Let's Share our Mess

Let me take you back to my college days . . . My first year in the dorms as a freshman at NAU was full of fun, crazy and disgusting memories.  I will always be grateful that my parents wanted me to experience the dorms but also relieved that it was only for two years and then never again!  (The next two years of college were spent in a mobile home, not much of a step up but definitely better, ha!)

We all know the beauty of public bathrooms.  They were my life for a while, and took some getting used to.  I was always prepared with my shower bucket, flip flops and a large wrap-around towel.  Then depending on how late at night it was, I was ready to see anything from couples coming out of the showers to girls puking in the toilets.  I mean lets be real, these were freshman in college.  But there was one thing that I never felt comfortable with and I’m just going to skip trying to sound appropriate.  Going poop.  I never was able to get used to going poop in the public dorm bathroom. 

Call it what you want, #2, taking a dump, dropping a deuce, etc.  Girls don’t really talk about it, let alone brag about the size or amount like various men do. Gross.  But we do have to go, and here’s how I worked out a system for the dorms . . . Luckily when I do go its quite fast, I do my business and I’m washing my hands. (Later I would find that husbands somehow always take about 20-30 minutes, possibly multiple times a day, blows my mind.)  Either way, every time I had to go I would make sure the bathroom was quiet.  Then I would walk into the end stall on the far left, my favorite, and sit down quietly.  Finally, before attempting anything, I would take one last look underneath the stalls to check that there were no legs from other girls in there.  If the coast was clear I would do my business and be out as fast as possible.  (Because you don’t want people to know the smell was from you either, why is going poop so complicated?)

The system worked and I was always pleased that I could poop in private, just like at home.  But then one day, something happened that would change my poop routine forever.  It started out normal, a quiet bathroom, nothing out of the ordinary.  I entered the stall and sat down on the toilet but before I did my business I took my last step of the routine.  I still remember it so vividly in my head.  I put my head between my legs and turned to look to the right.  There she was, a girl on the total opposite end of the stalls, but unfortunately I wasn’t looking at her legs.  Apparently she had the exact same pooping routine because not only was she absolutely quiet, she was checking underneath the stalls too and we were staring right into each other’s eyes!!!!!! Like a deer-to-the-headlights stare except that we were both pooping. So embarrassing.

Immediately after we briefly stared at each other we both popped our heads up quickly.  My heart was racing and sweat started going down my back.  Then I heard her laugh a little, should I laugh too?  What’s a girl to do in this awkward moment?????  Thankfully I hadn’t pooped yet so I did a pretend flush and ran out of the bathroom as fast as I could.

Oh.Em.Gee.  This incident changed my life.  I have never once looked underneath stalls again.  I wish I could explain the feeling, but I would much rather poop with other people around than lock eyes with someone while we’re both going. 

I feel like pooping in public can describe the way we try to hide the mess and imperfections in our lives.  You know what’s happening, but you want to double check and make sure that no one else is looking.  Why would you want someone to be aware that crap is happening?  Why would you want someone to know about the family mess you’re currently trying to pick up after?  Let me tell you why!  Because everybody poops.  We all have a little (or a lot) of mess in our lives, we all have crap going on at some time or another and we all are by nature sinners. 

Not everyone’s mess looks the same.  My husband always says for us suburban folk- our mess is easy to hide, we just close our garage doors at home and no one needs to see in.  But for people who live on the streets or live in poverty, their mess isn’t as easy to hide, it’s very much out in the open.

I guess I would rather be open and honest then let people think that I NEVER raise my voice to my kids.  Have you heard my story about the time where one of my kids slapped me because of a chain reaction of slapping that I started?  That was fun.  I share my stories because I am moved when I personally read blog posts from women that are really honest and talk about an issue that other women can relate to, and yet we don’t talk much about it in person.  We’re quick to share the articles on Facebook because we can relate to them, but how often do these topics easily come up in a conversation?  Not often.  I know when people see me with my four children under three they ask, “how are you?” and I of course respond with “we’re fine” or “we’re hanging in there”.  Both replies are not totally true, but easier to say. 

I think we should quit looking underneath the stalls to make sure no one is close enough to see our mess, and we should purposely place people around us.  I want to poop next to someone.   I need to have women that I can be transparent with, women who will encourage me and support me through some messy times.  The other day I unloaded some stories onto a friend, after reflecting in my mind that I had just shared some major word vomit, I told her I was sorry if my stories scared her a little. I didn’t want her to think badly about me.  She responded so lovingly and said that I didn’t scare her, and that we all have some mess in our lives.  So true.  Can I tell you how freeing it feels to share some of my imperfections and insecurities and not be judged?  Ladies, we need each other.  Find someone you can share your crap with, you might find that they have some crap to share too. 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:10-12

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