An Open Letter To The Person Pooping Quietly In The Public Bathroom Stall Next To Me

Dear person pooping quietly in the public bathroom stall next to me,

Please don’t feel ashamed. I know. I get it. You’re a person and I’m a person, and as fellow people you and I are both aware that taking a poop in a public bathroom is mildly traumatizing. The ever-present threat of somebody hearing the poop. The constant paranoia of facing the other person in the bathroom when you leave the stall.

But really, I just want to say, go for it. Poop your heart out. Poop like there’s no tomorrow. Poop like nobody’s watching. I mean that. I don’t care if it’s the biggest poop in the history of poops, I promise I won’t think badly of you.

When I was being potty-trained, my mom borrowed a book from the library called “Everybody Poops.” The premise was just that: everybody, everybody poops. Though 75% of me knew that already, the remaining 25% was inexplicably awed that pooping is something that every single person and animal to ever exist does everyday (or multiple times a day, for the overachievers among us) and yet people are still embarrassed to poop in the vicinity of others.

And alas, despite my sympathy with a pooping stranger, I must admit similar shame in a public restroom poop. This is an obstacle I and many others battle every day.

There are a few solutions to this issue. First, and perhaps most obviously, is to hold it. Though not always feasible considering the length of time one will be out of the house, this tends to be the most common route taken.

Second is to take the leap and take a poop. In high school, I learned of a group of people (who I can only hope operated as a secret adventurous poopers society, though I will never truly know) who would poop in school, solely for the thrill of it. The apprehension about a classmate walking into the bathroom at any given moment was their equivalent to cliff diving or street luge. A sort of extreme sport of the bowels.

The third option is one that I’ve only ever witnessed by very small children and old people: shameless pooping. In this form, the person poops in the public restroom regardless of how many people are present, fearlessly. This is the pooping method we should strive for. It truly shows self-actualization and confidence, which perhaps is why it is generally only achieved by the supremely innocent and the old and wise.

Poop is weird. We all do it, and we all know we do it. We are all united in this bodily function, and yet we allow it to isolate us. As a human race, we must come together and banish our shame. One for all. All for poop.

The girl in the public bathroom stall next to you while you were pooping

P.S. I hope you had a nice poop. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Terry Johnston

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Julia Reinstein

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