone with Tourette’s, don’t acknowledge the tics. Unless the person like gives you the cue, just let them lead the way. I’ve had some interesting encounters with other people because maybe I’ll have a tic and you know, it’s like, I’m just trying to do my best to ignore it and move on. And like they’ll draw focus to it. Well, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. I’m sorry that you think me cracking my knuckles is gross. I think it’s gross too. One of the jobs that I worked at, this kind of loops back into people having a lot of misconceptions already about Tourette’s Syndrome. And at one of my jobs, I’d mentioned that I had Tourette’s and they’re like, well, it’s fine, because it’s not like you’ll be you know, screaming out the windows. And I was like –

Sarah Noll Wilson
How did you want me to feel when you said that?

Olivia Reinert
What am I supposed to reply to there? Yeah, so I guess, don’t say that, things like that.

Sarah Noll Wilson
You know, I really love the way you said, like let the person lead the way. And I think that can be applied to so many situations, right? Especially if we’re talking about you know, various disabilities, disorders, challenges, I mean, kind of in anything right like, let the let the person lead the way and and sometimes I think that people don’t always realize the impact of a joke being sarcastic. Or to your point, drawing attention to. And, and I think that that that idea of just like letting the person lead the way. What are, what are some other ways? Or what would you add to that of ways people could be supportive of somebody in their life that has Tourette’s?

Olivia Reinert
I really, I again, just letting them lead the way going into it with an open mind. Like, the person who said that, to me, wasn’t malicious about it at all. They they were joking, but you know, it was still a little hurtful. I guess it’s hard with something that can be as noticeable. And it’s really when like you see someone loudly saying something over and over in public, it can be hard not to draw judgment on that person. But I suppose if you know that they have Tourette’s and it’s, for a lot of people you can, you can recognize it. Going and go into it with an open mind. There’s a lot of cool people with Tourette’s. I, don’t judge them based on something they can’t control. Act as if they’re a normal person, because they are, they just have, their nervous system isn’t as happy with them as some other people’s is.

Sarah Noll Wilson
One of the things that I was wondering about is like, you know, I think about with well intended things, right? People can say, you know, a lot of times, I mean, what’s the phrase? The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions. But I imagine it’s almost like. I’m connecting, like, as somebody with anxiety, the worst thing you could tell me is, don’t worry about it. Because it’s like, yeah, I know and my brain like, but do it anyway. And I would imagine it’s probably similar if people are like, “Oh, stop moving or stop fidgeting.” Like I can imagine that –

Olivia Reinert
Just don’t do the tic.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Just don’t. Yeah.

Olivia Reinert
It’s as simple as that, like, if I could I like, oh, that’s never occurred to me before. Wow. I’ll have to do that right now. Yeah, that that one’s definitely annoying.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, I can, I can imagine that. Especially if somebody’s like, you know, a parent, or they have young ones. And they aren’t, you know, they think they’re just screwing around, or whatever the case is, and not, and not understanding it. What, you know, I’m curious, and again, like, feel free to answer or not? Like, what, how did your relationship with it evolve? Was there a turning point? Were you always at a place of acceptance with it? Or was that something that has evolved? Is that continuing to evolve? What is that, what has that journey been like for you? Because I think about with like, whether it’s neuro divergent, mental health, physical disabilities, that what I’ve learned from my experience, is that things I can’t cure, I just need to figure out how to have a different relationship with — like, my panic disorder, and ADHD doesn’t go away. So how do I have a different relationship? You’re still young on your life journey. What what has that evolution been for you with your relationship with Tourette’s?

Olivia Reinert
Well, I personally, I’m grateful that I’ve had it my entire life because, for me, there wasn’t any gauge of not being forced to move, you know, multiple times a minute. I have a friend who she knows someone who just developed it when they were 17 and that was huge for her because you live having full control over yourself for 17 years of your life and then one day you wake up and, you know, it’s an adjustment and it can be really hard. So, I’ve personally always felt lucky that I don’t have it. For me, the concept of not having Tourette’s feels unnatural, it’s just something I’ve always had so I tend not to think about it. Because, you know, it can be really easy for me to sometimes think about, like, oh, you know, people don’t have like, these pains all the time, or they’re not scared about accidentally whistling in public because someone else is whistling and I like that can definitely get me on a bit of a like bitter thought process.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, the wishing pits. I call them the wishing pits.

