I joined the Girl Scouts in first grade. A handful of girls in my class were part of a Brownie troop that met at our elementary school in Northeast Portland.
Meticulous and anal retentive since birth, I enjoyed the structured activities, progressive badge earning and, most importantly, the uniform. I selected a fine ensemble of chocolate high-waisted shorts, a blue collared shirt with floral vest and knee-high socks with coordinating blue tassels: I embodied the pinnacle of 1990s Girl Scout fashion.
I was always excited for meetings because it meant I got to wear my uniform to school since we met in the music room after classes had concluded. I felt on top of the world on those days – strutting around the playground with an unearned sense of confidence and authority, taking care not to dirty my Brownie duds.
I looked good and I knew it.
Alas, the dream didn’t last long. After the first year, one of the moms went on a power trip and instigated a hostile takeover of the troop. Scouts wasn’t fun anymore after she became troop leader; all she cared about were cookie sales and making sure her kid sold more than anyone else. And naturally all the other moms hated her. Pretty soon, we all dropped off one by one until there was no one left and the troop was disbanded. My precious uniform moved to the back of the closet and my scouting days were done for good.
I may have only been a Brownie for a year, but I never forgot the Girl Scouts’ motto: “Be Prepared”. This modicum proved instrumental when I started having health problems, particularly when I was still working. I never know when I’m going to flare up or where, so I always carry these essentials whenever I leave the house:
1. Anti-Nausea medication
2. Anti-Cramping medication (i.e. Levbid)
3. A Luna bar or a bag of Rice Chex or Pretzels
4. Maxi Pads
5. Flushable Wet Wipes (or as my husband calls them “Butt Wipes”)
6. A spare pair of underwear (mercifully, I’ve never had to use them, but I’ve had several close calls – nothing is more terrifying or humbling than knowing that as a full grown adult, there’s a real possibility of having an accident in a public place)
I never know how bad a flare might be or if it will take me by surprise, but thanks to the Girl Scouts of America I will always be prepared.
All the essentials, AKA, my “Go Kit”