A Poem: Today I did the dishes


Which usually means I share a book review or something about what I’m reading.

Today is a little different.

I’m not even 1/3 of the way through Sword of Shannara, which I’m reading, and I’m laughably behind in Jon Tyson’s The Burden is Light. Someday, I’ll get through those and you’ll see them up here.

Today, though, I want to share something a little different with you. I’ve recently discovered that I struggle with anxiety and it’s been pretty rough some days trying to wrap my brain around it and discern what is and what isn’t anxiety and how to cope.

It’s been an okay day today, but still, I struggled. And as much as I wanted to run away from my kitchen, I didn’t (full disclosure, I got the image from Pixabay, this is NOT my kitchen, mine was much worse!). I fought back and as I did, the first lines of this poem came to my head. Once I finished the dishes, I wrote this out.

It’s been made very clear to me recently that I am a writer and as a writer, I have power. I have the power of words, of sharing, of voicing the things that boil around inside me so that others know that what boils around inside them isn’t just them. Life is hard and it can be lonely, so as a writer, I need to speak up and shout to others that they are not alone.

We’re all in this together.

Today I did the dishes

Today I did the dishes
As an act of defiance
Against anxiety
That is always trying to silence me
That voice that says I’ll never do enough
In order to be enough
But I say I already am enough
And I don’t need to prove it

Whether my laundry sits in baskets
And my dishes clutter my sink
And toys litter my house
And none of my projects ever are finished
Doesn’t mean I’m not valuable

Just because I struggle to hide
The feelings that arise inside
And flounder under the voice’s tidal wave
Of noise and unworthiness
Doesn’t mean I have to give up

Instead I need to get up
And do my best to muscle up
So I can pretend to be feeling up
To the tasks that keep on mounting up
So the voices and feelings will keep shutting up
And I can find the strength and bravery to be putting up
The best defense I can

So today I did the dishes

I walked into the kitchen
Sink and counter piled high
With the remnants of the caring for my family
All I could think was ‘I failed again’
Because my counters aren’t clean?

We do this together as family
I loaded up the dishwasher while all the kids are sleeping
So that when they wake up
We can put them away together

You see, anxiety?
You can’t have the best of me
Because while the little ones are napping
And I feel you at my heels, always yapping
I have a choice.

I can listen to you
Or not.

So today I did the dishes
As an act of defiance
Against anxiety
That is always trying to silence me


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4 thoughts on “A Poem: Today I did the dishes

  1. This was as awesome poem. I don’t have anxiety so I don’t know what’s like, except when I see it in my daughter. And she has methods of dealing with it that I taught her years ago. But, and you may choose to believe this or not (because most people don’t), I like doing the dishes. I often do them right away after dirtying them. But if I am going to write that day I leave them. If I lose focus in my writing doing the dishes helps. I don’t know what it is but if focuses me. Maybe the sound of running water or the rhythm you get into when washing them, I don’t really know. But usually when I am done I feel reset and can usually sit back down and just write. -Robert


    1. There is a certain calmness that comes with doing dishes, so I totally get that. More power to you, I say!

      It’s therapeutic to see clean counters and it’s certainly easier to focus on writing after accomplishing something. Just one less thing weighing on our mind.

      Thank you for the encouragement. Anxiety for me is like a state of questioning things faster than I can process. And feeling bad that I can’t process faster or better. With a side of a stomach knot. And feeling like an idiot.

      It’s not ever present and part of my job now is figuring out what’s what, how to classify feelings, and how to move forward from them. Not easy, but I’m not alone. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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