My Name Is Emma, And I Don’t Have A Butthole

Thoughts on 2016, I guess.
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This post originally appeared on Medium.com.

By all accounts, 2016 is a bad year. The world is falling apart, from the threat of political turmoil in the U.S. to the even more acute threat of Britain exiting the European Union for good. Oh, and ISIS is still here. 2016 will exist in the annals of history as the year the world lost its collective shit.

But where there is darkness, there is light. Where there is despair, hope. 2016 is a big ol’ garbage fire, but we also have people who can survive without a butthole. What a time to be alive.

Full disclosure: I am one of the people who can live without a butthole. I mean, if this where 1916 I’d probably be dead by now. But I’m not. Because I don’t have a butthole.

But Emma, you may be thinking. Don’t you poop?

Of course I poop. Everyone poops. Even the blessed few without sphincters. Actually, I poop constantly. Like, if I stop pooping that’s usually a sign I have to go to the emergency room (and usually happens when I drink too much coffee because as you’ll find out, I have the body of an octogenarian).

I poop into a pouch that is stuck to my abdomen. Of course, it’s not entirely poop because IBD is complicated like that, but for the purposes of this article, it’s poop. It also gives me the best excuse to never have abs of steel.

Because of my Crohn’s disease, I have a strange relationship with pooping. It was once a one-sided relationship where I was giving everything and got nothing in return. Now, it’s more of a compromise. We both had to change for us to live happily together.

Though, some changed more than others.

When I was 13, my bathroom habits stopped becoming my own. What is seen as someone’s private business was suddenly everyone’s business. My family’s, my team of doctors’, even my mom’s friends’. It was like the world began and ended with what my poop looked like that day (or at least, that’s how my ego-driven teenaged self saw it).

At first, my life revolving around poop was a fate worse than death. Somewhere down the line — probably when every detail of your bowel movements are posted outside your hospital room for everyone to read — you stop caring and embrace the Poop Life™.

Nobody chooses the Poop Life™. It’s a secret society that you’re admitted to the day you prep for your first colonoscopy. But it shapes you, molds you. Affects your life in ways you can’t imagine.

I find poop stains in the weirdest places. My shirt. My legs. My underwear, but not in the obvious, butt-part.

I can analyze my poop with absolute precision. I know when it’s blood, and when I just had beets in my salad. I know how much iron I have in my body, because I’ll find a half-dissolved pill in my stool. I am the family poop authority.

My iPhone now autocorrects “but” to “butthole” because I use that word with alarming frequency. Usually when I’m talking about my impending butthole removal surgery, or my more recent lack of one. Oddly enough, lack of butthole leads to butthole phantom pains.

You’ve probably heard of the phantom pain phenomena, like when a guy loses an arm but feels an itch where his arm used to be. Phantom butthole pains are exactly what you think they are. Feeling like you have to poop, but there is no poop. There is never poop.

As an aside, I really hope the IT desk at work doesn’t do a random internet history search. I don’t really feel like explaining why I had to Google “phantom butt” when I should have been emailing the claims department.

Poop Life has some benefits. You’re probably going to kill it at the next comedy open mic you go to. People find butts funny. Throw in a moderately sexy butthole-less lady — you’re a damn unicorn. Suddenly, it’s okay to have Crohn’s. People will get it — and if they don’t? Screw them.

You have an endless barrage of anal jokes. Use them wisely.

I’m still getting used to butthole-less living. I mean, Poop Life I can handle. The Barbie Butt Life, as it’s affectionately known as, is something entirely new.

For now, I’m enjoying my rare status. I’m a medical miracle. It’s 2016 baby, and I’m alive.

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