the sh*t in the sink

i don’t even know what i was doing last january… the most present i have been in a long time has been these last five months,






i washed a lot of dishes.

blackened food charred onto pans. pasta sauce stained tupperware. spoons with cold, wet, peanut butter, still stuck on from [someone’s] smoothie, two days ago.

i didn’t have to become the housekeeper of my apartment,
but i did.

i could have let everything rot,
left the ripe onion and cilantro containers to fester unknown smells in the sink,
but i didn’t.

between searches and praying and all my unemployed downtime, i washed the dishes, something i never dreamed of doing while i was still in college, but found great comfort in, after.

it was hard at first, of course it would be. my hands flakey and red after the first time i took on the ceramic-metal mountain of mugs and bowls and silverware – an hour of standing at the sink, all alone in an empty apartment, legs beginning to sore, shoulders tense.

i came back from a six-week fantasy land of unquestioned collaboration, ultra-focused attention and immediate care.

post-grad life is not like that.
it is lonely, almost immediately.

especially if you need a job.
and i especially did.

i used to start by doing the utensils. the spoons always seemed to be gone. the thought was that i would stop there, but it would lead into the bowls – they’re never there when you need one.
and slowly, but strongly, the voice inside my head telling me i never finished anything ever was taunting me, and i would fall down the rabbit hole and typhoon my way through the double sink stack of plates, pots, pans, spatulas, knives, cups, mugs – everything —
and everything would be done before noon,
and i would be satisfied, because i had complete something, that day.

and then by 1pm, i would spiral down deeper still, with nothing else to do but find a semi-related job title to ‘i have a b.a. in film’

i had a meltdown.

and i used the soap in the big bottle to clean it up.

things got easier, or maybe i just got more used to the way they were. my hands became more raw and dry, the santa ana winds encouraging the shallow cracks in my hands to get deeper still.

‘try and get a job that uses your degree’

i went to the sink and washed the coffee pot.

when it’s been left out all night, it’s a lot more difficult to clean. crock pots, you have to let soak for a while.

i ended up finding a way to fill my days with small jobs, babysitting and some freelance jobs, but nothing that would actually be able to support me.

i had nothing to show for graduating four months earlier, except saying i was on a, “mini sabbatical, because i’ll never have time like this again”

and then one day, there was only tupperware left. and instead of doing it, i left it. i discovered during my washing that it was the most frustrating thing in the world to wash, and that i didn’t have to do that to myself, anymore.

and in between getting lost on youtube and avoiding the daily emails indeed was sending me, something was stirring below it all, something that would help me dig myself out of this rabbit hole:

a job.


this story is ongoing. ms case’s substitute teaching permit for lbusd has nearly finished processing, and should be done, in fact, by the end of january. she is so excited, and the thought of having a job so soon, and something other than the dishes to do all day is such a relief.

she wishes to thank everyone who helped her and heard her and saw her during this downtime, it was real hard, and you made it so much better.


4 thoughts on “the sh*t in the sink

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