I have a vocal tic that sounds like a baby panda hiccuping (or sneezing as this copy of the vid described it)
There are certain common responses to it.
1. Subtle rudeness: the well-coiffed girl giving me a dirty look
2. Unintentional awkwardness: “Ma’am, do you have any ferrets in your suitcase?”
3. Intentional kind humor: my brother-in-law joking that, because I eep during both Christian and Jewish services, it shows I find the divine equally in both
4. Intentional rudeness: “How long have you been at Adoration? You should have left early on.”
5. Concern: “Are you okay? Those sound painful”
I have great responses for all of those reactions and genuinely appreciate #3 and, in moderation, #5. However, the reactions I love the most come from animals. Those vary greatly. Here are examples of the ones I remind myself of when dealing with 1, 2, and 4 from the people categories:
1. Toby’s occasional concerned headbutts to make sure I”m okay if I have a particularly violent tic.
2. Nik’s original fright (he was a very easily startled kitty), now replaced by not even noticing it.
3. The mouthy teething puppy who happened to have her mouth (gently) on my arm just as I eeped. She looked at my arm quizzically and then gently gave it a test squeeze. I am convinced she thought I was a squeak toy. She tried this again a few times that day whenever I would eep when her mouth was near me.
4. The horse who makes a similar noise when he’s about to buck just flicks his ears back and suddenly pays closer attention to my signals.
5. The dogs who look up at me and give me another sniff investigation. (many dogs do this and it always makes me laugh. One friend at the shelter thinks they aren’t sure if the noise means I’m a dog).
6. The guinea pig who squeaked back.
We all have traits that make us stand out for reasons we wouldn’t choose. The animals I encounter help me laugh at my own obviously odd trait. When I get tired of laughing and saying “oh, it’s fine, everyone asks me if I have a dog or ferrets, but it’s just me!” -well, thinking of those animals makes the fake smile real. So if you have a squeaky voice or something else odd, think of how an animal reacts to it and how they’re confused. It makes it easier to forgive people reactions we don’t like.
Also, I try to remind myself that everyone wishes they were as darn cute as a baby panda while also sounding like puppies, ferrets, and bucking horses–it’s like a completely useless superpower!