It is 5:00 AM on a Thursday morning in late July.
I am typing this from the toilet seat, trying my damnedest to ignore that fact.
Even though I grew up with a brother who is all too ready to share things like this,
and I really don't care if I can hear other people doing it-
which I can, with the walls in this house-
because it's natural,
I'd still like to pretend the toilet is just a white, shiny novelty to me.
I woke up in the dark, with the fan off, and the TV playing a brightly colored infomercial.
What I first feel is my stomach burning, and I clamber out of bed to unplug the laptop cord
and plug in the lamp.
It's too complicated though, and I realize I can turn the overhead light on with a flick of the switch.
Then I grab the laptop and dash down the hall and into the bathroom.
I can see some people grabbing the laptop in a planned way, with business or entertainment to occupy their time in the commode.
Mostly, I grabbed the laptop anxiously.
I set it on the counter and feel a wave of anxiety sweep over me as my bowels do rather unmentionable things-
at least in polite company.
The wave breaks over my skin in a rush of heat and sweat.
It settles in my head, setting into cartwheels perfectly stationary things.
After a few minutes, I'm leaving again, too stressed to stay in a rather nice bathroom.
I go back to my bed, take two Imodium, and look around on the laptop.
Not ten minutes later, I'm taking another Imodium and a Xanax, a cup of water, and the laptop with me into the bathroom.
This time it feels a little more planned.
Sitting down, I chug water and the pills.
Yet again, instead of occupying myself with the laptop,
it sits on the sinks edge while I play around with a string inside my pyjama pants.
I admonish myself for eating ice cream last night, and thank whatever divine being that it's not worse.
This is the part I wouldn't tell a therapist if they asked.
The part where I get panic attacks in the bathroom, let alone actually facing the world.
But at five in the morning, my anxiety is what I'm afraid of.
It feels like a wild beast that might tear me apart if I'm not careful.
And I try, but it's temperamental, and foreign to me,
so it goes off sometimes without warning,
and I am stuck along for the ride, just a little bit terrified,
aware this thing is inside of me and that I am it's home.
If you can't escape yourself, you certainly can't escape whats inside you, either.
I leave the bathroom to the gurgling sounds of my stomach,
hoping I won't be making a third trip to the bathroom tonight.
I can only handle one epiphany a day, so another trip would really be a waste of my time.
I hope my colon gets the message.