Lunchtime on the Toilet of Good and Evil

600px-Aiga_toilets_inv.svgTomorrow is a new day!

It was the first day of the new month–January was finally over. I’d been sick with the stomach bug for a week, but everyone knows that shit only lasts forty-eight hours, so I decided to embrace the new day and be well. I’d also been dealing with some gender dysphoria, so I wasn’t going to have a crisis with that on this new day either. This was a new day, a new month, and a new me–a mentally and physically well me.

I went to the gym for the first time in a week. That didn’t turn out as great as it could have, but at least I got out there. And I had my first real food in a week–a burger patty. Maybe not incredibly interesting, but compared to Lucky Charms and mashed potatoes with peas it was real food.

While we were eating, my husbear said, “Did you know you have a Bieberstache?”

“Yeah,” I said around a mouthful of meat. “It helps gender me male.” He was staring, and I gradually became aware his statement was more of a critique than a question, so I offered, “I’ll run the electric razor through it on the lowest setting.”

He went back to checking his cell phone.

We drove home, I showered, ran the razor over my face (it didn’t catch anything), and with my mother’s encouragement, I had a few ounces of Jameson. She seemed to think it would help my gut flora, and even though I had misgivings my problems were related to some kind of bacteria, she’s a nurse, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I dug into some research, and ordered a few more books from my store. As I was walking out of the house to pick up the books, I happened to glance down. My boobs were quite noticeable, because I hadn’t worn a binder. Deliberately looking back up, I strode to the gate, and I had almost made it to my car, but turned around last second, scampered inside, and threw on a puffy coat. But that’s okay. You can’t always achieve all the goals of the day, right?

At the bookstore, a group of elderly folks were wheeling their friend up the sidewalk, so I waited and held the doors open for them.

“Thank you, kind sir!”

I beamed.

Wandering the store, I scoped out various sections, including the cookbooks, and then settled on a graphic novel. As I read, my stomach gave a disconcerting gurgle.

Dammit.

I toyed with the idea of picking my books up and leaving, but I continued to read, because–dammit–I was better, and this day was supposed to be good.

“I am mentally and physically well,” I muttered to myself. “Mentally and psychically well.”

My belly continued to cramp, until it was obvious I wasn’t going to make it home. I re-shelved the novel and strode toward the bathrooms. Weeks earlier I had asked my husband which restrooms I should use at work, and he said to stick with the women’s restrooms. So I did, because I figured he should know something about that.

There was a lady washing her hands, and when I walked into a stall, I could hear another person in a stall further down. Dammit again! Normally I’m sort of bathroom shy. Perhaps it had something to do with being transgender, or maybe something random and weird happened along my psychology somewhere. I dunno. I had a therapist once who told me to just let it go, because no one cared what noises you made on the toilet, and that made a certain amount of sense, because when other people were having GI distress, I didn’t feel grossed out or hate them on any level. I just felt bad for them, because GI distress sucks.

So I let it go.

Even though I was in pain, it was sort of a relief, because for the first time ever, I was doing something I’d never done in a public toilet before, and it didn’t seem to bother me. Maybe it was because I was sick, maybe it was the Jameson, or maybe I was finally getting one part of this day right, but whatever the reason I let myself make as much noise as my poor little body needed to (it was really gross).

The lady in the stall next to me decided she didn’t have to go anymore, and hurried up and left.

By the time I finished, another lady had entered, and I conceded I didn’t want to spend the rest of my days in the bathroom, so I finished up. As I walked out of the stall, I recognized the lady at the sink. She was one of the elderly folks who had thanked me… and referred to me as a kind sir. I tried to keep my gaze down. I even ducked my chin into my puffy coat to hide that horrible stubble, but from the way her eyes had darted, I knew she had “made” me. While she never said a word or gave me an affronted look or anything, for the first time it truly felt disingenuous sharing the restroom with her.

On my way home, I couldn’t help but think this day had been a tad bittersweet. My moment of clarity in the toilets seemed to be a signal that it was time to move on. Move on from listening to my family (even if they seemed to have my best interests at heart), move on from using a restroom that was feeling more awkward with each passing day, and move on from harboring silly ideas of misplaced modesty that have only made me more uncomfortable.

So I’ve moved on.

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