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, the wishing pits. It’s like, “Oh, I wish I wish I didn’t have Tourette’s. I wish I didn’t do this.” But there’s, I can’t do anything about it. It was definitely a little bit harder for me when I was under 18. Because I would hear so much that I would outgrow it or all these other people outgrew it. And then I never did. I mean, maybe potentially I still will one day, but chances are, it’s pretty low. Statistically. Yeah, so that was that was definitely – I like that the wishing pit. I basically just had to kind of be like, there’s not a whole lot I can do about this. If I don’t think about it. Like, I have it, I can’t control it. I’ll just do what I can to make myself more comfortable with it.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s a I mean, I think that’s one of the things that I admire about you, is like this level of acceptance and also just confidence of like, yep, this is who I am and this is part of my lived experience. And you know, that’s something that I admire in you quite a bit because I think it could be can be easy anytime we’re facing challenges, right? Like to my friend Rachel Sharon, she’s the one who calls them the wishing pits, which I so I want to give like props to her because I think it’s such a great description of like, I wish I didn’t have to deal with this. I wish I could be different. And that, all that does is like take a big ol slap of suffering and add it on a plate that doesn’t need to be added necessarily.

Olivia Reinert
You start resenting yourself for something that you can’t control. I mean, I certainly didn’t choose to develop it at age six or seven or whenever. So, like, why hate on myself for it?

Sarah Noll Wilson
You know, here’s like, I have to like, here’s — Olivia is a very different 19 year old than I was. And –

Olivia Reinert
It’s because I’m medicated.

Sarah Noll Wilson
(Laughs) I mean, that may help. But like, you know, I mean, I think something, one of my favorite, I’m going to tell a story and I’m not going to embarrass you. I hope I don’t embarrass you. Because it’s not my intention. But I it’s something that I again, like I respect and look up to in you is like, you know, when you’re like, why hate on yourself? One of the things that we do with with our niblings is we take them on a trip and Olivia and I went to New York a couple of years ago to go to some shows on Broadway. And we had just done this amazing vintage shopping trip. And Olivia bought this great wide brim black hat, this bohemian. I mean, you were looking good. You knew it.

Olivia Reinert
I still have the photo from the night because I was just like taking videos of myself in the hotel room.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And I remember you every mirror we’d go by you just sort of pause and smile and I was like, I must have made some crack of like, you’re still still looking good. Or something and I made some joke. And you scold me, because you said, would you –– Do you remember this? Do you remember what you told me?

Olivia Reinert
I probably said something along the lines of would you rather me not?

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, you were like would you rather me — you were like would you rather me look in the mirror and like hate myself and I was like oh my god, I needed. Yep, that’s why. Yep. Point taken. And maybe I should look at the mirror now and be like, damn, I look good. I feel good and I look good. So I love that about you.

Olivia Reinert
Be your own hype woman. Because we’re raised to like, I mean, this isn’t like really related with Tourette’s at all but like –

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, but let’s go there.

Olivia Reinert
But like we’re raised to, like hate ourselves as women and like hate our bodies and hate how we look. So I like, I take, I take great joy in being like yeah, no, I think I’m cool. I, I love staring at myself in the mirror. I brush out my hair and I’m like, okay.

I love thinking of it as like an act of rebellion. Rebellion against the system that says we should like question our looks to be like, yeah, I I I look good.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And I feel good.

Olivia Reinert
I like looking at myself in the mirror. So when I pass one by.

Sarah Noll Wilson
So that’s a challenge to all the women listening is like next time you look by the mirror, if you catch yourself hating, just find some joy in fighting against the system that tells you you should not like what you look like. I mean, it’s like, message, upon message, upon message, upon message, right of like you’re not thin enough, you’re not young enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not whatever, you know. Your hair’s not curly enough, it’s not straight enough. And take some joy in looking good. It’s a good lesson we can all hold on to. Olivia, you know, is there anything that we didn’t cover related to your experience with Tourette’s, with somebody supporting somebody with Tourette’s that would be important for us? I mean, cuz you’ve kind of hit on like internal monologues, like internal ways you can talk but is there anything that we haven’t explored or covered that you were hoping we would?

Olivia Reinert
I would like to just come back to the fact that Tourette’s and again, tic disorders, because you can have tics without having Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s, there’s a girl I know, actually who you can definitely tell she’s got Tourette’s. I was able to clock it the first time I saw it. And I took a lot of comfort and like seeing it, like how her tics are pretty severe but she’s out here and she’s just living her life, and it’s in an acting class too so I really, really applaud her. And it shows up differently for everybody.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, it’s, I mean, you know, especially for people who are listening who might be struggling, you know, it’s sometimes, especially when we think about neuro divergent, right, so autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, when we think about mental health challenges, when we think about physical disabilities, sometimes the world isn’t made for us. And so we have to, like, you know, show up in a way that we can be ourselves in this world whatever that means. So I love that story of just like, yeah, she’s just doing her thing. And I think that I could imagine, I can imagine it could be easy to maybe play small, or to try to be invisible, or to try to hide instead of just like, embracing.

