Bathroom time is sacred time. The bathroom is my favorite room in my home. I always saw the bathroom as a place for privacy and renewal…until I stumbled upon a boutique hotel in Montreal, Canada during my first pandemic trip with my new boyfriend. This trendy hotel featured a bathroom made entirely of glass walls, making every movement visible across the entire room. My boyfriend joked that we could turn over in bed and see each other doing our personal business. My mind immediately cried for the simple grace of privacy! We had only been dating for a few months, so the idea of using the bathroom in front of my significant other seemed all too soon and far too exposed.
We spent the next few minutes brainstorming how we could create a barrier to a room that typically comes with walls and a solid door. After several failed makeshift covers, we resolved to accept the open surroundings, which ultimately helped us gain more comfort and vulnerability than I could have ever imagined in a 24-hour span.
For me, the bathroom is symbolic of a lot more than basic human functioning. The bathroom is my retreat for when I am most vulnerable. Since a young age, I hid behind the locked doors of the bathroom to soak in all of my “unclean” emotions. I would let my tears drip down the drain like the water from my shower.
For me, the bathroom is symbolic of a lot more than basic human functioning.
There are many hidden rules in relationships, and this glass bathroom shattered all of the ones I clung to as a result of my fears of intimacy. But after being put into this potentially awkward situation with my partner, a remarkable unraveling happened inside of me.
I smiled, laughed, let go and opened myself up to the funny experience of being seen. I let him see all of the pain, shadows, and ugliness that I typically cleansed, hid, and flushed away down the bathroom drain.
Then, we saw each other as though we were made of those same glass walls. Being physically open helped us open up emotionally, and we were able to let our own walls down. Seeing each other without barriers somehow allowed both of us to let each other hear “I love you” more fully.
It’s strange how someone can see you so differently than the way you see yourself.
This bizarre bathroom made me feel more visible than I ever have been—and it helped me realize there was somebody in love with the person behind the glass. It’s strange how someone can see you so differently than the way you see yourself. Those we love are reflections of ourselves: they are the mirrors of our unconditional care, positive regard and kindness. They provide us with a window into seeing our own inner light that is so easy to love.
It took a semi-awkward restroom situation for my partner and I to open up and really see each other. Now, I’m more grateful than ever for booking that hotel for our very first trip. These days, when I look in the bathroom mirror, I see a person who is loved, and I offer my reflection the same love I give my partner and others.