Photo attributed to flickr user Zanthia
Finally in a public forum, I am going to admit something I have never told anyone. I used to be a bed-wetter. It doesn’t seem as such a big deal now that I am an adult, free, and happy. But in the past, when it started, right after the molestation, I was ashamed. I was mortified. I was a 9 year old or 10 year old, I don’t exactly remember when I started, but I was an old kid, doing this shameful thing that I should have control over.
In retrospect, being touched right where I peed from, by a stranger, probably triggered this cycle of being ashamed to use that body part, and holding in my pee, for as long as possible, until finally, I couldn’t hold it anymore, running to the washroom, and not being able to hold it that long, peeing in my pants, and wetting everything I wore.
I wasn’t a typical bed-wetter in that, I wet the bed. I never wet the bed. I was always able to get up out of bed, and go to pee in the middle of the night – when everything was quiet, there was no one around to witness me using the bathroom. It was during the day – just the thought that someone else would know that I need to use the washroom, that I needed to do something so degrading as use the washroom, something so vile, such as excrete was abhorrent to me. I was so ashamed of the whole process of excretion, or letting out waste in any form, that I would starve myself, not eat, not drink, so I didn’t have to excrete or pee.
Eventually, I got really good at skipping meals, so my mother wouldn’t notice. I think she would have been proud if I skipped a meal, she was in that phase where she was afraid we were going to get fat. That is a story for another blog post, I believe. But it was never enough to skip a meal, I was a growing child, and I needed a lot of food – I would get hungry and thirsty.
It was especially bad when I went to India, because there, I was in a strange place, with no idea of the washrooms, and how they were. Because most of them were squat toilets, that increased my shame related to the excretion process, because squatting itself was such a degrading, shameful position to be in, at least in my head.
I wet my clothes a lot when I would go there, because I would hold my pee forever, I could never feel good about going to the washroom, so I postponed that event forever!
The main thing that bothered me, was that my mother enhanced that shame. She couldn’t understand why I was being like this. She was young herself – maybe 27 years old, maybe 28, around my age right now – and she had been dumped into the role of caretaker of three, without any training or help, she didn’t know really what she was doing, she was mostly winging the whole operation. She couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be normal, why I created all this extra work for her, why I couldn’t be happy, why I was turning into the most difficult of children.
She made fun of my bed-wetting, she laughed in her ignorance, her youth, her incompetency and perpetuated that shame inside of me. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror anymore. I avoided that completely. I couldn’t look at myself without thinking that I deserved to die. I didn’t deserve to live. I was a burden on this planet.
It took me a long time to move out of that mentality, I still have issues with shame and believing in the importance and validity of my existence. I am allowed to take up space now, at least in my head. Before I wasn’t. I was a shameless bed-wetter.