5 Ways to Embrace the Suck: Number 1

Everyone experiences a bit of the suck throughout life. Although, I know I haven’t faced more tough times than others, ten years in the Army and two deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, introduced me to a whole new level of physical and emotional poundings, not usually presented to the general public.

If there’s anything I’ve learned more valuable than the importance of wearing a reflective belt (they stop trains don’t cha’ know), it’s that you have to find a way to get through the shit storm. There is no option of quitting and saying, “I’m done, going home.”

The following is the first tip on embracing the suck. It most likely won’t give you the strength to become a Navy Seal or anything, but I’d bet, using it may just give you the push you need to deal with screaming spawns of Satan that are toddlers, deal with long lines at the BMV, or wash those dishes at the end of the day, while keeping your sanity.

1.) When it’s over, you’ll appreciate awesome things more than ever

In any military setting, using the bathroom is pretty much not going to be enjoyable. There are only a few scenarios you’re going to encounter.

Porta Potties are aplenty. The blue water splashes up on your butt when a turd drops too fast and too furious. Sometimes though, you get to read pure poetry about Chuck Norris on the plastic walls.

porta potty

Did you know, Chuck Norris can leave a message BEFORE the beep?


Once, I opened the door to a porta potty, and it looked like someone had basically taken a tampon by it’s string and spun it around like a helicopter, either that or someone died, I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. Lots of times though, people just forego pooping inside the actual bowl and just go on the floor. Yep, I’ve stepped in human poop before.

Other times, the bathrooms are trailers that usually overflow. It’s kind of a game, I think in the military to see how much shit one can get in the toilet before it backs up.

Sometimes, you’re taking a deuce with no stalls at all, just a bunch of toilet bowls lined up in a row. I like to lock eyes with people right as I’m going, I imagine it’s how my dog feels when I watch him.

Yep, this is a thing
Yep, this is a thing


Worst case scenario, there are no bathroom facilities.

As with any other crappy (no pun intended) situation, you’ve got to get over it. I do this by imagining my dream bathroom. It’s so big, you could host Thanksgiving dinner for 10. It has heated floors and an unlimited supply of toilet paper. I imagine it smells like unicorn pheromones.

In 2011, I was attached to a Marine unit as a public affairs specialist in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

It wasn’t a particularly dangerous gig. That day, it was to be a simple patrol, followed by a meeting with elders of the area. We had to sit in our trucks for a few hours, waiting for the meet up time.

This was exciting as the mission got that day
This was as exciting as the mission got that day


Then the thing happened, that always happens when I’m in a position where there are no bathrooms in sight. I had to pee.

I continued to sit in the truck, ate pop tarts, watched camels fight and tried to hold it for as long as possible. Eventually, one of the Marines stepped out of the vehicle to do his business so I figured that was as good a time as any to go. It was in the middle of nowhere.

The fight is about to start here
The fight is about to start here


I sidled myself slightly under the vehicle, between the huge tires that were almost as tall as I was. All I could see was flatness and sand. The sun beat down on me and I thought, “Oh well, vag, smag,” I didn’t care if anyone saw.

Luckily, two of the Marines offered to kneel in front of me, facing out, pulling security, while I went.

“Holy shit,” I thought to myself.

I had my own personal armed guards; watching over me while I urinated in the desert. Take that Taliban.

I let loose and sighed a breath of relief, holding my pants as far away from the stream as possible. A thousand squats couldn’t have prepared me for how long I was going to be in that position. This was the piss of all pisses. There was radio traffic here and there, nothing really going on as I went for roughly five minutes straight, legs shaking.

I'm getting one of these next deployment...proper planning people
I’m getting one of these next deployment…proper planning people

At one point, the pen in my shirt pocket fell out and landed between my feet. “Welp, that’s a field loss,” I thought to myself, as I got urine all over the pen.

Mid stream, I heard over the radio we needed to get back in our trucks…right then… at that exact moment. The situation had changed, to where it wasn’t safe to be outside of our vehicle anymore.

“Come on, let’s go, slice it off,” one of the Marines said.

“But I can’t stop going,” I said desperately.

I clenched my teeth and willed my bladder to hold the fuck on. Finally, I managed to stop peeing and yanked my pants up, not even bothering to tuck my shirt in because my vest was in the way, all the while terrified this would be how I was remembered if the terrorists decided to blow us up at that moment, pants down around my ankles all up on Youtube.

I climbed back in the truck and waited for further guidance.

Then, the last Marine got in the truck and turned to me. He was holding my pen up to my face.

“You dropped this,” he said.

“Yew, thanks, I don’t want it,” I said shaking my head. I then watched him put it in his own pocket. Hopefully, he didn’t have the habit of chewing on pens.

Since then, my personal record for consecutive waking hours of holding my urine is twelve.

Compared to bathrooms in the military, my toilet at home, is a shining beacon of laser light that symbolizes freedom. Freedom, I tell you!

When I’m pissed off about peeing down the side of a mountain, or I’ve pissed all over my boots because I didn’t angle right, I just think to myself, “Soon, soon I will be able to walk five feet from my bedroom to my bathroom.”

I will shuffle in the middle of the night, in the dark, to the commode and be back in my bed before I fully wake up. I shall wear no pants, no shoes and it will be glorious.

Just knowing, I will be able to piss in peace eventually, always keeps me going. So, just remember, when you’re faced with a sucky situation, the little pleasures in life, will feel all the more wonderful once you grasp them again.

This especially will be worth it all
This especially will be worth it all







One Comment

  1. Kanda Handa

    I have heard so many things here. The tears just flow. People including me have no idea what you have been through in your life and what a soldier goes through every day of their life when serving our country. And you see people disrespect our flag and disrespect our military hurts me deeply. Walk in a military person’s life for one day and then you will really know what a hard life is and what they sacrifice every day hour by hour for us and there’s people out there that just don’t give a shit. And the co-workers complain because they have to leave their jobs and leave people shorthanded at work. Those people should take just a few minutes to think of what that other person is going through and sacrificing for you. When you’re at work do you have to hold going to the bathroom for over eight hours let alone 12 hours that they work and have to hold off going to the bathroom for hrs n no sleep or days off n work hour after hour. I can’t explain how grateful I am for each and everyone of our military personnel. I would love to stand in the line and shake every military person’s hand that we have in the United States if it took me days to do it I would do it if I could and let them know how much I appreciate each and everyone of them and would ask their name.

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