And I shouldn't say that I couldn't altogether. Given enough time—and complete solitude—I could do the deed. My specific problem was that I couldn't actually "go" unless I was alone. I was embarrassed to have others hear me tinkle. This was the usual order of events:
- Realize I needed the restroom.
- Arrive in the restroom (our office has three stalls).
- Sit on the toilet.
- Hold it in until everyone else was gone.
- If someone came in while I was mid-business, I'd clench until I was alone again.
Yeah, typing it out makes it seem even more loony. And what's more, this had been going on a long time. Think of all the elementary school stalls, the college dorms, the highway rest-stops. If you add it all up, I've probably devoted entire days to "holding it."
Days. Of. My. Life.
I don't know where this self-conscious, irrational phobia came from. The idea of making a sound—any sound—in the potty is deeply embarrassing and unpleasant for some people. It forces us to acknowledge that sometimes we aren't meeting the imaginary ladylike ideals. Or maybe it’s just gross. I don’t know for sure.
But I have found the cure in endurance riding.
Since I started doing the distance thing, I have peed next to the trail, only somewhat obscured by sagebrush, as a dozen riders go by. I have peed behind boulders and trees while someone else held my horse and knew exactly what I was doing. I have peed next to my truck and trailer out in the middle of nowhere, and also within sight of farmhouses. I have peed in foul porta-potties, on the shoulders of well-traveled gravel roads, and while holding the reins of one or more bewildered horses.
In the immortal words of Johnny Cash, I've peed everywhere.
For a time, I was on a diet that required me to drink 60 to 100 ounces of water a day in addition to any non-water liquids I was consuming. With my walnut-size bladder, that means sitting at my desk desperately needing a potty break every 10 minutes or so.
And because of endurance, I could do it. If I can go out in nature where anyone can see me, I can certainly go into a three-stall bathroom and shamelessly use it for the purpose for which it was designed.
And I don't care who hears me.
Sitting there now, I sometimes just want to exclaim, "Hello, world! Yes, that's me you're hearing! Go with the flow, my sisters!" But then I remember that not everyone is an endurance rider… yet.