I peed my pants at school in 8th grade because growing up is hard.
Once, I peed my pants in the hallway at school. I went to a performing arts middle school in Florida. My friend Devin and I were supposed to be running errands for our drama teacher, Mr. Howard, during lunch, but got caught up in pulling silly pranks in the hallway instead.
This wasn’t the first time I had gotten in some sort of trouble during lunch hours.
The first time was also with Devin. She was running for 8th grade Class President and I was helping her make campaign posters in our art teacher, Ms. Waters’ classroom. Ms. Waters was a very nice, soft-spoken lady with shoulder length brown hair. She was quite pretty, without trying. (She actually kind of looks like my present-day gynecologist. One day I’ll bring this up in the stirrups and see how that goes over).
You work up quite an appetite making campaign posters, so when Devin and I wanted to take a lunch break, Ms. Waters asked us to eat in the hallway so we didn’t get food scraps all over everyone’s creations. So we took our little zip-up lunch pouches into the hallway, unwrapped our Uncrustables and took a load off.
Things were going well, until the bane of my middle school existence walked through the doors. Her name was Mrs. Jean Smith, but it might as well have been Maleficent. She was the worst. She was tall, had a haircut that was wider than it was long, and pursed her lips together when she talked, in a way that made it look like she had always JUST finished sucking on a lemon.
“Where are you children supposed to be?” She sternly asked us.
Nothing gives an adult an unnecessary surge of power than saying “You children” in all of their sentences.
“Right here. We’re working on something.” Devin and I quietly (but confidently) answered.
“You children are supposed to be in the cafeteria. It is your lunch time.”
“I’m running for Class President,” Devin said, “We’re working on my posters in Ms. Waters’ room.”
“Not right now. You are supposed to be at lunch. Not eating in the hallway.”
Devin tried her hardest to defend us, but Maleficent wasn’t easily swayed.
“Well then, Destini what are YOU doing in the hallway during your lunch hours?”
She said lunch hours like she was saying “algebra hours.” I wasn’t the kind of kid who sought out trouble, but if I was going to start skipping my class periods, I certainly wouldn’t have started with lunch.
“I’m helping Devin,” I said sheepishly, like the rule-follower that I was.
“Well, it’s Devin’s campaign, so Devin can make her posters herself. You can come with me.”
Maleficent unfairly dragged me away and left Devin in the hallway alone, sans her running mate.
This is the part where I sat in Maleficent’s office like a child-criminal, and she unlocked a filing cabinet that was created specifically for me. In that filing cabinet, held a referral with nothing filled out, except my name. She had tucked this away, after letting me off for a previous infraction, but promised me that she would save it, so that when I slipped up again, it would be there waiting for me.
If my Strike Two was “Skipping Lunch” then my Strike One was the “Baklava Incident.”
My 7th grade geography teacher would always bring our class an item of food, unique to the area of the world we were studying at the time. This time, it was Baklava. Right before the bell rang for the next class period, she divvied up pieces of this foreign pastry to all of us. I was shy, so I patiently waited my turn behind the rest of my classmates, then had to make a mad dash to my next class, in order to get there on time. Right before I walked in the door, I bit into my sweet reward.
DISGUSTING. It was sticky and flaky at the same time, it was heavy…Ok, I don’t really remember what my aversion to Baklava was at the time, I certainly have nothing against it now. I don’t know if it is just an acquired taste or…all I know is that I HATED Baklava. I liked Uncrustables.
My next class was Computers and I asked my teacher, Mrs. Howard, if I could go throw it away. Mrs. Howard was my drama teacher’s wife. She taught us about typing and a little bit of Graphic Design and her class was easy, so I liked it. My friend Kristin and I used to spend our class periods making websites. I don’t know if we really needed to be building our web presence at the age of 12, but there we were. Kristin was really good at building quizzes and changing her background design, and I was determined to use my website as a platform to get the word out to my fellow pre-teens about the important issues. One of my main points of concern was monkeys in space. It was happening, why was no one talking about it?
Mrs. Howard told me I could go, right after she took roll. So I took the Baklava back to my desk and I put it on an Uncrustables wrapper. (I always had at least one Uncrustable on me, should a situation arise).
In walks Mrs. Jean Smith.
She walked in the room, immediately zeroed in on me and, with fire in her eyes, whisked me away so fast that no one would have had the chance to defend me, even if they wanted to.
The whole way to her office, I was angrily lectured on my “truly inconsiderate behavior.” When we got inside, she pulled out a referral and my heart sank. I had never gotten a referral. I had never even been threatened with a referral before. I was the type of kid who would punish myself before an adult had the chance to. I had been known to put myself in time out, secretly pay for the gum my friend stole and confess to things I DIDN’T do just so the conflict could get resolved quicker. It was like I had a sixth sense – I could sniff out potential disappointment and would do anything in my power to prevent it.
