I don’t give a shit, I literally don’t.

I’ve learnt it a long time ago when we lived in an overcrowded flat and the toilet was outside, so from age 4 or 5 I remember having to run outside in the dark cold night. The light was on a short timer and so I’d hurry up, unzipping my trousers and almost always rushed to empty my bladder so I ended up with wee on my pants or my skirt tucked up or still zipping my trousers. As I ran back inside the lounge of our one bedroom, my whole family would be huddled together onto the large┬ásofa and my mum would burst out laughing, laughing that I got so scared and the rest of my family joining into the furore.

It was a little bit better during the day, at least there was natural light but the small cubicle was icy cold with no toilet seat and as we shared these toilets with our next door neighbours, a couple of elderly white French people, the walls were plastered in racist slurs which formed the basis of my learning to read. Being the last child already made me eager to access the word, so competitive was I with my eldest siblings, so I took any opportunity to read to do just that.

I latched onto literacy for dear life and quickly became obsessed with correcting bad spelling and grammar on the placards. I turned ‘les arabes sa pue’ to ‘les arabes, ├ža pue’, making sure it was grammatically correct and easy on the eye.

Years later, I still hold my bladder and my bowels even though I am now privileged enough to have indoors toilets (and even a toilet seat!).

I once saw an osteopath who told me that I’d completely cut off my body sensations from the neck down and he then proceeded to crack me back into place so that I got the body lightness and suppleness of a nine year old child. The body I live in daily has locked in all my trauma, making sure that I feel nothing from the loneliness, the racism, the otherness, the suicidal depressions, the bad encounters, the poverty, the unanswered prayers to God, the drugs and alcohol, the powerlessness I felt all my life, the bad luck, the untimely death of my father whose shortened life passed me by like a missed boat, like a cowboy bus driver who slows down and then drives off splashing you with a puddle as you stand there with your hand raised, the low paid jobs, the sugar addiction, the fee, the anger, the anger, the fear, the anger, the rage, the rage eating at me.

Years later, I still hold my bladder and bowels, though I don’t have to. I’ve got toilets inside the house now and there won’t be racist graffiti in my bathroom unless I write it myself.

Yet it’s become harder and harder for me to poo. Everyday I feel the space inside me grow heavier with a delayed bowel movement that will only happen when the bag is full to the brim. The past few times I have been have been particularly traumatic and painful. The accumulated philosophical-fecal matter violently rapes my numbness to myself. The last few days have felt terrifying as this master has taken over my life with anxious and painful anticipation. I feel that my internalised historical pain has taken on a life of its own, ravaging my insides with a powerful determination. I ask myself ‘ is this the beginning or the end?’ Should I see a doctor?. It’s probably too late for me. The truth is that I don’t give a shit but really wish I did.

 


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