If you think this story is about a bad fashion choice involving purple paisley pants…you’re wrong. It’s about anxiety, embarrassment, internal absolution and a very wise phrase coined my by ten year old nephew, Stevie.
Complex-PTSD was an illness I had battled for a lifetime (only recently coming to terms with what my struggles were all about.)
After a long road of trial and error, my doctors and I had finally found a medication to combat my symptoms. I was starting to feel the grip of anxiety and depression loosen.
But the stress of the illness, anxiety and those pretty little pills, came with a price tag and I’m not talking about paper currency. The premium was gastrointestinal discontent. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
At the time this was a cost I was willing to pay, but have now revisited this decision.
Bouts of diarrhea, gas and abdominal discomfort were daily struggles. Holistic teas seemed to help and my confidence improved, perhaps too much so.
One Thursday evening while conversing with my husband, I felt some abdominal pressure. Thinking this was merely intestinal vapor, I discreetly took action to relieve myself and received a big surprise.
The tragedy had already occurred before my frantic attempt to reach the bathroom. I had ended up with what my 10 year old nephew Stevie refers to as “Disaster Pants.”
My husband, normally unflinching in any situation was totally nonplussed. The bathroom door flew open, a pair of clean underwear flew through the air and the door slammed shut as he retreated to a less noxious space.
“Disaster Pants.” My nephew could not have coined a more accurate description for when in life, we literally or figuratively shit our pants.
Not always, but often times, a disaster is not something we caused or made to happen.
Merriam-Webster dictionary says a disaster is “a sudden calamitous event” or a “sudden or great misfortune.” (My yoga pants were ruined…perhaps not a great misfortune but disappointing none the less.)
We all have things that happen to us, not because of us. At some point, we all have to wear a very real or metaphorical pair of “Disaster Pants.” But, then we take them off, or clean them up or find a new pair because after “disaster,” anxiety and embarrassment there is usually recovery.
My nephew didn’t come home from school announcing he had pooped his corduroys. “He” didn’t do it. It was not a choice but a bodily function that occurred beyond his control. Stevie simply stated to my sister that an incident of “Disaster Pants” had occurred.
This statement reveals a self-forgiving and nonjudgmental perspective; perhaps an attitude we all need to assume upon finding ourselves in uncomfortable, awkward, unavoidable situations that are truly not our fault; situations that a little bleach or internal absolution can most likely repair.
Anxiety is Self Punishing
We judge ourselves, we blame ourselves, we punish ourselves for misconstrued transgressions. Sometimes, we are just at the mercy of this chaotic universe.
Learning this little bit of priceless wisdom has helped me to let go of some anxiety surrounding things I cannot control.
I’m not enlightened or healed; I have good days, bad days, worse days. But, now when I get up in the morning I’m a little more ok with the knowledge that things might not go exactly how I want them to, that most likely it won’t be my fault and there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
After all, everyone has disaster pants and we all put them on, one leg at a time.