It was a regular Tuesday in April. I had finished all my classes for that day, and even done my laundry. I went over to my boyfriend’s apartment. We had been dating for around five months and were still in that cuddly “lovey dovey” phase but slightly more comfortable around each other and could let down our proverbial hair.
We were doing our usual afternoon unwinding routine, which consisted of cuddling on the bed while watching Arrested Development on Netflix. My stomach began to hurt a bit, nothing crazy, I was supposed to get my period in the next couple of days so I just knocked it up to cramps. But slowly I began to feel slightly…damp…in my underwear. I got up and went to the bathroom assuming I had just gotten my period early. I wish that were the case.
I remember my first reaction was shock; I murmured “shit,” not meaning to be ironic. It wasn’t a lot, it hadn’t gone through to my pants yet but the thing that freaked me out the most was that I didn’t know it had happened, think about it, you have gone probably 16 years being able to control your bowels like it was nothing and now this, wouldn’t that be a little disconcerting to you too? Talk about not taking things for granted.
I sort of inwardly panicked and tried to wipe most of it away. There was no question, I had to leave the apartment and get out of my soiled underwear of shame. I pulled up my pants, washed my hands, went back out and tried to act as calm as possible without getting anywhere near my boyfriend.
“So I…um…got my period a little early and I need to go back home and get, ya know, stuff,” I told him.
“Awh, ok hurry back babe.”
And I booked my soiled ass out of there.
As if everything weren’t as shitty (pun slightly intended) as possible already it was raining as I walked back. Now I could panic outwardly. I just kept thinking, HOW could I have not known that I just shit my pants?!?! What if it was happening right now?!?! What if my body just started vacating its bowels completely right here in the street before I could get home?!?! What the fuck was wrong with me?!?! I began to sob and decided this was an occasion where I needed to call my mom.
“Hey so I’m kind of worried, well what I mean is…I don’t know what’s wrong with me but…I kind of, well really I-“ “What’s wrong honey? What happened?”
I braced myself to say the words I never in my life dreamed I’d be saying, “I just shat my pants.”
It was quiet for a moment on the other end as she was clearly stunned into silence. Here was her nineteen-year-old, generally straight A student daughter calling from college in the middle of the afternoon saying that she just shat herself. The poor woman could not have been prepared for this. “It’s going to be ok.” At the time it really didn’t feel like it. “Hey, mom…has this ever happened to you?” “Well, no actually, but it’s ok. It’s happened to your sisters!” I was beginning to think maybe I should have called one of them instead.
I hurried up to my dorm, mercifully not running into anyone. I removed the soiled article of clothes. I ended up throwing away the underwear after tying them up in a plastic bag. I know I probably could have washed them but they would forever be the underwear I had shat in, so throwing them out was really the only option.
Now at this point in my day I had no intention of going back to see my boyfriend I mean I was disgusted with myself and certainly didn’t want to be touched by anyone let alone him. But low and behold he was calling me at this moment. “Hey what’s keeping you? Everything ok?” “Uh, yeah but hey I don’t have to come back if you don’t…” “What do you mean I wanna see you! We were having a good time.”
Remember now he thinks I only got my period, he has no idea the magnitude of the situation, I didn’t know how to get myself out of this. I couldn’t make it to big a deal and I couldn’t tell him what was up, “I’m just…really embarrassed.” “Baby, you don’t have to be embarrassed, in a way it’s a good thing. Please come back over.”
I had nothing to say to that so I was stuck walking back in the rain. I tried to compose myself as much as possible while walking up the stairs but I must have done a pretty bad job because I walked in and like a cartoon I saw the smile slide right off his face along with a concerned, “What’s wrong?!?!” I tried to explain I was just embarrassed, with out revealing the real reason for this.
“Honey you don’t have to be so embarrassed! I’d wipe your ass!”
He gave a sort of chuckle. I flinched. This was a phrase our friends and us used to express the amount of love we shared for each other meaning that we would wipe the others ass when they were to drunk to do it themselves. It was sweet, but hit a little too close to home right in that moment. I was so embarrassed I was sure this story would go with me to my grave. But I sort of put the kibosh on that real quick. You see after the actual incident was over, it didn’t seem so bad anymore. What our parents tell us is true, it really will be ok.
The next day I was in rehearsal with a scene partner for my class and I was good enough friends with her that when I told her this story. I trusted her enough to know she could possibly freak out too bad. What I didn’t expect was the actual response I got.
“Oh yeah that’s totally happened to me too!”
“Really?!?!?” I was delightfully stunned.
“Yeah, and I totally know what you mean about that whole, not knowing if you’re just pooping yourself and you have no control, it’s awful.”
I was amazed and even more so, comforted. Through the next couple of days I told a few other good friends what had happened. Not only did I get positive feedback but the more I shared the more, “Oh yeah that’s totally happened to me” responses I got. The constant question that came up though, was “Have you told your boyfriend”. The answer was a resounding “no” but now that I started to realize that my little incident wasn’t so outlandish as I had once thought, I toyed with the idea.
We were sitting on his futon weeks later: “Hey…so I’m considering writing a personal story.” “That’s great, you totally should! What on?”
I took a deep breath, “Just something…embarrassing that happened to me.”
“Baby, you can tell me what it is I promise not to judge.” He laughed.
“Well I sort of…just a little bit, shat my pants…once.”
Unfazed he said, “Happens, when?” “Oh way earlier this year.” Lie. “Really?” I’m sort of a bad liar. “Well no actually, I guess like couple weeks ago, a month at most.”
“Was it here?”
Lie. He grinned in a way that said he knew it too. “Well…ok yeah, it happened here. Remember that day when…” and I ended up totally spilling the beans. He laughed and seemed completely fine with the whole thing.
“Baby, you don’t have to be embarrassed about that, you can tell me anything. I mean I kinda had a feeling something more was up when I said that thing about wiping your ass and you looked like I had hit you or something,” he gave a devilish smirk, “shit happens.”
And with that any anxiety I had about the situation vanished. Now whenever a poop joke is made he elbows me with a smirk, I hit him, and then we both laugh.
That’s really what it comes down to, shit happens (and not just literally).
Ladies, I know you’re out there, the ones thinking that you will forever take your personal embarrassing stories to your graves, terrified of the image it would create if ever found out. Relax.
There are two things I have learned from this whole experience:
1. There really are people who will love you for all your faults
2. Once you can own up shitting your pants and laugh about it, there’s really nothing that can hold you back.
It’s my hope that my story can strike up some courage in some other girl who’s letting her embarrassing secrets eat her alive. So she can set them free giving her the strength to laugh at her self and realize they were never so bad in the first place. So, whatever it is, don’t judge yourself to harshly. It happens to the best of us.