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, yeah. And she, she definitely doesn’t try to be small with it and I really applaud that. Like, she’ll have vocal tics in class, she doesn’t apologize for it. She, I know, some people were, they will, like, tell a class that they have it. And I know that works for some people, and I’ve definitely been in that position. But I kind of enjoy how unapologetic she is about it. Like, hey, you know, she’s just existing. And nobody has any issues with it in class. I love that, too. We’re like, no one really acknowledges those differences in class, I think because she doesn’t. So it’s like, oh, she just does it. And that’s fine, it’s normal.

Sarah Noll Wilson
There’s something really beautiful about what you said of like, yeah, she’s just existing. And when you think about those of us who are maybe supporting people, it’s just like, how do we just support them in just existing and, you know, again, circling back to your, let them lead the way if it’s not a big deal to them? Does it need to be a big deal to you?

Olivia Reinert
And don’t be afraid to ask questions, too. I, if I tell someone I have Tourette’s, that’s me opening up the conversation. Because, personally, like I said before, if someone’s like, “Oh, can I. You have Tourette’s, can I ask you a few questions about it?” You can ask all the questions you want because I love talking about myself. (Laughter) So I guess, if you have curiosity about that, definitely don’t hide that away because, you know, people with tic disorders, it’s calming, honestly, to clear up the air about those and be like, oh, yeah, just like my side of the story, kind of. Here’s how my brain works. Nervous system.

Sarah Noll Wilson
And I would imagine and I don’t know, I mean, I remember one time. You know, we talked about this in a previous episode, when Nick and I were talking about our mental health challenges that it was a turning moment for me when he was like, I’ve never experienced a panic attack. What does it feel like? And it felt very validating that like, what I was dealing with was real and you know, and I wonder, and I imagine it’s probably similar that when someone’s like, so how does it feel? And what you know, like, what’s it like, or what’s challenging about it is that it’s validating that your experiences is real because especially when you’re looking again, like it, when younger people have it, you know, whether it’s young adults or children, I think it can be easy to pass judgment and be like, oh, they’re just making a scene. They just can’t sit still. They can’t, whatever. You just need to sit still like, and just validating, I think could be really powerful. Well, Olivia, thanks for being on the show. But before we, we, we fully officially wrap up. We always ask our guests this question. So I will ask, I’ll lob this, I’ll lob, I’ll drop it, I’m gonna toss it, you’re more descriptive, like, what’s the more descriptive way? You know, for people who are listening, we should probably post some of your stories because Olivia is an incredible writer, an incredibly descriptive writer. When she was like, 14 you had me read a story and I remember being like, bullshit. Like, did you steal this from someone? Like there’s no way? So what’s a more descriptive way to put you on the spot of like, lobbing it over?

Olivia Reinert
Throwing this question at you like a bowling ball, right at your head. You’re catching this one?

Sarah Noll Wilson
(Laughing) Are you? Are you catching a bowling ball at your head?

Olivia Reinert
I did, because while we were chatting, I actually did come up with something.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Okay, good. All right. So we’re, we call this a delay tactic, folks. We’re just, so here’s the question for real. The question that we always ask our guest is, what is a conversation you’ve had with yourself or someone else that was transformative.

Olivia Reinert
So I, in one of my classes, public speaking class. Our final project was we could give a speech on anything we wanted, it was entirely up to us. And because I was tired of the class, I chose, you know, I chose the easy route and I picked Tourette’s because I didn’t have to do any research for it. So I decided to go on with that. And I had the whole speech written, everything planned out and then it was the week of finals and I had a friend who, like, I talked to her a whole lot about my struggles with Tourette’s. And we were in a student lounge, and I was like, hey, can I read, practice my speech on you? And she was like, sure. And I start reading the speech and as I start reading it more and more people come into this lounge and start quietly sitting down and listening. And like they were, when it ends, they were all just like so intrigued and transfixed by what I had to say. And they were just also nice and welcoming. They wanted to, they went into it with a lot of curiosity that I definitely applauded one man who was like, yeah, I’ve never heard of this before, I don’t know a single thing about it. So this was really interesting to me. And I totally loved that I had that chance to open up his eyes, because I was like, ask me any question I, you know, I get that you don’t have a ton of experience, I love that you’re open to learning about it. And I probably was just staying in there chatting with these other people and answering questions about it for at least a good half hour after I’d finished.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Knowing that you’re like, I’m just gonna talk about this. I’m just gonna do this old act, to seeing the impact it had, what was that like for you? How did that change you?

