My friend Samantha Irby is not suffering for lack of press, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to get in on the action because she's talented and fascinating and fun. Folks tells the stories of people who won't be defined by their health issues, and so I thought Sam would be a great fit for this, since her Crohn's Disease has been such a big part of her persona and career, yet I hadn't seen any interviews with her that focused on her condition. We had a great time chatting. Here was one part of our interview that got left on the cutting room floor:
I don't think poop is inherently funny but I think sometimes you need to talk about poop for health reasons, yet my husband is squeamish about it. How do you get people to loosen up?
If you're straight up and you don't like making the joke yet you don't seem uncomfortable, that frees up other people. There's so much shame tied into this totally natural thing. I try to let people know that I am an okay person to admit that you poop to. There are some people who have no problem [pooping]--that's not me. If I'm in a public bathroom, I have to put headphones and play music so I don't hear myself. I would never force people who are shy about it to talk about it, but I also don't want to be held prisoner by their shyness. I'm going to say something and try to be as blunt as I can.
I wrote this almost as therapy to get past my fascination/envy of women who opt to stay at home while their partners work. I know, as a rational human being, that their lives are not easier or more fun than mine just because the money they spend comes from their partner's dayjobs but I sorta needed to get to the bottom of it journalistically as opposed to just yelling at myself to get some perspective. I was grateful that one woman in particular was willing to speak to me because her and her husband's budget is much higher than most people I spoke with (and most people I know). She was willing not only to talk about her designer purse habit but also volunteered that she thinks she shops to counteract loneliness at times. Anyway, being a human is sometimes hard, even for those of us with very few actual problems.
This is another one where I needed to sort out some sort of dumb feelings of mine. I am not a big crier and never have been, but sometimes that manifests itself into a sense of lack of empathy for moms who are -- because I internalize it and think deep down that I just must be quite a robotic, cold woman and these moms love their kids more. I think that maybe in in five years I'm going to have one big epic cry that is going to bring the house down.