I’m fully aware of the plethora of reactions I’m probably getting from the title of this article right off the bat. Comedy has always been my go to, regardless of the subject matter. If you can’t learn to laugh at yourself, you will end up headed straight down the road denial-ville with a fast pass. Learning how to flip your mind to find the humor in things can be tricky right off the bat. I’ve always loved being the class clown. If I can make people laugh I am fulfilling a part of me I enjoy to explore the most. The skill to break the ice and not get stuck in a moment which can lead to brain damaging humiliation and permanent emotional scarring.
I was introduced to this way of thinking very early on in life. I was an odd kid. Different and not afraid to continue down that road to self identify and outlandish intellect. I loved the arts and to perform. Fronting a 20 piece swing band at the age of 5 would not be considered a normal pastime for any child living in a small suburb down in Massachusetts. I modeled regularly as well and had a love for the stage. When I was on stage I was untouchable and unstoppable. I knew this at 5 years old. Talk about knowing your calling right? But when I carried my stage presence into everyday life I don’t think my peers and culture I was in at the time was ready for my “showmanship”. At least it was not being as well received as when I was in front of an audience or panel of judges. I was a target at school and felt the effects of being that target. Bullying and segregation was a daily part of school life. I was leader of the underdogs in a way because I never felt the need to set guidelines as to who I should be friends with. I wasn’t afraid to stay true to myself regardless of the consequences. Which sometimes included being put inside a locker. Lucky enough for me I was tiny enough to still be pretty darn comfy in there until someone got me out. That very well could explain why I have a fear of small spaces.
You’re probably wondering what the correlation is between what I’m telling you, viruses the title of this article. By being bullied as a kid it allowed me to learn faster that by laughing with them, it hurt less. Take this scenario for instance. You’re walking in public and all of a sudden you trip and land in a puddle of mud. You’re not covered in mud and people are staring from every direction. You can either:
A.) Hide your face in shame and humiliation for being, wait for it…human.
B.) You can start laughing because it’s pretty funny when you think about it and sure enough someone else will laugh with you and the ice is broken. When you learn to laugh at yourself there is less pain, less self destruction on your confidence level, less humiliation.
So let’s dive into the topic we know everyone is waiting for. Bladder control baby! Say it to yourself just for fun. Bladder Control. Ok now say it again. Bladder control. If you aren’t starting to crack a smile by now you might not have a soul. I’m only kidding. That means we just have to break the ice a bit more. I’m going to be super frank with you folks now. I’ve been peeing myself for a good 15 years and didn’t know why. No, I’m not exaggerating.
When I was a kid I was constantly in and out of the doctoris with bladder infections and such. So it was definitely a medical issue from day one. But when you’re 15 and 16 years old and it’s still happening it certainly makes you wonder. I remember being little and hating to “waste time” by going to the bathroom when I was playing or having fun. It was an interruption from what I really wanted to be doing. So for this reason accidents made sense. But what about when I hit 15 and 16. I would be going amongst my business and all of a sudden had to pee so bad as if I had been holding it for hours. There were no warning signs. There was no hint guiding me to get to a ladies room fast. It hit me in the face and all of a sudden I was inconspicuously holding myself in the aisle of Homegoods trying not to let anyone on to my secret.
Aside from the abrupt announcement my bladder was showcasing daily, the strategic planning of sneezes soon came into play. I would love it if I could be that person that delicately holds in her sneeze to be polite. Let me be as straight as possible with you. If I attempt to “hold in” my sneeze that is pretty much a green light for me to enter a Betsy Wetsy competition. So yes, I’m that woman that sneezes into her shirt and spits all over her bra to let that sucker rip! This is my safest bet really. Spit covered cleavage and bra or soaked through underwear and pants? I always vote for spit covered cleavage.
Soon after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis I learned that bladder control was a significant symptom. I think I literally leard my bladder let out a high note. You know, like in the opera? She was rejoicing in a moment of clarity and fruition. It all made sense now! I wasn’t just some wacko that wet herself into her early 30’s. I have not given birth either, so I knew that wasn’t a correlation I could support.
I’m going to get very real with you folks who have taken the risk to read my article and are probably very aware of my lack of filters at this point. Does it suck? Absolutely. Is there anything I can do about it? Nope. But I can prepare myself. Thongs are no longer a part of my underwear collection because they are too tiny to house a well padded panty liner. And that’s ok. I always make sure to have a spare pair of pants or underwear in my car and I’m always stocked up on personal hygiene supplies in my purse. I pee as often as I can and pretty much anytime I see a restroom because if I’m in a situation where there is not one around….I will end up in trouble.