Olivia Reinert
It definitely made me feel more comfortable in feeling like I can convey my story to others. Because I did not know how good of a speech it was. I’m not a big public speaker. I had picked that topic because it was what I was most familiar with and so I wasn’t — I was already creeping outside my comfort zone by presenting it in front of a, you know, university classroom. And so hearing all that affirmation from people and also hearing about how open they were to hearing about my experiences made me definitely more interested and like telling people and talking to people and also for myself being, like, more open about hearing about other people’s experiences, especially with disabilities and disorders and whatnot.

Sarah Noll Wilson
That’s beautiful. That’s really beautiful. And there’s something about like, my friend, Bonnie Williams, always says, what comes from the heart touches the heart. And there’s something about when we’re able to just be our true selves, yeah, I love that story. Because it on one hand, you’re like, I want to go easy, because this is already a stretch, like how do I not add to the stress a little? Yeah, and like, you know, but in a really beautiful way. You know, showing up authentically and honestly, opened up them and further opened up you I think is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing. So with that, Olivia Reinert. This is where we bid our farewell.

Olivia Reinert
Adieu.

Sarah Noll Wilson
If people are curious, and it would be if they wanted to reach out to you, how would you like them to do that? Would you like them to send me an email and I forwarded on to you?

Olivia Reinert
Yeah, cuz I’m not really on very many social medias.

Sarah Noll Wilson
So if you so we’ll do a couple of things. We’ll post in the show notes websites that people can go to that can help educate them more. Olivia, if you can share with us a story you might want us to like, share with the broader audience. We can also post that so people can check that out. And if you have a question or a comment or feedback you want to share with Olivia, you can share that with us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. And we’ll be sure to make sure that she gets that message. Olivia. Thanks so much for being amazing and you and someone that I get to look up to and –

Olivia Reinert
I try my best.

Sarah Noll Wilson
(Laughs) That’s the Olivia I know and love. All right with that, thank you. And I love you. And we’ll talk soon.

Olivia Reinert
I love you too.

Sarah Noll Wilson
All right, bye, Olivia. Our guest this week has been Olivia Reinert and I just have to say how I’m so proud of her and I’m so grateful that she was willing to say yes, even though I know that this maybe wasn’t how she wanted to spend her evening. (Laughs) But, you know, as somebody who is around her a lot, there was a lot that I learned. And I’m sure that each of you learned a lot too and can think differently about Tourette’s and the people in your life who may be struggling with tic disorders. You know, I mentioned this a few times in our conversation, but I really just love the language you use of let them lead the way. And I think that’s a real gift for us to think about in lots of areas in our life, right? Just how do we let people lead the way for what they need? I want to give a huge shout out to Olivia for being willing to join the show and talk about her experience. And we want to hear from you. So you can reach out to us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. Or you can find me on social media where my DMs are always open. And again, if you want to share a message of what resonated with you, what are you curious about or just some appreciation to Olivia, you can send it my way and I’ll make sure that she gets it. And if you’d like to find out more about our work and how we can better help you and your team have the conversations you might be avoiding. And to have conversations that matter. Check us out at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can also pick up a copy of my latest book, “Don’t Feed the Elephants!” wherever books are sold. And if you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a patron. You can visit patreon dot com / conversations on conversations where not only your financial support will sustain the podcast you also get access to some pretty great swag and benefits as well. And another way you can support the show is to rate, review and subscribe. You can do so on Apple Podcast or Spotify or whatever platform you’re listening to. This helps give us visibility and so we can continue to invite and have great conversations like we did tonight with Olivia. I want to give a big thanks to our incredible team who makes this podcast possible. To our producer Nick Wilson, sound editor Drew Noll, transcriptionist Becky Reinert and the rest of the SNoWco crew. And just a final big thank you to Olivia Reinert for sharing with us her journey living with Tourette’s. This has been Conversations on Conversations. Thank you for listening and remember, when we change the conversations we have with ourselves and each other, we can change the world. Be sure to rest and rehydrate and we will see you again next week. Bye everyone.

 

 

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