written by Natalie Pattillo

Junk Drawer

Why Is Accidentally Peeing in Public So Shameful?

As you can imagine, the Icon Headquarters is a place where shame about bodily functions is flushed right down the toilet. Sure, now we're confident enough to chat about everything from wild pubic hair to going bra-less. Have we always been this open, though? Hell no. We all remember as kids how having an "accident" in public (or in someone else's home) spurred a whole lotta anxiety. Will my friends make fun of me? Will my teachers shame me? Am I the only weirdo kid who pees herself? 

Last week, we sat together *family-style* (sans dinner table and tuna casserole) and created a safe space to talk openly about the childhood bathroom blunders we buried in the deepest depths of our brains. 

Kejal: Peeing yourself is very anxiety-riddled when you're a kid. I was a bed-wetter. I remember wetting the bed in first and second grade and feeling nervous about spending the night at friends' houses. It was a relief to wake up dry. But sometimes, I peed the bed while I was at a sleepover. If that happened, I'd just pull the blanket up and wouldn't say anything. 😶

Kelsey: Did you ever talk about it to anyone 🤔?

Kejal: I don't remember talking about it to any of my friends. I feel like must have talked about it with my parents. But eventually, the bed-wetting just stopped.

Kelsey: At around 5, I was at my cousin's house for a sleepover. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Their toilet was a different size and height than my toilet at home. I went. Stood up. But then, when I looked down, I realized that I totally missed the toilet. There was pee and poop on their bathroom floor. It was even outside the toilet rug and just directly on the floor! Then, using my aunt's home phone, I called my mom. It was like 2 am. My mom answered and thought it was my aunt. I told her I needed to go home but didn't explain why. This goes back to the shaming conversation...I didn't feel comfortable opening up about what happened. 😬

Group: 😳 😂 

MariaLuisa: My problem was just that I was too lazy to go pee. There were massive gardens at my elementary school. We would just be playing there nonstop. Because we wore skirts with our school uniforms, I thought if I just sat and opened my skirt, I could pee and somehow the pee wouldn't get on my skirt. I just sat on the ground, opened the skirt, and peed. 😁

Kelsey: Honestly, very impressive logic as a child. 🤔

Natalie: And what happened after that?

MariaLuisa: I remember being very embarrassed about it. Why did I not think that the skirt was going to get soaked by doing that? I didn't have a second change of clothes because I was no longer at an age where I was peeing myself. It was just a very awkward conversation with my mom. 😐

Kejal: What'd you do? Did you tell your teachers? 😬

MariaLuisa: Yeah. I mean, I was like soaked. My friends realized what happened. I remembered it being kinda traumatic. But thankfully, my mom has always been very awesome with these types of conversations. My mom took the shame aspect out immediately. She would never make me feel ashamed because she already knew how bad I already felt. Even though she might've been ashamed for me, she never let it on. 🙏🏽

Natalie: Even as kids, you're able to pick up on how it's shameful. I mean, it's a natural bodily function...I wonder why that is? 🤔

Kejal: I think it's because it's referred to as an "accident" so it feels like it's not supposed to happen. 💁🏻

Darby: The language is labeled as "potty talk." You're not supposed to bring it up in conversation. It's supposed to stay behind closed doors. 😑

Melissa: I think as you get older you realize that peeing is something you do in very private settings. So when you do it in public and there's physical evidence, it's taboo! As a kid, I used to pee all the time when I laughed. One time, I peed while I was in the Wizard of Oz. I remember just telling people I sat on something. I was laughing and breaking character! I was like 7! 😂

Kejal: Yeah, potty talk is thought of as gross or private. Think about the comments we get on Facebook, where women will put the blame back on the woman for leaking. "She didn't do her Kegels!" There's so much blaming of women for the issue. People think that you're leaking because you're doing something wrong or are lazy. But, what's exciting about this new generation of girls is that they're getting more complete conversation around pelvic floor health. 🙌🏼

Natalie: So I've written about this story on The Iconic blog but for those who don't know.....when I was 13, I peed myself at the mall. On my birthday! When I needed to use the restroom, it was closed for cleaning. That was soooo anxiety-inducing 😬. I was like, "Shit, I'm gonna pee my pants." Then like ten minutes later when the restroom opened up, I ran to the stall. I got in but I couldn't get my belt off. And I totally peed my pants. But my friends were there and they didn't make fun of me. I'm glad I had girlfriends who responded by quickly buying me new jeans, underwear, and sandals clothes while I waited in the stall. They could've gotten grossed out instead, but didn't. 🙃

Ahhhhh...feels good to *relieve* ourselves from our childhood embarrassments. 

 ~*Feeling the urge to share your dribble dramas? Comment below! ↓*~

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