When I was a boy it was hard for me to pee in public. I was tragically pee shy. I think it was a mixture of reasons. Really I think it’s because a lot of my insecurities were tailored around my being over weight. I never liked taking my shirt off in public. I was the one chubby kid in the ocean with a big wet t-shirt on that upon exiting the waves for the sand, would pull the sopping wet shirt off his stomach super fast. I was lucky that in the mid to late nineties the baggier the clothing, the better. I wore Jnco Jeans and oversized Nautica, Polo, and Chaps shirts. Being fat aside, I loved that clothing.
So I think Peeing was just a fear I had because it meant that in some way I would have to disrobe, even if partially in front of other people. So I was scared. Pooping in public I always adored though. I would close the door and daydream. I was safe there.
I remember this one time when I was seven or eight; my father took me out on our little fishing boat with a couple of his buddies. It was a brilliantly beautiful day on The Great South bay off the coast of Long Island. We were fishing for flounder. My dad was drinking with his best friends. I had my toasted everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese waiting for me in the cooler. I was pounding Oranginas. Then it happened - I had to pee. My father instructed me to go off the back of the boat. With my back turned on the group I pensively unbuttoned my shorts and tried to go, I couldn’t, not that first time, not the three other times. I was embarrassed. They were cheering me on as I tried and tried. My dad sympathized with me, cut his fishing short. We went back to the dock. I ran home and peed fast. My dad and his buddies assured me that it was normal, but I wanted to be one of the guys. I wanted to be able for my dad to enjoy his Saturday. My penis had different plans.
I remember peeing my pants once in a department store when I was six or so, and locking myself in the bathroom at home because I was so embarrassed. As I got older the fear of peeing in public subsided, still it was hard for me to make it all work. My brain and body were just so used to the difficulty that it just carried over into my teenage years, even though I had lost weight and been more confident about myself.
Then one day it all changed. I was sitting at a urinal somewhere in college. It was a packed bar and the urinals were all occupied. I was saying to myself, “Come on man, you got this. This is stupid now. Just fucking pee!” I couldn’t. Then something weird happened. I stared at the tiles in front of my face. Then I focused on the grout between them. I then focused in on a very tiny point on the wall and thought of the word, “molecules”. I said the word to myself and envisioned the smallest particle of matter in front of me. I started peeing. It flowed like it had never flowed before. I don’t know what it was, I really don’t. Was it just thinking of the word that worked, was it the actual molecules? I don’t know. But it’s worked ever since.
Maybe in some strange way it’s the small things that matter, that changes things. Is it science? Maybe it’s just focusing on the smallest piece of matter that makes you realize that you’re not who you were, that matters - that you are who you’ve become. You’ve peed a million times at this point, or you’ve interviewed a million times, or you’ve tried fixing something differently, or arguing differently. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing in front of you that makes you realize that you’re not who you were – it ushers in a moment of what you’ve become, and that sets you free.
One a side note, I once peed my pants in front of the entire Wu Tang Clan, but that’s another story.
To be continued.