A woman pressing her glowing hands gently to her chest, looking peaceful.

Showing Grace and Public Accidents

At 19, I decided to be a rebel and moved. I didn’t tell my family or friends. Of course, like most teenagers, I thought I knew everything, and no one could tell me different. In January of 2005 I left the tiny town I had spent my whole life in and moved to South Florida. When I moved, I literally left with a backpack of clothes and the cash I had on me. No vehicle, no way of getting back home, I was stuck. This was very eye-opening for me. I, for the first time, was truly on my own.

Within 2 weeks of me moving, my Daddy had his first of many strokes. Daddy was a man of many hats. Throughout my childhood, I never knew him to have less than 2 or 3 jobs at a time. If he was one thing it was a hard worker. This first stroke was the beginning of a rough 10 years for all of us. Daddy lost his ability to read, write and drive. A man who never sat still and always had something he needed to do was now how I felt in Florida. Stuck and alone. Daddy wasn’t alone, as he had my siblings and Mama to help care for him but during the day while they worked or went to school, he was home, unable to work or do the things he felt he needed to do.

My first IBS accident

Being so far from family, unable to help I felt useless. This was the first time I had a public "accident." I knew my gut wasn’t typical as I always had to account for where the closest bathroom was but until this point, I had lived relatively normal. On my 20th birthday, my boyfriend at the times family took me to dinner at Pizza Hut. No big deal, we ate there often. This trip was different for some reason. I felt fine through dinner, as we walked to the car to leave that changed fast. Within seconds of walking out of the restaurant, I had the most embarrassing experience of my life. I will spare you all the details. This was when I knew something was definitely wrong.

This was also my first time meeting my future daughter’s family. I was mortified. To this day none of them ever acknowledged it and bless them, never made me feel bad. I will forever be grateful to them. We got home and I went straight to hide in the shower. I am lucky in the sense I guess that this has been the first and last public accident. Looking back now, I have been able to realize that my biggest trigger for me isn’t even food. It’s stress, anxiety, and depression.

Support and grace for IBS

The plus side to my move to Florida is I gained a wonderful extended family when I realized I was pregnant with my daughter. Things didn’t work out with her biological father, but I gained a wonderful bonus grandmother, aunt, and cousin. They taught me that no matter what, family is family, blood or not. They showed me grace.

I’ve heard that term used a few times over my life. Showing grace to others can mean the world to someone. It could be something as small as paying for someone’s coffee (or water for us who can’t drink coffee lol). It, for many of us with IBS, can be something as small as not making a big deal about you not being able to make it to the bathroom in time. Or not getting upset if we say no thanks to a certain food that we know is a trigger.

When you are having a hard time, mentally or physically, I highly recommend showing grace to someone. Not only does it make the world a tiny bit better, but it can really mean the world to someone. It can change someone’s views on the world. I know it did mine.

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