SHIT HAPPENS (A Story of Gratitude)

by P. Braithwaite

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This a happy little story about gratitude. And poop. But mostly gratitude.

I woke up the other day in wonderful spirits. Realizing my life resembles a Taylor Swift song, I played some of her greatest hits while singing (loudly) in the shower. I am grateful for Taylor Swift’s train-wreck of a love life. I had a meeting in the West Village, a fresh tan from Puerto Rico, and brand new twists in my hair.

I felt good.

I got dressed, cooed at myself in the mirror, and walked toward the subway. Before heading underground, I procured a croissant and a large iced tea (with sugar and lemon). I, like many other Americans, run on Dunkin. I’m grateful for cheap cancer-causing breakfast delights.

With my sunglasses, iced tea and summer dress, I felt a bit unstoppable. I was ready for my meeting and feeling great.

Halfway to Manhattan, however, I felt a rumbling in my stomach.

Is tea a diarrhetic, I wondered as the urge to move bowels overtook me. I couldn’t Google the question because I was underground, but I figured that was for the best.

What you focus on magnifies, I mumbled to myself and I figured (if I focused on something else) I’d be able to hold it until after my meeting.

And with that resolution, I made the walk across town to my destination. I admired the day, Instagrammed a few pictures but when I arrived at my destination, the poop descended and stopped me in my tracks. It was almost hard to walk, and the pressure was creeping into my stomach.

I texted my friend “I’m going into a meeting and I have to poop.”

“Don’t poop on the chick you’re meeting with.”

I said a silent prayer and went in.

An hour later and I was on cloud nine. The people I met were really nice and the West Village on a sunny day is an awesome place to be. I made a few phone calls as I walked back to the subway and almost forgot about my tummy.

“I can make it back home,” I said as I hopped on the D train.

But I couldn’t.

Two stops into my trip, and the discomfort was jarring. I sat down and every bump felt like the straw that would break the camels back. I stood up and gravity made a fool of me. My brow furrowed, sweat dripped down my face.

“I’m not gonna make it,” I mouthed to the Asian woman who was studying me curiously.

I got off the train, and booked it up the stairs.

I’m gonna poop on myself. I cried silently, resisting the urge to push tourists and old people out of my way.

I kept praying. Please don’t let me poop; please don’t let me poop.

I scanned the block for a nice looking restruaunt and eventually happened upon the ugliest grossest looking bodega luncheonette thing I’ve ever seen. I said a silent prayer and rushed to the back to the bodega. I was too grossed out to be deterred by the dingy floors and walls.

I should preface this next part by saying I have a legitimate fear of using bathrooms in public places. I take every precaution to make sure my skin doesn’t touch the seat. In my freshmen year of college, I made myself sick because I couldn’t “go” in the dormitory bathroom on my floor. Finally, once I realized I was gonna die if I didn’t ‘do the do,’ I developed a strange ritual involving toilet seat covers, Lysol and using the same bathroom stall every single time (this, somehow, made me feel like it was mine and mine alone).

Anyway…I digress.

I walked into the bathroom cringing. I braced myself crack viles, a rabid puppy, feces dripping from the wall, gum on the seat, or a stench that could kill me.

What did I find?

A pristine and freshly disinfected bathroom in the dirtiest bodega ever. The toilet was sparkling white, the whole room smelled like ammonia. It was the most delightful moment of my life.

Please note: I still took measures to keep my bare ass off the seat, but I guess thats beside the point.

My point is…shit happens. Sometimes shit happens so uncomfortably and aggressively that you can’t contain yourself. Sometimes shit happens and you’ve gotta take care if it…quickly.

But…even when shit goes down, the universe always provides.

What are the odds of a clean bathroom in a dirty bodega? What are the odds of the owners letting me use it without buying anything?

Look for peace…and the universe will provide it. When we cry out in desperation asking for solace, the universe will meet us in the crawl space of our despair.

Sometimes we think God’s grace involves not experiencing discomfort or pain…but, that’s not true. Grace is a clean bathroom JUST when you need it. It’s the small opportunities that arise so we can find peace within the shit storm, and sometimes we’re so caught up we don’t identify our blessings. But the universe is always providing.

I’m glad I didn’t burn my gratitude journal because I can write the following:

Today I’m grateful for:

• a clean public bodega
• ample toilet paper
• finding a bathroom in the nick of time

I’ve grossed you out enough. May you be grateful this post is over…go in peace!

What are you grateful for today?

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