Once upon a time, I was a gal with an unnatural, albeit common, fear. I could not, um… well … pooh without complete privacy and anonymity. The situation had to be dire to even entertain the thought. As for work, I had a militant no-doing-that-business-in-my-place-of-business policy. I would actually race home like a maniac if said “business” arose.
I would fly through red lights with no intention of stopping for anyone or anything. I very clearly visualized a front page article “Local woman shot in back trying to get to her bathroom after high speed police chase…” I could see the scene. Me lying half inside my house, keys dangling from the door knob, pants around my knees, apparently messing myself after the gun shot. Somehow this scenario was actually preferable to using a public bathroom as intended. God forbid, people might figure out that I, like every- cussin’- body else, poop.
Now granted, I have had jobs and situations where this car race just was not feasible. In these situations, I was forced to find the little seedy, dingy bathroom in the building’s basement that only those going to do their business used. Everyone knew I’m sure. But I held firmly to the belief that I actually was the only person in the whole high rise that knew of this little foul, but private, crapper’s oasis.
I’ve also been in the small office environment having only one bathroom option. I was forced to scope out places nearby where the restrooms are rarely used, like grocery stores. Most people don’t use the restroom while food shopping; the odds were good that I would be alone. This scenario had me swearing that I was on a list in some surveillance room where they’d be on to me after reviewing the tapes. I had to change it up to keep ‘em guessing.
This fear of mine was so deep I would dread having to take my truck in for an oil change. And car-pooling? No way! I mean, what if last night’s hot-sauce laden chili decides to hit home? The very thought of being carless made my goots rumble and the back of my neck break out in a cold sweat. I should mention, I don’t have some serious bowel issue. I’m probably pretty average, maybe even low, as numbers go. This was completely in my mind. The mere possibility was enough to set me off on my crazy imaginings. Oh the possibility, it’s always there!
But then one blessed day, something shifted. I’m not sure what got me to the point. Maybe it was the rising gas costs making it uneconomical. Or maybe it was years of watching men carry their newspapers proudly into their office bathroom and congratulating each other over the stink they made. But the day I took back my bathroom freedom had arrived. I was in my (very closed) bathroom after flying from work one day, having stifled my stomach’s rebellion just until quitting time. My husband busted in just as I was unleashing hell on the toilet and said, “Damn! Are you serious?!?” Pre-shift I would have apologized. Probably with eyes down, blushing profusely, I would have mentally reprimanded myself for not thinking to use the downstairs bathroom. Despite the fact, mind you, that the door was shut which, to me anyway, means enter at your own risk. But the mental shift was on! Instead I held my head high and said, “Oh no baby. I was just kidding. But see now I’m serious,” and let one rip. To be honest, I was nervous for a second. Had I broken some female code of honor? Thankfully he just laughed, mumbled something about “little nasty” and gave me my privacy. It wasn’t my sexiest moment but, man, was it liberating! I sat gloating in my stench. It was okay for me to poop too!
That was all it took. Bam! My restroom visions had changed. No longer was that scenario of me camo-coughing, excessively flushing and running water with soap in the sink followed by my mousy walk of shame hoping to God no one noticed me. Uh-uh! I envisioned myself walking out and high-fiving my sisters, loudly telling them, “Be careful in there, if ya know what I’m sayin’!” No more car chases for me my friends. I now saw a world where I could proudly swing the door open and shut like a fan, wafting my funk for all noses while saying, “Oh yeah, you smell what the Rock is cooking!”
My tiny act of bathroom valor was a huge turning point. I got over myself! These days if I gotta go, I go! No shame in it! I mean I do still feel a brief panic and I, by no means, will be doing my patented door-fan wafting move any time soon. But I reclaimed more than the throne that day. That one small step to the office bathroom was one giant mental leap in banishing a chunk of my oppressive self-consciousness. All those years of self-recrimination, for what? I mean really, who gives a shit?