by Donatella von Tchitz
Let me start by saying that if you put a frog in a pan of boiling water it will jump straight out and look at you in horror. If you put a frog in cold water and slowly bring it to the boil, it will acclimate and gradually boil to death.
My hideous controlling husband had rules about everything. In the beginning I would resist if I disagreed with the rule, but soon realized that, actually, the repercussions were so great that just going along with the current regime (whatever that entailed that particular day) was easier than fighting it, especially once the kids came along. Anything for a quiet life. The water began to get warmer.
One of his rules was to do with hygiene. I turned the shower on incorrectly, he stated, and taught me how to do it properly. Sometimes when he wasn’t watching I would do it “my way” but generally I just toed the line, it was easier. One day I pooped, and some time afterwards, he came out of the loo furious. Had I pooped? he demanded. “Yes…” I said warily not sure where this was going. He was outraged! What was I thinking! How disgusting I was! He was married to a total slut (and not in a good way)! Of course I must always poop before having my shower in the morning and not after or I would walk around all day in effect covered in shit! Potentially to go to bed with him at night and smear him and our sheets with my feces! How selfish! How vile I was. What was I thinking! In fact, was I thinking at all!??? (and he proceeded not to speak to me for some weeks afterwards)
So, rather than run the risk of being shouted at again or ignored for weeks at a time, I dutifully only pooped in the mornings before my shower… it took a while, but I eventually trained my bowels to behave. Occasionally I would be unable to control them and for fear of being discovered would slip around to a neighbor and have a shifty shit in her bog to save possible detection in defiling my own. She was unquestioning and kind and made me a cup of tea and we would take advantage of the chance to have a catch up.
I never really thought about it again until twelve years later when my horrid ex and I divorced and I was dating a lovely man who mentioned an afternoon poop he had had. “An afternoon Poop!” I said astonished, “an illegal poop!?” I was fascinated… and he admitted it! He almost seemed nonplussed by the fact! Good heavens! What sort of mad rebel was I dating! And whilst I smiled at his recklessness admiringly, he gently asked me what I was talking about. When I naturally referred to the fact that only the most disgusting of creatures poop after they shower, he very kindly explained that pooping whenever you need to is pretty much a human right and that I had been living under a very shitty dictator, that I should feel free to poop with abandon whenever I wanted from now on. I was astonished and embarrassed and shocked at how I had unquestioningly (although gradually, over time…) had the shit scared out of me. To this day I still feel a little bit furtive and naughty when I have an illegal poop. But I am no longer in hot water…. I am a free frog.