I couldn’t get out of bed on some days. I had no energy or motivation and was barely getting by.
Even therapy seemed like too much effort. I had been going every week, and on one particular day, I didn’t have much to “bring” to the session. My therapist asked how my week was going, and I really had nothing to say.
“What are you struggling with?” he asked.
I gestured around me and said, “I dunno, man. Life.”
Not satisfied with my answer, he said, “No, what exactly are you worried about right now? What feels overwhelming? When you go home today, what issue will be staring at you?”
I wanted to give him an answer that was substantial, something that seemed worthy of struggle. But instead, I told him the truth.
“Honestly?” I said. “The dishes. It’s stupid, I know, but the more I look at them, the more I can’t do them because I’ll have to scrub them before I put them in the dishwasher, because my dishwasher sucks, and I just can’t stand to scrub the dishes.”
I felt like an idiot just saying it out loud. What kind of grown-ass adult is undone by a stack of dishes? There are people out there with actual problems, and I’m whining to my therapist about a basic household chore?
And yet my therapist nodded in understanding. And then he shared his advice:
“Run the dishwasher twice.”
Huh? I began to tell him you’re not supposed to do that, but he immediately stopped me.
“Why the hell aren’t you supposed to? If you don’t want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist.”
His words blew my mind in a way that I don’t think I can properly express.
That day, I went home and tossed my smelly dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher and ran it three times. I felt like I had conquered a dragon.
The next day, I took a shower lying down.
A few days later, I folded my laundry and put my clothes wherever the fuck they fit. As I reveled in my newfound freedom, I stopped seeing each day as a series of arbitrary rules to follow. Eventually, I felt free enough to set goals again, on my own terms.
Now that I’m in a much healthier place, I rinse off my dishes and place them in the dishwasher properly. I shower standing up. I sort my laundry.
But at a time when living was a struggle instead of a blessing, I learned an incredibly important lesson:
While he was gone, a random drunk guy came up to me and would NOT leave me alone. He kept trying to grind on me and talk to me, despite me giving clear signals that I was uncomfortable. I asked him to leave me alone, but it was so loud in there that he either didn’t hear me telling him off, or he was ignoring what I was saying.
My uneasiness was obvious enough that other people were starting to look over at us, wondering if they should step in.
After what felt like an eternity, my boyfriend came out of the bathroom and took in the situation I was in. I could see anger starting to work it’s way up and then, suddenly, he smirked.
As I watched, my boyfriend calmly walked over, looked at the guy harassing me, and started grinding on him.
The drunk man was completely flustered and kept trying to back away but my boyfriend kept cornering him and talking to him and grinding up against him.
Finally he stopped the onslaught and said “Not so fun when someone doesn’t take a hint, huh?”