I was tearing up, blushing, turning red in the face, and I couldn’t breathe.
I work in an engineering building, where the women’s restroom have automatic sensors that have a mind of their own, flushing the toilets at random. Many of the other women in the building have complained about them also, as water always squirts up and hits our bottoms.
I was washing my hands when two other women came into the bathroom and took stalls next to one another. One of them immediately complained about the sensors, and the other one complained about how the custodian put the toilet paper in the wrong direction, and how that caused her to tear the toilet paper before she could pull out a good length of it.
Now I deliberately was stalling, behind the wall, just being another one of the girls….eavesdropping on other women who felt free to just be girlfriends in this safe space, and I was finally free to giggle like one of them, a happy freedom. The walls of this stall were so much thinner than the walls we put up between men and women, and from here, I knew I was on the right side.
At last, after so many years, I found a place….where I belonged.
They continued. The other girl then pulled a bunch of toilet paper out, citing that the first girl was a moron, and they both giggled. They didn’t know I was still there, and I couldn’t help but giggle, which then opened up the portal to laughter.
“Is someone else in here?” one of the girls said.
“I think so” said the other.
Who could have thought a genuine experience in the women’s restroom could trigger such latent happiness and harvest laughter from my suppressed storage bin? A simple visit to the women’s restroom could trigger so many good feelings inside me.
The barriers to my former male presentation, the former facade I put forth, were dissolved.
A wise friend of mine once told me that we, as humans, default to what are familiar defenses when we wander outside of our comfort zone. I felt so genuinely comfortable at that moment, that my inner feminine self, the woman I’ve always known myself to be, really shined through and blossomed at that moment.
The two of them finished and came out of the stalls.
I was still giggling, and one of the girls asked me: “Do you like the toilet paper up or down?”
“I like it up.”
“See! I’m not the only one!” she exclaimed to her friend.
“Whatever, you’re retarded,” said the other girl, both starting to laugh at each other.
We all left the bathroom and I had the giggles for the rest of the day.
What a wonderful experience, I thought to myself. It immediately made me think: “So that’s what it was probably like in a girl’s restroom in high school…”
I couldn’t help but wonder what would it have been like to be in the girl’s restroom in junior high and high school? What conversations, jokes, and silliness did I miss in those days?
And moreover, what a privilege it’s been to experience both sides of the binary, and to be able to meet these women and witness such an exchange, such a funny interaction, and get some of what I missed in my high school days.