Grammy-nominated singer Jamie Grace recently opened up about her struggle with Tourette Syndrome and how it impacted her dating life.
Grace was just nine-years-old when she was diagnosed with the nervous system disorder that causes uncontrollable repetitive movements or unwanted sounds called tics.
While the 26-year-old bright and bubbly singer is open about her struggle with her online fans, it wasn't so easy in her romantic relationships.
"I always felt like I was kind of in a limbo when it came to dating and telling guys that I had Tourettes because it wasn't something life-threatening, and it wasn't something that I, in a dating relationship, really needed them to do anything," Jamie told ESSENCE in an interview. "But I did need understanding, and I did need the freedom to be able to twitch so that I'm not sitting at dinner for two or three hours, and holding in a huge part of who I am and then getting sick later because I was trying to suppress everything."
However, she didn't always find the compassion and understanding she was looking for. In fact, sometimes it felt like the opposite.
"The frustrating thing was guys saying 'you don't really have any ticks' because it wasn't as severe, or maybe I was having a good day, or maybe I was just insecure about it that day, and so I was hiding it," Grace explained. "And, so that was really difficult, and I dealt with that, a lot of guys just being like they wanted me to prove it to them almost, or they thought it was funny and they thought I was just gonna cuss and suddenly it would turn into a joke."
That all changed when she began courting her now fiancé, Aaron Collins, who she will wed in April.
"We have been able to share a lot of things early on," Grace noted. "He already knew that I had Tourette Syndrome and there was one conversation in the first few weeks when we were just on the phone because we were long-distance, and he asked me, 'Is there anything else you want to tell me about yourself?' And I kind of mentioned the Tourette Syndrome thing and I mentioned it out of the fear of him getting uncomfortable or him being like, 'I can't deal with that' or something."
"He was so nonchalant about it, it made me even more nervous," she recalled. "I was like, 'Wait, he didn't ask me a bunch of questions, he wasn't invasive, he didn't...why is he so comfortable? Why is he so relaxed right now?'"
Now, Grace is bringing that same openness with her fiancé to her fans by making their wedding open to the public.
"I want to have a public wedding, because whenever this guy shows up, I want him to know that he is so prayed for, and so appreciated, and not just by me but by all my fans and all my family and my whole community," she said.
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