A young man tries to sneak away from a group of people watching a movie.

A Real Brave Tummy

When I was in high school I dated this girl from church. Back then, I would always go to service at an ENORMOUS mega-church and participated as much as I could. Partly because I like to help people, but also partly to complete my AP GOV volunteer requirement. I helped run a small group and created video content for my fellow teens to enjoy (and probably ridicule). When I wanted to hang out with my girlfriend I was… limited.

See, It took me several years to get my license (at 19 actually). I was nervous about huge cars and trucks for sure, but most of my driving experience and testing thus far consisted of burning rubber and racing cool rides my friends in games which, might I add, gave you points for CRASHING.

Thanks to my own self-anxiety and driving hesitation, I saw my then-girlfriend almost EXCLUSIVELY through larger youth group projects and chaperoned meetups.

Incredibly romantic, I know

Our group was tasked to help out a local family with a wild and overgrown yard one day. I remember, distinctly, taking a break after a long bout of clearing branches and other floral detritus, to watch the Disney animated film Brave.

It was a good flick! However, my body decided it wanted to do this cool thing where I had to poop 8 times.

A reward for my community service?

All I had done was throw some sticks out and rearranged some rocks. Could this have been a bad thing? Was it because it was early morning and I ate a lot before helping? I had no idea, I just knew I wasn’t feeling good and there was no way I could hide it. You see, there are only so many lies to leave the room when you’re in a huge cluster of your peers. Especially while watching Merida and all her cool bear friends. Plus…

I was sitting in the front row

There was no way I could find eight distinct and creative ways to leave the room!

Like what?:
“I have to go pee.”
“There I go again to pee!”
“I left my phone there.”
(Oh wow, that was a haiku. Go me.)

Every time went I found myself more and more bathroom-drained until I finally found the courage to stealth-text, my mom, to come pick me up.

My most vivid memories of IBS

This was a time where I thought it was more important to hide what I was feeling and try to seem normal. Instead of accepting who I was and living life despite my own struggles.

I was under the impression that this was normal. That teens just had horrible lying-down on the cold linoleum floor type bathroom experiences. It wasn’t until I started understanding my triggers and listening to my body, did I start to do something about it.

Nowadays I take much better care of myself

I go nowhere without my IBS medication just in case my body decides to be Brave again and take me to the commode. Yes, it can be embarrassing trying to come up with unique excuses to get up and leave your friends to tend to your needs. But those true friends, that you surround yourself with, won’t hold that against you. We are all facing invisible battles, so all we can do is be confident about it.

I don’t remember much of the movie, since it played more like a series of Disney bear-themed commercials every few minutes of my show, that being a toilet. But it probably has something to do with being brave and being yourself. So be that.

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