Everyone who knows me knows I twitch. Not in the same way someone with Turrets Syndrome twitches. In my case, it’s a constant rearranging of my shirt. I may roll my shoulder, pull on the shirt collar, move my neck around, or anyone of another half dozen or so ticks.
Someone mentioned it to my mother once a few years ago and she said I’d done it since I was little, but I never knew why. Until one day I was working for a friend of mine, a therapist, and I kept tugging at my shirt and rolling my shoulder. She said, “That thing you keep doing with your shirt, did someone ever grab you by the front of your shirt and pull it tight?”
I stared at her for a moment then said, “Yes. When I was a kid a dentist was pulling a tooth and broke it off. When I started crying, he grabbed me by the front of my shirt, lifted me out of the chair and told me if I didn’t stop crying I was going to get it. My mom was outside in the waiting room and I guess he didn’t want her to hear me crying. He had to pull out four different roots of that particular tooth. It took me years before I would ever see another dentist.”
She nodded. “That’s likely why you do it.”
I found out later many other kids suffered a similar fate with this particular dentist. I will not call him out by name as he is retired, if not dead, by now. Knowing the cause of my twitch has not made me do it any less. In fact, I think I’m doing it more. The other day I was interviewed for KentuckianaTV.com about the authors fair coming to La Grange. When the reporter played back the interview, I was shocked. It looked like someone had dropped fire ants down my shirt. I requested to do the interview over and she agreed. This time I kept my shoulders still but it was a fight.
I’ve now decided to try and end this tick. I am consciously making myself sit still and not readjust my shirt. Want to know how hard this is? Next time you have an itch, don’t let yourself scratch it and see how long you last. I can tell you it is requiring a huge amount of energy to do nothing. The mental strain is making this one of the toughest things I’ve ever done.
Yet this will end. If you see me and I’m twitching etc, point it out. It is time to end the twitch.