Feminist Learned From Her Dishwasher

22 Nov, 2020

I’ve been on a path of healing for a long time. I mentioned in a previous post that I have been actively engaged in trauma treatment for several years. Heading into my 7th in January. My healing is framed in the context of treating Complex PTSD. C-PTSD is not an official diagnosis listed in the DSM-V which is the tool that is used to diagnose mental health disorders. I have attended my treatment with the same attitude that I take on most challenges in my life with a “go big or go home” attitude. Sometimes that attitude works in my favor and other times it doesn’t. What I can tell you is that investing in myself, my wellness and my healing has been the best decision I have ever made. I am aware that treatment for trauma and affordability is a privilege and one that I practice active gratitude for daily.

The healing that I have been able to do thus far has really opened my ability to think critically about various situations that present in my life. I have also noticed for myself that I am WAY more metaphorical than I ever thought I could be.  I have learned that my journey to healing is not linear. 
 Now I think about my healing in layers. Sometimes my therapist will plant seeds in my mind to think about later and they will grow at the most random of times in the most random of situations.  Here is today’s example below.

My dishwasher is about 2 years old. It’s out of warranty but consistently gives me an error code. The dishwasher and I have been on quite the journey together. The problems I had with it started before the warranty ran out. I had it serviced under warranty a couple of times but ultimately the newest issue is not covered. When the error code comes on the dishwasher will not work it will only beep at me (taunting me I sometimes think).  Financially our family is going through a transitional period as I am home with my kids while they learn online. Paying for a service tech for the dishwasher is way low on my priority list. Every month or so my dishwasher will give an error code. It is always at the worst time when there are tons of dishes and makes my blood boil every.damn.time.  I’ve done extensive research on what is causing the code ( I use research via google to cope with many feelings in my life and I think I am somewhat of an expert).

The code means is a leak or water pooling which could be  in a pipe and causes the complete shutdown of all dishwashing activities. Typically my response is to flick the breakers 100x’s, turn the dishwasher on and off 20 times, attempt to get every bit of water soaked up that is in the drain and the bottom of the dishwasher and ultimately spend the next 4 days cursing the damn dishwasher every time I walk by it or while I am hand washing the dishes (another privilege I know). After 4 days the dishwasher will magically start to work again and all is forgotten until the next time it goes down.

Yesterday, was my daughter’s 14th birthday party. She had  a couple of close friends come and stay the night. This meant  dishes for 7  humans instead of four. Naturally under murphy’s law, the dishwasher went down as I loaded the first pile of dirty dishes in.

However, this time I tried something different. I tried 1 time to reset the dishwasher by pushing the power button, then I emptied all the dishes and I left the door open just a little bit to let air in and  maybe dry it up.

Ultimately, I chose not to go into overdrive and chose not to invest so much time and energy into it. I felt the annoyance  come up, acknowledged it and chose to respond differently. I even  thought about if the dishwasher was something that I wanted to financially prioritize in the coming months. I chose no. I washed the dished by hand and then I let it go. What was super interesting was today, when I went back into the kitchen I quickly tried the button just too see and can you believe it?  it frickin worked!

I finished loading the dishwasher and thought about what just happened and what lesson I had just been given…

When I think about the process I go through with the dishwasher every couple of months, It reminds me of  other ways in my life that I spend so much time, energy and emotions. When situations come up I am often trying to learn everything, fix it all, and ultimately make things go the way I need them to go to make life a bit easier. I do this in my marriage, in my kids lives, in my work life, with my family, and just about any other time something comes up that is difficult. I try to learn as much as I can about what is happening, manage all the possible ways to respond and move it along. I also invest too much time and emotional and physical energy to change it. What was interesting about this time was I just let it go and after I let it go the situation fixed itself.

Now that may not happen each time with the dishwasher or my life moving forward.  But the lesson  was worth 1000 loads of hand washed dishes. No matter how much I research, or try different ways to repair or fix something, sometimes it needs to fix on it’s own time. My trying to “manage” it all can make things take longer to figure out and interrupt a natural process of healing. Hu, didn’t see that coming.  
Now as I write this story and get ready to post on this website I must say, my inner feminist has died a little bit about the lesson the dishwasher has given me. With all of my being I wish it had been something way more badass that I learned the lesson from, but it is what it is. I also believe that the damn dishwasher just facilitated the seed growing it could have been a toaster, drill, argument with my husband anything really. However,  today this feminist is grateful for her dishwasher and the opportunity to learn from it.