I started pooping socially when I was young. My parents pooped, albeit behind closed doors, but the smell was unmistakable and intoxicating. Being around it so much made me feel like it was just something you did. And soon, I was hooked: I was pooping in my high school bathroom three times a day. I was taking poop breaks every hour at work. I even got caught doing it in the back alley at my aunt’s funeral. But it didn’t matter if I got in trouble. I’d do anything to get my fix.
Pooping took over my adult life. I can’t tell you how many parties I was at where I had to excuse myself – I never said what for, but people knew. I’d tried to quit for my grandmother’s sake, but we went to my brother’s outdoor wedding, and one whiff of the Port-O-Potty had me back at it again. By this point, I was a thirty-year-old mother of one, and had tarnished far too many relationships for the sweet waft of tobacco (what I call “poop”).
Then came the day I saw my own daughter start to poop. She didn’t know that I knew, but a pooper always knows the signs. The excuses from the dinner table, the perfume use, the constant toilet-flushing. She was into the fancy stuff I had never gone for, too, like streaks and mega-dumps. To know I had done this to my daughter killed me more than pooping ever could, and that’s when I knew I had to stop. So I started attending self-help meetings and making my rounds of apologies (mostly to plumbers and loved ones). My body ached from withdrawal (and from not pooping) to the point where I almost relapsed. But I had to do it for my daughter.
And now, I feel whole. I feel fulfilled. And, best of all, my daughter stopped, too. She can look me in the eye again. She even attends my meetings with me. We take walks together. We laugh. Maybe we’re not the same as every other mother and daughter, but we’re healing and not pooping, which in itself is beautiful. Because, as I learned the hard way, we didn’t need poop. Poop needed us.