Jul 29, 2015 by Janet Zinn, in Acceptance , Beingness , Body Acceptance , Change , Digestion , Farting , Flaws , mindfulness , Positive Body Image
Fart was a curse word growing up in our household. If I “passed gas,” the only acceptable phrase I could utter, I was in a lot of trouble. I was banished from the scene and, best-case scenario, I could come back once I had gone to the bathroom and washed my hands. My mother would yell, “Go to the Bathroom!” It never made sense to me because once I had expelled my gas I was done. But as far as she was concerned it was only an introduction to a much dirtier deed.
So imagine my surprise when I would go to my friends’ homes and they would laugh, or make an off-handed comment should someone fart. It was not a big deal, and they acted like it was the most natural thing. I didn’t dare fart in public believing I’d be perceived as uncouth and socially immoral. As a very young child I thought my mother was an authority on manners. And, it was my job to exemplify her fine status, learning to say please and thank you even under duress.
[caption id="attachment_360" align="alignnone" width="300"] 'Was that you?'[/caption]
There was one time in particular when I simply mortified my mother. She was an avid tennis player and had a group of friends at the tennis club. I came with her at the age of 10 to sit and watch because I was off from school due to a professional development day, even though we called it a school day for teachers in 1970.
[caption id="attachment_361" align="alignnone" width="255"] Bad moments in skiing.[/caption]
“Janet, this is my friend Mrs. Stein.”
My mother said in her formal yet genteel tone. I was facing a fit woman about my mother’s age of 32 with dark full hair and what looked to be an expensive white and yellow tennis outfit.
“It’s so nice to meet you.” I said in my most polite voice.
I smiled and surprisingly expelled a slightly squeaky fart. It totally snuck up on me. I turned a shade of pink, while my mother turned beet red.
“Janet!!!” She said in horror.
Mrs. Stein had a closed lipped sneer. Two peas in a pod.
“Pardon me. I’m so sorry,” I said meekly.
I knew I would get in more trouble later. But my mother quickly left the offending area to play another match with Mrs. Stein.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant that I fully embraced the intelligence of my body. I couldn't contain all the gas. Thanks to those 10 months, farting is no longer an off topic. And, I’m happy to say that, though I am not the ladylike woman my mother hoped to raise, I am more at ease with the ways and means of my digestive system. What once was forbidden is now an affirmation of a working body.