Back when she was in college, Chrissy Metz was aimlessly wandering around a grocery store at 1:00 a.m. when a cute guy buying Oreos made eyes at her.
The good-looking mystery man seemed to follow her around the store, but it wasn’t until the parking lot—where Metz almost hit him with her car as he skateboarded up to her—that he asked for her number. “Grown man on a skateboard. That’s so edgy and cute,” Metz thought to herself. He called, and a few days later they were drinking beer (Metz never drinks beer, FYI) and eating pizza (she’s also lactose intolerant). They went back to his place and were kissing on his bed when he dozed off. That was when Metz felt it: the beer and pizza were going to come out her other end, and quick.
Panic-stricken, Metz snuck out from under his arm only to find the bathroom conveniently located immediately next to his bed. It wasn’t ideal, but it was clear that this poop was waiting for no one. Metz had to improvise, letting it all out a few feet away from her date’s head, flushing intermittently to minimize the stink, and upon realizing there was no soap, using shampoo from his shower as a pseudo-soap/air freshener/poop-stain-remover. Did you just LOL? Because same.
This anecdote is just one of the many relatable moments from Metz’s new book of essays, This Is Me (HarperCollins, $34), out March 27. From landing the role of Kate Pearson in the hit showThis Is Us to how she became friends with Oprah to her painful history with her biological father, Metz bares it all in This Is Me—and the result is a memoir that made me feel like I was having a deep conversation with my best friend well into the night.
I chatted with the 37-year-old This Is Us star about the reality of bowel movements and why women should be honest about going number two, plus the sheer fear that comes with releasing a tell-all book.
First and foremost, what the HECK did you say to your date when you came out of the bathroom?
I said, “I’m going to go.” I started to laugh when I made it to my car because I thought to myself, “I don’t know if I’m ever going to see this guy again. Why do I care so much?!” It’s funny because it’s just so real, but it’s something no one talks about. I remember thinking, “Should I even put this in the book?” and then I realized that people are going to think what they’re going to think about me no matter what. This is a hilarious story—I don’t care who you are.
You write that you vow to “never be the woman” that hides her poop from her husband. Does the chapter “Bathroom Blow-up” speak to your larger belief that women should feel comfortable talking about their bodily functions?
It’s just so funny how we expect women to not do that. God forbid they do the same thing a guy’s body does. I’ve had friends who put the shower or the faucet on when they need to poop. I have friends who have literally told their husbands—their HUSBANDS—to go to the store so they can do it. I’m always like, “Really?! You’re going to make yourself sick?” Then I dated a guy who was a doctor and he made it very normal. Like, it’s a bodily function, chill out. I’m just the same as anyone else and I have stuff to say and things to do! Bye!
Your honesty doesn’t end with the bathroom blunder: you’re super candid throughout the whole book. Is it scary to share such personal stories with the public?
YES. First of all, it’s hard to contend with it on your own and then you’re like, “OK, I guess I’ll share it. I don’t know what’s going to happen. What are people going to say about me?!” What I try to remember is that we’re all the same. We all have something we feel shame or pain about, and the only way I think we can get through that is to know we’re not alone in any of it. We often feel like we’re on our journeys solo and that nobody can relate, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a nerve-wracking thing to expose yourself in such a way, but I think it helped me—and I hope it helps others.
Do you think playing Kate Pearson and portraying the intensely personal storylines on This Is Us has helped prepare you for sharing your own stories?
Yes. I think that portraying a character that’s so vulnerable, from literally baring her body in the pilot episode to baring her soul throughout, has definitely softened the blow. I think it’s also made people more accepting, which in turn has made me more forthcoming with my stories.
Your co-star Justin Hartley (a.k.a. Kevin Pearson) told The View that random people often share intimate deets about their lives with him. Has that ever happened to you?
All the time. I was in a restaurant in New York recently and it was like a comedy sketch. Every person who came out of the bathroom stall recognized me and had a story for me—we all ended up crying in the bathroom. I was gone for 15 minutes in the bathroom having a therapy session. That’s what’s so beautiful about the show. This Is Ushas been instrumental in allowing us—the cast and the viewers alike—to express our feelings, and not feel guilty about them, regardless of whether they’re right or wrong. It has this snowball effect that makes people want to share.
Your character Kate has struggled with speaking up for what she wants and believes in. At the end of your book, you write that “setting boundaries isn’t about being a diva, it’s about self-care.” How did you learn to set boundaries IRL?
Once you understand what you want, you can effectively communicate that, but not from a selfish or bitchy place. It could be as simple as asking for an extra set of napkins. It sounds so trivial, but starting to ask for what you want or need is a process that comes with practice. We have to teach ourselves that we’re worthy of boundaries.
For more on This Is Us:
We Decoded All The S3 Hints This Is Us Dropped in the Finale So You Don’t Have To
This Is Us Shows How Grief Isn’t Something You Just ‘Get Over’
Jack Pearson May Be Dead, But Milo Ventimiglia is Here to Console Us All
The This Is Us Painting Is a Reminder That the Show is About More than Jack’s Death