A SCANDAL IN BRUNCH-LANDIA
By: Lauren Anderson
I don’t know how it happened. But it did. Quite possibly one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever had to go through happened this last weekend, and I figured I’d tell you all about it.
Did I debate whether or not I want the whole internet to know my shame? You bet your booty I did. But I landed on sharing the story because, well, this is real life. And this is the real stuff that happens.
Sometimes it feels like it happens ONLY TO ME WHEN I LEAST WANT IT TO…. but who knows? Maybe others have felt this way or had it happen too? Safety in numbers!
Ahem, let’s paint the picture shall we?
My dear friend Courtney returned last weekend to the land of 10,000 lakes for a quick visit. Those few days were jam packed for her, and so her other dear friend (she has many) threw a brunch so she could see as many people as possible.
I knew Courtney (obvi) and I knew the gracious host, and I had a met a few other people there, but none of them I knew very well. Up until this brunch we had only hung out very casually, all of us spokes to the center hub of the Courtney wheel.
It was a lovely brunch filled with delicious foods and wonderful people. I had a delightful time! We talked about all sorts of stuff and caught up and laughed and went deep. It was one of those perfectly perfect type of social gatherings where despite not knowing anyone very well, I felt instantly welcome and relaxed.
Plus, did I mention the food was delicious?
A few people even mentioned my blog, and others asked about it. Their voices sounded impressed when Courtney shared that I blogged for a Crossfit gym. I felt pretty proud to represent Solcana, and the Solcanation.
And because in storytelling it’s always better to show than tell– Courtney jumped on my back for an impromptu “strength test” and she felt like wearing a small backpack. The crowd “ahhhh’d” at the silly show of power, and I was feeling pretty good.
The brunch lasted a few hours and as it was winding down, the coffee and the mimosas got the best of me and I decided to use the bathroom just one more time before I left.
Why? Why didn’t I just leave? UGH.
I walked into the bathroom, smiling and giggling to myself about something Courtney just said. I sat down and did my business, (Relax, it was a number one. It’s not that kind of a story… thank God.) When I was done, I leaned over to grab some toilet paper and I heard the noise that would change my life forever.
I know it was a little sound, but it might as well been the cracking of the ice wall in Westeros. Oh no. Nononononononononononononono! This can’t be happening….
I finished wiping and stood up and saw it, in all it’s glory. I cracked the toilet seat. With my butt.
It snapped in half like a pea pod on a summer porch in July. The kind of break that couldn’t be covered up, because A. You could see it. And B. It would pinch your butt if you tried to sit on it.
My face went red. I was hot and I started to sweat. Oh dammit. Why did this have to happen?! I was having such a lovely time! I don’t know this person well enough to break her toilet!
A million jillion things raced through my brain:
Maybe I could just close the seat and pretend it never happened? No. I’m better than that. I have to say something… but how do I tell her? She’ll laugh at me! Or worse, she’ll be mad at me?! Oh god! What if she gets mad? What if that toilet seat cost was really expensive?! What if the toilet seat is a family heirloom? OH MY GOD I’M DYING. She’ll think I’m this fat monster that can’t live in the real world! I should be caged for what I’ve done. I’m too hideous to have nice things! They’ll send me to another planet like they did to The Hulk because I’m too dangerous to humankind…
You can see how quickly I spiraled.
I started to cry. I was embarrassed. Like really, really embarrassed. Because if I want to be even more honest here? This is not my first rodeo. I’ve broken many a toilet seat in my day. In fact, the one in my apartment is cracked right NOW. And it’s always this shameful experience.
When you are, say, above average in anything, your experience changes because the way you relate to the world is different from the center/medium/norm. I live in a big body. So I notice things that most people take for granted. Like the sturdiness of a toilet seat. And no, they are NOT all created equal.
Most wooden toilet seats are made from pressed wood particles. Like the kind of wood they would use on a movie set for a guy to chop with his hand. It’s flim-flam but sturdy enough, and it’s really cheap. If you live in an apartment, chances are your seat is like this.
But it’s not just toilet seats either. It’s other stuff too. Like the size of a booth at a restaurant. Whether or not chairs have arms on them, and will I fit? Or even, how sturdy is that chair to begin with?!
EXAMPLE: I was at an event once where the host offered me a rickety 20 year old garden table from IKEA to sit on and I just looked at her like, “Excuse me. Are you koo koo in the brain?”
But because she was a slight, tiny person, this end table that could probably only safely hold up a votive candle seemed like a perfectly viable seat. Needless to say, I grabbed a pillow and took a spot on the ground.
I used to get embarrassed about stuff like this. But now that I have some more body love, it’s just something I need to do in order to take care of myself. Especially in the stage of my body that I’m in now.
It’s weird because I’m not as heavy as I used to be, but I am more dense than ever before. Because I have more muscle mass than ever before. It’s a brave new world I’m in, and it can be very confusing.
I’m more open about what I need, and my friends are more accommodating than I ever thought they would be. I was helping a friend pick out a dining room table the other day, and I casually mentioned that the chairs might not be friendly to all-bodies. He goes, “Well then, I’m not getting it.”
And I was like, “It’s your house! Get the chairs you like!”
And he said, “I only want chairs in my home that ALL my friends are comfortable in.”
I wish more people were like him.
* * *
Cut back to the bathroom at brunch.
I’m in there, wiping hot, wet tears from my cheeks. Trying to calm down before my face gets puffy and betrays me. I know I feel better about my body than I ever have, but this kind of stuff still gets me.
Breaking chairs or toilet seats or anything because of the size of your body is hard. No matter how much love you have. Especially when it’s someone else’s property.
It was especially weird because just a few hours before I was practically bragging about being a Fitness Blogger. I pulled myself together and went downstairs. Luckily I caught the host in the hallway and was able to tell her without anyone else around.
She smiled and said, “Oh my god, don’t even worry about it!” I offered to pay for a new seat and she would have none of it. Her grace and understanding were a godsend. She waved it all away like it was nothing, and I was grateful for this act of kindness.
The Lauren from a few years ago would have really crumbled after an event like that. And even though there was a moment of panic and embarrassment, I was able to recover and forgive myself much quicker than before.
I think this is because I am more INSIDE my body than I have ever been in my life. I used to be so removed. Thinking of myself like a floating spirit trapped in this strange place. But not anymore. My body is as much a part of me as my mind, or my heart, or my soul. It all belongs together. For better or for worse.
I recognize the things that are in my control and the things that are not. I recognize the size and strength of my body and what that means living in the world. Both good and bad.
I can carry my friends on my back no problem. And I can break their toilet seats just as easy. One is more fun to do than the other, but hey…they’re both a part of me.
So I guess I left the brunch feeling a little cracked like that toilet seat, but not broken.
This new feeling is worth noticing. And something I will never take for granted.