Bathrooms. Restrooms. Toilets. We really don’t have a proper, adequate, or appropriate name for the innermost sanctum of our home. Why is that? Why does language fail us when we talk about intimate things?
At least half of the bathrooms in our country, heck, probably more than that, do not actually have baths in them. And unless you’re in a bath, we certainly don’t rest in these rooms. Toilets are only one of the furnishings and it addresses only one function. So these names that we use are odd, don’t you think?
This room is probably the most intimate of all rooms. The one place where we are always, undeniably, our most authentically human selves. Our most vulnerable selves. The place where we drop our pants, lift our skirts, and shed our clothes. Where we are exposed. Where we are naked. Where we purge ourselves of what we no longer need, expelling from us the very things that will make us sick if we don’t: dirt, grime, toxins, poop.
Home is where we poop. Everyone poops. (which is a great book, by the way.)
This room is where we enter dirty and emerge clean and hopefully, ideally, refreshed. Whether at the sink, on the toilet, or in the shower, we wash away the stuff that attaches to us, the stuff in our pores, on our skin, in our bladder, and colon. That’s the intimate stuff. The stuff we don’t really talk about. But it’s the same stuff we all share.
The truth is, I don’t have a well-polished post for you today. I’m wrestling with my insecurities and fears about writing, about making a living, about paying my bills, about others’ expectations of me. This tussle seems to be an endless activity, occupying a lot of my time. Which seems crazy. Like I should have this licked by now. But I haven’t. I only mostly keep it at bay. Insecurities and fears are formidable foes.
A good friend told me that the struggle is something I should share with you. But it has nothing to do with home, I said. And she replied, it has everything to do with home. It’s about everyone’s struggle to be at home with themselves.
She’s right. And this, like bathrooms and toilets and poop, is something we don’t talk about. We all go through it. We all wrestle with our anxieties, fears, and insecurities but we don’t share those things. Not really. Only casually, hidden behind cartoons, jokes, and an occasional Facebook post. These things are too personal, too intimate, too revealing. And are about as appealing as poop.
So, I am going to talk about it. I am going to share. Just as soon as I can find the language. And as soon as I can work up the courage.
Meanwhile, today, I’m talking about bathrooms and I hope you will consider the similarities without me being too direct or too obtuse.
Our bathrooms are probably the most important rooms of our homes. I wish that wasn’t true. I’m partial to bedrooms, but the truth is we can sleep anywhere if we needed to. And kitchens? I love kitchens, I love to cook, I love the idea of the kitchen as the hearth of the home. But again, not all of us use our kitchens as they are intended. These days, there is a lot of eating take-out in our living rooms and living on our couches.
But everyone needs a bathroom. Everyone needs a private place to poop. To wash your face, to shower or bathe.
The only time we talk about bathrooms is when they are beautiful and clean. Remodels or new. Sparkling. Elegant showers and luxurious tubs. Windows with a view.
But the reality is that our bathrooms are most often dirty, cluttered, and a mess. They require constant maintenance. Maintenance that most of us fall short of. Admit it. Maybe you scrub your toilet weekly with a cleaner rinse and the swish of a brush. Maybe you wipe down your sink. But when is the last time you scrubbed the tub and the tiles? The last time you mopped the floor? The last time you replaced the shower curtain or washed it in a machine? The last time you polished the fixtures or snaked out the drains? We buy antibacterial soap and now, thanks to Covid, wash our hands constantly, but are our bathrooms really clean? Is there old toothpaste in your sink? Or mold on your ceilings? Is there dust on top of your shelves? Dirt in the drawers of your vanity? Random hairs behind the toilet seat?
Yeah, it can be gross. Bodily functions, just like our fears of inadequacy, can be disgusting. These are things we don’t want to talk about. We spritz with some fragrance and walk away.
But everybody poops. And when we’re home – or we feel at home – we poop more easily. Same goes for the emotions that plague us. They pass through us quickly and don’t torture us when we are at home with ourselves. Our authentic selves. But even the most confident can struggle. If we’re prone to thinking, we’re bound to wrestle with some bloating and indigestion at times.
Constipation doesn’t just occur in the colon.
Irritable bowel syndrome is an energetic phenomenon as well as physical.
Digest, accept, let go.
I’m still working on this. But I’ll get back to you. Cuz this thing that no one talks about, I think we need to talk about.