Life as a Toilet

Lately, creatively speaking, I feel like — well, there’s no triple-blend, cotton-soft way to put it — a toilet. Not a fancy toilet with shiny white porcelain with a bidet or some cool island-themed mango air freshener and Cottonelle wipes around. Nope. More like a true vintage version that never quite fills up all the way or flushes properly.  A little bit foul.  Stained around the rim despite a barrage of bleach products. And don’t even think of opening the tank. It looks like a murky scene from the Titanic in that thing.

What life as a creative toilet fills like (see what I did there) is pretty much how it sounds. I spend most of my days spinning, flushing thoughts and hopes and fears around like perky little turds. Nothing much happens. Thing go in, come up, or get sucked into a dark oblivion….only to begin again. And what doesn’t sink, floats. And, as we all know, floaters aren’t always a good thing.

My Personal Floaters: anxiety, how spaced-out and forgetful I can be at times, the dead ferns in my front yard, fears of the future, dead pine needles collecting on my rooftop, things I can’t control, three records I haven’t mailed out to people who have paid for them, sadness and anger suffered by friends and family, spells of social media time-wasting, not learning things, the Christmas lights that are still up, not taking vacations, the old garden hose wasting away in my yard, the mountain of “recycling” that has taken over our garage, dirty dishes, the lack of groceries, the staph infection in my finger (after three rounds of heavy antibiotics), lists, lists about the lists, bills, work-related to-dos, pictures not framed, house envy, child envy, furniture envy, the light that comes in the window when I’m trying to sleep…

Why have I spent the past few paragraphs spewing crap? A few reasons: 1)  It helps to clear out the bowels of the mind. 2) When I write I’m not having a panic attack. 3) I used to really enjoy writing. 4) Perhaps other people I know feel like a toilet too, and maybe we can celebrate or compare mental BM’s like true butt buds.

And before anyone whisks in with their favorite brand of bowl cleaner or anything that doesn’t sound like, “I feel that way sometimes too, and it feels terrible.” Hold it in. Wait until your next Buc-ee’s truck stop. Believe me I know I can step out of my metaphorical bathroom. Some people can’t. I know I’m lucky as hell that there are other rooms of my brain barn to hang out in. In those rooms I feel so so thankful. But sometimes it feels good to sit and acknowledge the excrement, to drop a load, to piss away a few minutes time, to feel a little lighter.


Crystal “Clean” Beach, TX

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been driving back and forth from Beaumont to Bolivar Peninsula, where I’ve been, among other things, cleaning beach cabins with my grandmother. This “in-between” phase of my life is covered in Comet, bleach, Lysol Kitchen Cleaner, dust, Windex, dirt, Pledge, as well as all sorts of grime, and I couldn’t be happier.

After leaving my former full-time job to pursue other life opportunities, I’ve found myself again. When I have half of my body shoved in a stove and am wearing plastic gloves up to my elbows in a sea of Easy-Off, I smile. When I’m pulling out each drawer of a fridge to soak up a pool of fish blood left by a renter (not joking) at the bottom, I unroll the paper towels and soak it all up. I soak up that feeling of being young and motivated and free to choose what field or job I pursue next. With a rag tucked in each of my pockets, I make sure to step out on the porch every now and then. The ocean reminds me that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Some days it’s still and peaceful, other days it’s littered with whitecaps, but one thing remains constant and awe-inspiring. Near sunset, this muddy sea filled with the runoff of the Mississippi turns purple and blue, and the sky bursts into flames of pink and orange that lick the skyline.

In between jobs, I drink coffee and listen to the waves. I take pictures of wildflowers. I listen to my grandfather play his saxophone. I walk down to the shoreline and watch the waves bite at my feet. I pick through seashells. The “in-between” is not so bad.

Though my advice may be a bit warped due to both sun and chemical exposure, it is rather simple stuff:

Comet works best for sinks. Magic Erasers are actually magical. Never clean with things that smell like lemon or pine trees. Fabuloso smells nice and is great to pour into toilets after they’ve been cleaned. Dyson’s are spectacular.

If you fold your toilet paper ends into a lovely, little triangle, you win at life.