In the sixth grade, I forgot to get a permission slip signed and wasn’t allowed on a fieldtrip. I ran into the bathroom and cried – that was the first time I cried at that school. In the eighth grade, I found out some troubling news about a friend and went into the bathroom to process; later, a couple of my friends came to comfort me there. In the tenth grade, one of my best friends accidentally unsnapped her own snap pants during a track practice. Another friend and myself stood in front of her as she slid – pantless, butt first – across the gym floor into the girls bathroom. The three of us stayed in there for about two hours talking about our most embarrassing moments. That bathroom was a judgement free zone that day. I once heard some girls talk about how unattractive I was in a bathroom stall. I judged my physical appearance for the first time in a bathroom. Sang the way I’ve always wanted to in a bathroom (spoiler: I was fantastic…!). My friends call/text me from bathrooms during boring parties or outrageous dates when they need a break. I “go to the bathroom” during class when I can’t sit still and just need a change. I’ve prayed in bathrooms. Some of my friendships have been built in bathrooms. I’ve comforted myself and others in bathrooms. Been most angry in bathrooms. Although, I learned young that it’s more polite to call them “restrooms”. I like that – “restroom”. A room for rest. Rest; “to cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep or recover strength”, according to Oxford.
Recently, I’ve found myself going through several life changes. They all seem to happen rapidly, one after the other, and each more unexpected than the last. Since they happen so fast, I don’t really have time to process them. They just happen. In the blink of an eye. Then the dust settles and I find myself actually understanding what has transpired and what that means for my life. When these brief but intense moments come about, they do so at the most inopportune times. While I’m at lunch with a friend. Watching a movie at someone’s house. In class. At work. Or just walking from point A to point B until something triggers me. However – every time these moments occur, I find a restroom nearby. No matter where I am, I can always find a restroom. I find my way into a stall and temporarily recover strength. Any place, anytime. Restrooms have never failed me. Never let me down. Are always available and never hard to find. They’re right there just waiting to be called upon. They adapt to whatever I need. If I mess up and need to check myself before I wreck myself, the restroom serves as place of self-evaluation and judgement so I can re-align. If I’m going through a rough time and need a place to be sad or angry or upset, the restroom is a silent place of solitude. If I’m too excited and need to calm down, the restroom is a place to relax and collect myself. Restrooms are ever present in times of need. I don’t always remember that they’re around, but they are and always have been.
I don’t know why I wrote this or why I’ve been thinking about restrooms so much lately. It might have to do with how much time I’ve been finding myself hiding in them recently. Or maybe it has to do with how simple things can really be. If I only ever used one restroom au parcours de ma vie, those four walls would basically hold my life. There is nothing particularly special about restrooms; they really only have one purpose and happen to function as something far, far greater. Sometimes I look for a bigger picture or some huge story arc – some kind of meaning where there is none. Maybe life is more simple. Anyway, if you’re reading this, whatever you’re going through or looking for… good luck, seriously. I hope you can cease to work or move in order to relax, sleep or recover strength and that you find a room for rest nearby.
P.S. Restrooms are great for poop. 10/10 would recommend.