And Here Comes the Shit! Part Two!
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
August 26, 2013
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
I set there frozen, unable to think, unable to act. The only part of my body that seemed to be working was my behind. I took a long deep breath and fought back the tears. "You will not cry over this shit. It is what it is," I mumbled to myself.
I don't know how long I had been in that bathroom, but I knew I had to pull myself together and get out of there. I flushed the toilet and pulled my shorts from over my ankles. The first thing was to wash my behind. I pulled and pulled toilet paper off the roll and dipped it in the toilet and started this familiar process of washing my behind in toilet water.
Pull, Dip, Wipe, Flush over and over again. I did that until the toilet paper came back clean. Then I wiped my legs down and cleaned my flip flops that had been splashed with a little shit. Now that I was clean, I went to cleaning the toilet. A little soap on the toilet paper and I cleaned off the shit residue from the toilet and the droplets on the floor.
I stood there looking down at my nasty shorts. This was a dilemma. If I dumped them in the toilet, then they would be totally soaked. I didn't really want to walk home in totally wet shorts. Solutions were not coming to me as I stood there looking down at that mess. I knew that I couldn't put them back on shitty and walk home. That was not an option. My choices were limited, so I went to the sink and tried to clean only the sit of my shorts with the most amount of stool, but that was futile because it only made poop go to different spots.
I was frustrated and finally I gave into the fact that I couldn't totally clean them in this sink in Starbucks, it wasn't fair to them or me. So I resolved to put them back on, part wet, part soiled and part dry.
As soon as I went to put them back on, I could feel my stomach at war and rushed back to the toilet just in time. "I need a break God," I whispered, "Will you help a sista out?" I asked.
I sat on the toilet, with the wet, soiled shorts in my lap and shit running out of me like a water faucet. I was so over it!! Over it! Over it! "I'm calling the GI doctor first thing Monday morning because this ER solution is a freaking mess," I said to the floor. I drifted into thought, "What is wrong with me?" I asked myself. This was becoming a bit overwhelming.
I was lost in thoughts when I heard a knock on the door. Shame swap over me, I was not going to let that man know that a woman was in here, but they started pulling the handle and I lamely hollered, "Someone's in here."
I couldn't rush things along so he would just have to wait. Finally my stomach settled, I got off the toilet and put my part wet, part soiled, part dry shorts back on. The cold parts of the shorts sent a chill up my spin, a horrible reminder of the madness I had just experience. I took a deep breath, went back to the sink and with soapy paper towels cleaned it as best as I could. I double checked the toilet and floor, all was good.
Raw shame hit me as I opened the door and saw that man leaning against the wall waiting for his turn. More shame swiped through me as I thought about the smell. "It is what is it Rae," I mumbled and made a B-line for the door. As I approached Walgreens I thought about all the stuff I dropped on the counter, probably sitting there waiting on me. "What the hell, I might as well," I mumbled. As I walked into Walgreens, my stomach had seemed to settle.
I went straight for the counter and thanked God no one was in line. As I walked home, I was grateful for the floppy shirt I had on with the long tail in the back. At least people couldn't see the biggest soiled water spot. As soon as I made it in the house my stomach was at it again. "Thank God for home," I sighed as I sat on the toilet. "I'm calling the GI doctor," I reiterated out loud.
When I thought that it was safe to get off the toilet, I stripped and showered. The warm water and the crisp smell of the pomegranate and mango shower gel cleansed me of the ugly and reminded me that even in chaos, God small miracles are alive. I was grateful for the water and the renewing of my senses.
I made me a cup of peppermint tea to settle my tummy and curled up with Sophie and a book in the big chair in my bedroom. I thanked God for my, "Safe-place," (a cup of tea, a book and Sophie) as the calm settled over my spirit.
Little did I know, that my body and spirit would be put to a major test the next two weeks. Yep, someone, the universe, the devil, karma, some crazy ass with a voodoo doll, and even God whatever, whoever was testing my resolve, of that I became convinced.
To Be Continued!
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
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