Blog #2, and that is exactly what I would like to talk about today. You may roll your eyes but cut me some slack, I just spent my entire day in session with kids. You may also be thinking to yourself: Whoa whoa whoa, we barely know each other, and you are going to talk about poop? This sentiment is exactly why this conversation has to happen. Why are we so afraid to talk about it and how has it become such a big deal that despite our bodies begging to use the bathroom, our minds convince us that “it’s not a good time.”
We get the message from very early on that pooping and other associated experiences (i.e., farting) are inappropriate and often tied to embarrassment and guilt. My childhood is filled with memories of kids exclaiming: “Whoever smelt it dealt it, whoever said the rhyme did the crime!” This happened with family, at school, sleepovers, camp, anywhere. Now apparently “flatulence humor” is a real thing (it has its own Wikipedia page!), but in all seriousness, these statements convey that farting, often a precursor to needing to use the restroom is shameful. As I am writing this, my internal editor’s voice is wondering if “poop” and “pooping” are okay to use here while urging me to more formally say, “defecation,” “elimination,” or “bowel movement” in my discussion.
Like with farting, people will try to prevent themselves from going to the bathroom to minimize the potential stress of doing so in a manner where “someone might notice.” The problem is that not going to the bathroom can also causes stomach distress, which may make a person even more anxious, especially if their anxiety manifests with stomach-aches as a primary symptom. It becomes this awful cycle of stomach issues and you cannot always be sure what is now causing the ache (is it the anxiety of potentially having to use the bathroom at some point or the stress of not going to the bathroom when your body is ready?).
Totally not an original idea, but everybody poops! Like with most distressing thoughts, feelings, and experiences, it is important to normalize. This experience is not singular to you, this is a biological process that is required to maintain overall health.
You are not an embarrassment because you have to poop.
If the worry is that you may have to use the bathroom while you are engaged in some kind of activity, that makes sense, it is a realistic possibility. When travelling, there will likely be options to stop off and use a bathroom. Chances are that once you arrive somewhere, they have at least one accessible bathroom available for use.
If the worry is that people will notice you are gone and might make a joke at your expense: A) Who cares! That person sounds like a ding-dong anyway because they definitely poop too. B) Honestly, your every move is not typically being monitored by those around you, so they probably will not realize you are even gone.
I know in my Introduction blog I mentioned movies and my love for their metaphors, but when I thought about the media references that tied to this topic, it was often someone in a stall uncomfortably trying not to go to the bathroom or it being the joke of the scene and that is not the point I was hoping to drive home.
Last week was the series finale of Game of Thrones and we finally learned the outcome of the longstanding question, “Who will sit on the Iron Throne?” Now that we have the answer, I say we proudly stand-up (really sit-down) and claim the Porcelain Throne for ourselves!
As the deeply wise, fart-guru, Shrek always says: Better out than in!