How courage and confidence have become my priority for putting myself first.
The university I attended had a lot of inaccessibility. So much so that there was a group that started just to address it, I’m talking about basic ADA compliance. There’s a bathroom with only a single stall that when I go in, the wheelchair doesn’t even get all the way in and so the stall door won’t shut.
Once I had to go to the bathroom (a different one than mentioned above), and the larger stall was occupied. As an aside, I try not to get upset at people who use these stalls and don’t need to, because honestly, who would want to do business in the small tight stalls? Anyway, I really had to pee and ended up peeing my pants because of the stall being occupied. I even took the elevator to another floor and found the larger stall in use there as well. I took the next week to do my schooling from home to avoid this happening again.
When I came back to the university campus, my friend introduced me to a new way of thinking. It’s called “dude, who cares, do what you need to do.” In action, this translates to: when I have to pee, as long as I’m in the bathroom, I’m going to pee. I don’t need to go into a stall, I can just go next to a urinal, and if not that, then just face a wall or a corner. If I need to poop, I don’t need a big stall, I just need to get close enough to a toilet so I can transfer onto it.
Here’s the story, and not the only instance of this. I was at whole foods eating some food and waiting for a tow truck to pick up my brother’s car and we got hungry. As a human wont, I had to pee. On my way to the bathroom, the very kind security guard came running down the hall after me to give me a lot of help (more than I need, but I truly love people of this kind heart). He held open the door and was seemingly ready to do anything. He actually waited for me to finish so he could open the door for me on my way out and asked many times if I needed help with anything.
Here’s the thing, there were two stalls, one larger and one smaller, both occupied. Without hesitation, I go to the urinals to pee, wash my hands, and go back to finish eating. As soon as I get back to the table, I realize I need to poop. I usually can tell just like anyone else, but it’s hard to predict when I’ll have waited too long, and then I’ve reached the point of no return. This was a moment of no return, I had waited too long. I bolt back to the bathroom, hoping to avoid the security guard’s notice, and knowing that at this point, the best I can do is minimize the trouser attrition.
Naturally, the larger stall is taken, but I entirely do not care. I go into the smaller stall, the door doesn’t shut but I can get in. Facing the toilet, I 180 transferred while taking off my pants and released the Kraken. All the ruckus doubtless grabs the attention of the guy in the larger stall, who certainly feels poorly about himself (and I’m not without a shit tonne of resentment). I’m still on the toilet, (with my pants up at this point) when the guy gets out to wash his hands and I stare deep into his soul when he catches my glance in the mirror.
I finished up, washed my hands, went back to our table, finished my food, the tow truck came, we left to go to the broken down car, and I went home to shower.
The point is, I’m absolutely done letting anything get in my way when I need to do something, especially when the implications are trouser attrition. This requires a lot of confidence and courage, it’s harder to do at work where I’ll see these people day in and day out, but they won’t want to admit it happened any more than I’ll want it to happen. Ultimately, it’s a mindset and value change, it’s not easy to do, but necessary if you respect yourself.