I’ve been in quite a few scenarios where the unthinkable happened and I was sitting in a room full of family or friends when the floodgates were opened. I’ve gotten comfortable enough where I will and have said “don’t make me laugh or I’ll pee”. If you’re close to me and reading this, you I’m sure have heard this several times. And what is it about when you put up to your house and all of sudden you’re going to wet yourself? The whole car ride you didn’t have to go and now as you’re uploading your groceries from your trunk it’s ready to come out of you like a darn pressure washer on full blast? It’s like your bladder knows it’s home and gets ready before you even unlock your door. You’re laughing because you know it’s true. That’s the thing here. If we have all been there at one point, even if you don’t have bladder control issues, then what is the big deal? Why be so full of shame for a normal bodily function and reaction? It’s self destructive in a way really when you think about it. To allow yourself to fault your own body for doing it’s thing. Seems pretty silly doesn’t it? It again goes back to being comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. And we can’t begin this quest without some form of risk. Yes it’s a risk. Yes, in the beginning it’s going to feel strange to laugh at something you once viewed as embarrassing and humiliating. But you have to start asking yourself. Do you want to be free and happy? Or do you want to be sheltered in your own self doubt and judgment?
So how do we do this? We start to view our shortcomings as gifts. Blessings that make us unique and beautiful regardless if they fall into a category that would be identified as “beautiful”. We give ourselves grace and go easy on ourselves. We retrain the way we identify our failures. And when something happens in our life that can be considered “embarrassing” or “shameful” we chalk it up to being human and laugh it off. Why give yourself the authority to allow self judgement to consume your actions? Especially when they are actions that you can’t control. So we make adjustments and we make it work. We buy huge heavy pads or depends even and rock them. You have the mental power and ability to feel cool wearing an adult diaper. It’s all about mindframe and self acceptance. That is honestly how trends start. By someone not being afraid of the possible consequences by stepping outside the box. Taking chances on something that they believe in. We have to reconstruct the stigma that is attached to scenarios such as “peeing yourself”. Let’s think about this for a second. If you took a group of 100 people and 85 of them started praising the fact they wet themselves and making it seem cool and funny don’t you think that the other 15 people on the opposing side would start to wonder what it would be like to join in on the fun? They would be intrigued by this alternative state of mind.
So don’t self shame. We have enough to worry about. Adding self shame into the mix is just putting fuel on a fire we never started to begin with. If you sneeze abruptly and the flood gates are released so what? Grab your extra pair of pants and start over again. We need to learn how to love every aspect of who we are. The good, the bad, the ugly. Love it all. Accept it all. We can’t change it so we might as well get comfortable with it right? Touching back to what is cool and what is not cool. Culture does not define what is cool and what is not cool. The people do. We the people of the disability community hereby state…you’re not cool unless you pee your pants!
“A Hot MS”- Brittany Quiroz
Being diagnosed with a neurological disability at the age of 30 is enough to make anyone climb into a hole, curl up and start burying yourself alive. The initial reaction of shock, fear, grief overwhelms us and we are left frozen. Unsure of where we go next. Just saying “it’s a lot to take in” doesn’t even begin to cover the extense impact this moment has on your life. You are thrown against a wall of reality with emotions that contradict one another almost leaving you in a state of sudden whiplash. So what is your next move?
For Brittany Quiroz now known as “A Hot MS” it was a “fight or flight, do or die” moment, as she says in her lyrics via her motivational music. “My diagnosis was a clear indicator of my purpose relieving itself through pain. I knew it was God’s way of showing me what my path was and that I have the chance to impact others.” says A Hot MS. Having grown up as a Singer-Songwriter Quiroz knew that music would always be a part of her life. Writing music alongside her co-writer and mother Kristen Spath for over 15 years, the message she was meant to convey now was more clear than ever. To motivate. To empower. To strengthen. Quiroz now “A Hot MS” has used her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis to impact the lives of other warriors fighting through chronic illness. She is now sharing her story to widen the lense of perception. “When you change your perception, you change your reality.” says A Hot MS. She strives to encourage her readers and viewers to embrace their disasters just as much as their victories and know it’s ok to be a hot mess or (ms) in this case.
A Hot MS is now working as an advocate for disability and multiple sclerosis, working to establish her career as a motivational speaker and using her original music to focus on motivating others to be empowered and positive regardless of their limitations or struggles in life. She has teamed up with organizations like the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, MS Views and News and The Mighty to share her story and advocate change.
She is on a mission to widen the lense of perception in the world of invisible illness and hopes that her voice can be a voice for change. “When there’s no pretty way of telling your story, tell the truth.” says A Hot MS. Being transparent with zero filters allows her readers to connect and know they are not alone in this fight while bringing some humor and positivity to the table. Her goal is to bring light into the darkness we face. To allow those struggling to use their pain as fuel to keep going. To encourage warriors.
A Hot MS is working to release her Non-Profit organization this year that specializes in the customization of mobility aids at no cost to the client. Giving warriors utilizing mobility aids to have the chance to choose how it reflects their personality and heart. After being able to customize her AFO brace due to the effects of drop foot from Multiple Sclerosis she knew this was a gift she needed to share. Her organization is aiming to be launched by the fall of 2020.
To find out more about A Hot MS please visit www.ahotms.com She can also be found on IG and FB @ahotms