On December 4th, I was booked to speak on a panel at the Walkley Foundation’s 2014 Storyology Summit. This invitation came after I spent days creating my auction tape which you can watch here:
According to their website: “Storyology is a four-day festival that brings together journalists, screenwriters, authors, satirists, entrepreneurs, multimedia gurus, documentary-makers, photographers, producers and bloggers in a space to inspire, foster collaborations, and encourage experimentation and bold ideas.”
I was beyond thrilled to be included!!! You have no idea. After years of working on my own personal brand as an author, I felt like I had truly arrived when I saw my name listed in the program. Little did I know, I would never make it…
The day before I was due to drive the 3.5 hours to Sydney to speak, I started to feel sick. My stomach was on fire and my energy levels were low. Luckily, my mom, Donna, was visiting from the US and was able to take care of my 14 month old baby, Daisy, while I wallowed in self-pity and re-runs of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. (So much for prepping.)
I tried to rest and get a good night’s sleep, but woke up in an even worse state. I was vomiting and feeling like someone had made me binge on tequila and toxic waste for the past 24 hours. Determined to make my appearance, I put on some makeup, tried to tame the wild beast I call my hair and packed up my car. I just needed to get to Sydney, last through a 50 minute discussion and then drive straight home where I could collapse into the arms of E! reality shows while my body fought off whatever was happening.
About an hour and a half into my trip, I felt something that no grown woman should ever feel while driving. Burning hot diarrhea was pouring out of my anus and onto my leather car seat. Seeing as I live in rural Australia, I knew that there was no gas station in my near future. I had no choice but to pull over on the side of the road. I walked to the passenger side of my car and opened the front and back doors to make a shield, I pulled off my Spandex leggings (thank goodness I wasn’t in my panel outfit) and looked for the baby wipes. I mean, I’m a mom, I should have wipes in my car, right? NOPE. NOT A SINGLE MOIST TOWELETTE. All I could find was a pack of tissues, paper towels and some hand sanitiser. As I wiped the poop off of my thighs, my stomach bubbled and churned like chilli on a hot stove. Then POW! Three mucus covered balls of poop shot out of me and found graves on the side of the road, followed by more toxic sludge. Cars zoomed past, but I couldn’t care.
I cleaned myself up the best that I could, but let’s be honest – only a long hot shower can get that poop smell off of you. I put on my panel outfit and picked up my phone to call my contact at Storyology. Of course, there was no service. After dousing my car in Purell, I drove a little further to a town and finally got a bar. The only thing I could say when the Stroyology organiser answered the phone was that I had pooped myself, the road and needed to go home and shower and that I was really, really sorry. They totally understood. They actually said, “Well hey – one for your next book!” (So positive of them!)
As I pulled back onto the road and headed for home, I put on James Taylor’s Fire & Rain, because I felt like that was appropriate. I cried for a while, but mostly wore a vacant frown and felt defeated. Eventually my iPod shuffled through some more songs… Adele, Calvin Harris. It was very random. But then something happened that would most likely win an Oscar for Best Score. Britney Spear’s Toxic came on. The shrill intro was in perfect timing with my bowels. Oh crap. Oh crap. Without any control, my anus completely weakened and I was again, sitting in my own diarrhea. In my panel outfit. Mother F.
With an hour left to drive, I powered through. I didn’t have any clothes left and wasn’t about to ride naked. When I got home. I slowly walked inside which surprised my mom. I told her what happened. She laughed, but then offered a hug. I gave her my poop clothes and got in the shower. I proceeded to continue having the worst gastro EVER. A few days later, when I finally felt better and stopped destroying underwear, I was greeted with a Urinary Tract Infection and Thrush.
Even though I didn’t get to attend Storyology, I did get something out of it. A story – a story that reminds me (and now the Internet) just how gross humans are. It was a lesson that made me laugh at myself because honestly, there is no way to get over public humiliation without laughter. Here’s to pooping and laughing!
(Image via here.)