Poop Ninja (IBS. The struggle is real.)
WARNING: If the words “anus” and “diarrhea” make you fidget uncomfortably, I HIGHLY recommend skipping this post. And maybe lots of other posts too, but definitely this one.
Like, seriously. You’re going to regret it.
I once pooped in a minivan.
In a Jamba Juice cup.
But we’ll come back to that.
When I was little, my Korean grandfather snuck me down to his extra classy garage refrigerator and gave me an ice cream sandwich. Almost every day.
And almost every day I would get a stomachache and have to sit my 4 year-old bony butt on the pot until things gracefully exited.
It only took us a mere TEN YEARS to ascertain that I was intolerant of dairy and corn syrup, and when those items were removed from my diet everything was dandy.
Except that I continuously shoved the taboo items back into my diet because milkshakes and gummy bears and alfredo have been scientifically proven to be gifts from God.
This made me experience tremendous amounts of bitter regret, and at the peaks of my physical distress I would make desperate bathroom promises to Holy Baby Jesus.
As I struggled along my illogical pattern of eating bad things followed by pain followed by more eating bad things followed by more pain, my mother looked high and low for a solution. Eventually we stumbled upon digestive enzymes that, if I took a goodly amount, would allow me to eat macaroni and cheese with no repercussions.
A lot of the time.
But not ALL of the time. There was no rhyme or reason to this— generally my bowels were amiable and cooperative, but sometimes they were virulent assholes. Inconvenient times. Times when all I truly needed was for my damned gastrointestinal tract to behave.
As I got older my intestinal issues only worsened. Severe constipation decided to join the fray, which enabled me to eat a strawberry yogurt then participate in this extra fun game:
Besides all of that jolly goodness, my list of intolerances spread into the curious zone of “I don’t know what the heck” and I wandered into the mysterious realm of IBS, which is immense intestinal distress caused by being alive.
As if only pooping once or twice a week wasn’t enough of a punishment, my bathroom visits were ORDEALS.
No in-and-out process for me, oh noooooo, it evolved into hours of excruciating cramping plus the exhilarating threat of barfing and pooping at the same time. YAY! Then eventually, after fifty-six bathroom promises followed by exactly three and a half wishes for death, a gigantic fossilized turd would muscle its way out of my significantly smaller anus—leaving delightful fissures in its wake—and then over the next hour or two (or three) everything I had eaten in the past 4-5 days would eek out into the placid waters of freedom, leaving me exhausted, dehydrated, and notably thinner.
And when I say “eek” it’s because y’all don’t need to imagine any more than you already have. You are welcome.
Incidentally, when someone pouts and says “I have a stomachache” then continues on with what they are doing, I scoff.
You cannot continue shopping if you have a stomachache. You cannot continue eating if you have a stomachache. You cannot continue doing ANYTHING if you have a stomachache because they are code red situations that involve these three things:
If you are not experiencing any of those three symptoms, you are not experiencing a stomachache. You are experiencing indigestion or just regular ol’ digestion. And you are a little bit of a pansy.
Interestingly enough, when I was pregnant with my three children (not at the same time) I could eat EVERYTHING. Oh yes. My babies wanted cream cheese and hot fudge sundaes and giant Pocky SO MUCH that my intolerances/IBS were magically overridden. However, a wonderful side effect of pregnancy is constipation. So if you’re already a constipated person then you get DOUBLE constipation! Or in my case, you GO FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH WITHOUT POOPING.
I know. It disturbs me to this day. Where did all the poo go? I don’t know. I am not sure I ever want to know. I will say that when the crap finally decided to make an appearance I nearly died.
What’s that you say? Why didn’t I seek professional help?
I also saw a few naturopaths.
I did not cure myself with butt tubes and kale.
I did, however, become an expert at administering one-handed Fleet enemas in record time until they didn’t work anymore. It turns out you’re not actually supposed to use them regularly and they likely left something irreparably damaged. Anyhow.
Fortunately I discovered an amazing product called CleanseMore, and I have been popping these capsules daily for over four years. Someday I will see a very expensive somebody and fix this thing, but for now I will cling to my bottle of poo-inducing miracles and be thankful that it even exists.
To say this all influenced my life would be a colossal understatement.
Pooping, or the lack thereof, or sudden and violent presence thereof, was a massively powerful shaping force in my life.
It spurred my development of a lovely IBS toilet neurosis:
And if I am at a place where I absolutely do NOT want to risk any sort of toileting episode, like on a trip in a strange city or at Cirque Du Soleil or at The World Domination Summit, I simply do not eat.
Because I do eventually learn.
Because I have been traumatized and scarred.
ONCE UPON A TIME The Man decided that he wanted to take the kids hiking in some high-up-in-the-mountains-where-there-are-no-bathrooms hiking spot.
I thought this was a terrible idea for obvious reasons, but he said I could wait in the car and also assured me that they would only be hiking for “forty-five minutes, tops!”, at which point we would descend the mountain back to Utah civilization where discount stores, sacred undies, and restrooms are plentiful.
Forty-five minutes is not a long time.
Unless, of course, one suddenly needs to evacuate one’s bowels fifteen minutes into those forty-five minutes.
Then it is a painfully, torturously, HORRIBLY long time.
I was also trapped in a minivan in what was apparently the most beloved mountain in all of Utah because the entire population of Salt Lake City was there. People milled about the parking lot, wandered through the bushes, smelled flowers and photographed rodents and made it utterly impossible to stealthily hunker in the foliage and diarrhea on the leaves.
I tried to hold it in.
I tried to ignore it.
I even tried bartering my soul with the devil, but he would have none of it, and it became all too clear that my intestines were going to empty themselves in a fantastic fashion with or without my permission.
And that is when sheer desperation delivered unto mine eyes this blessed vision:
I took that Jamba Juice savior, scrambled into the back of the van, and in broad daylight I pooped into that cup.
Or rather, I started to poop and—to my horror—realized that pee would be joining the party.
If I was a man I could have simply pointed my weenie down into the cup, but being that I only possess non-aim-able labia I was met with a thrilling new predicament.
Thank God for plastic grocery bags.
Thank God for triple layered plastic grocery bags
Thank God for triple layered plastic grocery bags around a Jamba juice cup in the back of a minivan, and for my well-formed quadriceps.
And thank God I had purchased the 30 oz Strawberries Wild and not the smaller sizes normal, non-gluttonous people order.
By the time my husband and children returned I had furtively discarded the bag of urine and cup of fecal matter in a distant trash receptacle, and aired out the van. When they opened the doors I was sitting quietly in the front seat as though I was an ordinary human being and nothing had happened.
But I knew what I had survived.
I knew the terrible actions I had been forced to take.
I knew that I was a ninja. A mother-effing POOP NINJA and that I deserved a trophy.
A trophy to commemorate the trauma and humiliation.
The moral of the story is:
“Always order the largest smoothie available because you might need to crap in the cup when you’re done.”
The second moral is:
“Always keep plastic bags in your vehicle. The thicker, the better.”
The third moral is:
“Never, ever go hiking. Ever.”
So, dear readers, that is the deal with me and poop.
Also, know that pooping regularly with ease and grace means God and the Universe loves you extra.