If I was a superhero, I would be the lamest superhero ever.
“Here comes Take-the-Blame Girl!
She feels bad for everything, she can cry at the drop of a hat and if a crime is committed, you can pin it on her!”
Maleficent was truly evil. It was bad enough she had an innocent kid in holding, but every time a teacher or admin passed by her office, each with the same look that seemed to say, “What? DESTINI is in trouble?”, Maleficent would say “Destini was EXTREMELY irresponsible today. She was EATING IN the COMPUTER lab.”
Every time she said this, she said it like she had walked in on me smearing the Baklava across all the computer monitors like a crazy person.
I sat there, waiting to be handed my fate. I began defending my honor. I apologized, saying I didn’t mean to offend or disappoint anyone and explained that I truly was just waiting for permission to throw my sticky sweetness away. My voice cracked out of anxiety and fear.
Then, something amazing happened. Maleficent looked at my tiny, terrified body and put her pen down.
She said, “Destini, your name is on this referral now. It is official. I’m going to lock it in this filing cabinet and save it for later. If you make another mistake and have to come back to my office, it will be here. And you WILL be written up. Just keep that in mind.”
“Now, please return to class and dispose of all of your food.”
Thank you Miss Maleficent, that is ALL I wanted to do in the first place.
So, a year after the Baklava incident, and months after narrowly dodging the same referral for the second time (by crying, a skill that I have since, only used on the cops once), I found myself in the same hallway that started it all, with my #1 partner in crime, Devin.
After quite some time of goofing off in the hallway, we had both been reduced to the floor, laughing hysterically. In this moment, you could not have paid me a million dollars to stop laughing, it was impossible. It was one of those painful, my-heart-is-certainly-about-to-explode kind of laughs. And then suddenly, the second worst thing (aside from my heart actually exploding) happened.
I peed my pants.
Right there in the hallway. In front of my best friend.
I went from happy to horrified 8th grader with pee-soaked jeans, in a matter of seconds.
All laughter ceased. WHY HAD MY BODY BETRAYED ME?!
This time, Mrs. Smith was nowhere to be found. I was, in effect, skipping a class, not following the directions my teacher had instructed me with, just laughing and peeing in the hallway like a giant, defiant baby. I prayed to the middle school gods, PLEASE LET MALEFICENT BUST ME NOW. I will gladly take that referral ALL the way back to my house, change my pants and face my maker. (My mom).
All of a sudden, things were serious. (For me at least, Devin still had age-appropriate dry pants on). I slowly got up, took my Aztec-print wool sweater off, and wrapped it around my waist.
I guess Devin could sense the shift in the atmosphere, because she asked me what was wrong.
“Nothing, I….don’t feel well. All of a sudden. I’m sick. I think something is wrong with me….like, internally.”
I walked to the bathroom and stuck a bunch of paper towels down my pants. (Maybe this will look natural?)
I paced back and forth in the bathroom a few times, trying to get used to my gate. (Maybe the other kids won’t notice that I have a bulge in my pants if I have the proper walk down? Maybe the other kids won’t even notice my pants are wet? Maybe it’s true what my mom says – other people really AREN’T thinking about us as much as we think they are).
BULLSHIT. I laughed so hard I wet my pants. My body is broken. EVERYONE on the planet is going to know this happened.
I raced back to my locker, which would have been my pants’ only competition in the “What’s More Disgusting” Contest. My locker had enough supplies in there to feed, clothe and educate a small village. I blindly reached in for a change of clothes.
I pulled out dance pants. Sparkly, black dance pants. Once a week at my school, I had dance class. We wore leotards and flared spandex dance pants. I never cleaned out my locker. Thank you Jesus, my disorganization has saved my reputation!
I kind of worried about what the other kids would think about my choice of outfit, and my decision to change outfits mid-day and rock the leotard/spandex look. It was a fashion faux pax at it’s finest, but peeing your pants will always outweigh any of your questionable wardrobe decisions.
Mrs. Smith might not have been around to get me in trouble for skipping this time, but Take-the-Blame Girl was on it! It had gotten to the point that I was so worried about getting in trouble and disappointing people, that escaping my fate was no longer MY choice. My body just took the reins, without permission, and as the ULTIMATE form of self-punishment, made me urinate on my own person.
Who needs a referral anyway, when you have a body that will try to shit (well, pee) all over your middle school social standing JUST to prove that you really shouldn’t be messing around during your “algebra hours.”