People like traveling with me because I’m very laid back and adaptable. I can be as happy staying in a fancy hotel (I get unreasonably excited if there are more than two TVs in the room and at least one of them is in the bathroom) as I am staying in a cheap motel as I am sleeping on the forest floor under the stars as I am camping out on a near-stranger’s floor in the middle of a city I’ve never been to. I can navigate a very wide range of social situations, I can pack like a man, and I can get as sweaty as anyone else while hooking up a trailer to the back of a truck. So I’m popular with travelers because I appear to be not needy at all.
The truth is that I can take care of my own needs, and when I can’t, first I try to suck it up and push forward anyway before I will finally ask for help. I hate holding up group plans by needing something weird, like a trip back to my hotel room for a bottle of insulin, or something with sugar in it to treat a low blood sugar which may require half an hour out of everyone’s way to find me a soft drink. I try to plan for everything, but inevitably something weird and 99% diabetes related will happen that I can’t plan for.
Lately, too, in my healing but still weakened mental health state, my needs have increased. I am traveling right now, and my usual laid back, adaptable self has been replaced with some kind of high maintenance needy woman that I never wanted to be. Outwardly I am still flexible, but my inner monologue has kicked it up about ten notches. “How am I supposed to sleep with only ONE pillow? I can’t find ANYTHING, who packed this backpack? Whyyyyyyyyy can’t we be there yet?!”
Outwardly I’m like, “We’re not stopping for 4 hours? Cool.”
We stayed the night with my boyfriend’s family last night. Granted I had met them before, so there was no first impression pressure, but we had also been driving for about twenty four hours and we were all exhausted and cranky. Also, I was on my period, which will become relevant soon.
We ate dinner with the family, watched a little TV, caught up a little, then a few of us excused ourselves to go to bed early. My boyfriend and I and our two dogs were staying in one of the kids’ rooms on a twin bed and a twin trundle bed on the floor. I was so tired and cranky that I laid down and cried because I had to poop and I didn’t want to poop in someone else’s house. (high maintenance)
I was also terrified to go to bed because I was on my period and didn’t want to bleed on a kid’s bed sheets. I decided to delay the pooping and change my insulin pump, which involves needles but very rarely involves bleeding. I changed the pump and realized I was bleeding, which only happens once out of every 30 or so times I change it. And I bled a lot. Right onto the kid sheets. Right where my ass would be if I was laying down. I was terrified for the wrong blood. But now so what, the worst has already happened, I can sleep sound.
Until I pooped in the kids’ bathroom and clogged the toilet. And the 12 year old had to bring me a plunger with a look on his face that said, “I know what you did and it’s gross and I don’t want to talk to you ever again.” Or maybe I’m reading into that. But I spent several minutes unclogging the toilet and sobbing a little to myself until I came out of the bathroom and made a poop joke, laughed, and went to bed still sobbing a little.
I know how to suck it up. On a road trip there’s not much choice but to endure and do the best you can. Sometimes I have to admit that I have needs, and sometimes I have to change other people’s plans to get those needs met. Always I have to be okay with that because what’s the alternative? Making myself miserable stewing over it while everyone else has moved on.
We finally arrived at our destination, and I can breathe a little bit. The toilets I clog from now on will be our own. And even though there’s still only one pillow for me to sleep on, the ocean is about 500 feet from where I’m sitting, so no matter what, everything is going to be okay.
Now I’m going to go take a fucking shower.