My Bathtub is a Metaphor for My Life

21 Aug

This is what is going on in my bathtub right now:
It is clogged, and the standing water is scarily dark and murky, and there’s tons of chunky black (there’s no other word for it) shit floating around. Like, a swamp creature could emerge from its depths, dust itself off, and sludge out my front door and down the street to get a beer, and I would not be (that) surprised.

My shower drain has been backed up for a while, as long as I can remember in fact. The label on the back of an almost-equally scary bottle of de-clogging chemicals that has an ominous POISON symbol on the front, calls this a “Slow Drain,” which is half a step less serious than my current problem of “Clogged Drain.” I had “Buy Drain De-Clogger” on my To Do list all last week, sensing the increasing urgency of this problem with every passing day and the higher water level it would bring, and then I bought the drain de-clogger and graduated to having “De-Clog Drain” on my To Do list for a few days, but the process requires letting the poison chemical sit for 3 hours while it eats through whatever disgusting shit is down there, in the depths of the drain, causing this mess, and I never had the time, or I was too tired and/or emotionally drained for the task. So I let it slide. Like I sometimes have been known to let other issues slide in my life, you know, all those (as Victoria Moran calls them in her wonderful book “Creating a Charmed Life”) next indicated things, the things I have to do to take care of myself, one after another, in order to attend to my life. The things I sometimes turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to, in a strong pattern of what I like to call resistance-slash-avoidance.

The shower always drains eventually, and I had planned to come home today (I swear!) and take care of the matter of de-clogging, and then do a lot of other productive stuff after that. But. Tonight was different from all other nights. The drain is completely backed up, the standing water is just sitting there, and all my efforts at unclogging (plunger, anyone?) only served to kick up the aforementioned disgusting (but persistently buoyant!) chunky black shit. Where it now sits. Or um, floats. In my tub.

So. I sat on the edge of my bathtub, staring into this murky pit of despair, knowing I would not get to anything I wanted to do tonight, and the reality was unavoidable. I started to cry, and then feel bad about it, in that way you feel bad and kind-of-crazy when someone cuts in front of you in an aggressive-slash-shove-y manner while getting on the subway, and then you immediately burst into tears because you’ve just had the worst day and everything that could possibly go wrong has, and why can’t New Yorkers have more manners and just be nice??? Why can’t things just be easy? At least, that happens to me sometimes. So it wasn’t exactly all about the clogged drain, murky stagnant starting-to-smell water, and chunky moldy-old floating debris. Only. It was.

I can’t help thinking, at this point, about my moldy-old beliefs (which, who knows, maybe they are chunky, too; I have never really given much thought to their texture) about what I think is possible for myself. Beliefs whose time has come to be forcibly snaked out of the pipes and tossed into the trash.

Lately, it feels like nothing I do works in the areas of um, you know, relationships, career, finance, yeah, that about covers it. As a for instance, last month, I got the same writing rejection emailed to me twice as a result of some sort of email glitch, and I read the entire letter two times, hoping for what? a happier ending the second time around? (P.S. – There wasn’t one.) And I’m like: I get it. I’m trying too hard. I’m pushing too strenuously. With everything and everyone. And. I’m not going anywhere.

I’m stuck.

I often have that feeling like I am banging my head up against a brick wall (so not fun), and then I remember what a friend once told me, years ago, when I was in the middle of possibly the unhealthiest relationship disaster of my life, and a play I wrote, that I was in love with, got a particularly hard-hitting rejection, and I had a negative balance in my checking account and I had to do that thing where you pick which bills not to pay in any given month, and then I got kicked out of my apartment. She said: maybe you aren’t banging your head up against a brick wall. Maybe it’s just one brick, and if you take a step back, you can just…walk around it. My response to her then was: “Who the fuck put that brick there?” But the years, and my bathtub, have taught me to see the wisdom in her words.

I am much better off now than I was then. Exponentially so. And my wonderful Super stopped by to survey the situation, and he will call the plumbers tomorrow, and they will professionally unclog my drain once-and-for-all, and I will no longer be resisting-slash-avoiding the situation of reality, and this will be very very good. I won’t have to use those scary chemicals that I am potenially opposed to anyway, and maybe I can return them to the hardware store from whence they came, and buy some cute, colorful, upbeat sponges instead. I can (permanently, I hope) take “De-Clog Drain” off my To Do list. My neighbor said I can use her shower tomorrow, so I will get to relive my college days by walking down the halls in the early-morning hours in my bathrobe and flip-flops, wire shower caddy (if I still had one) in tow. By this time tomorrow, there will be some small movement. The murk will dissipate, and the water will start to flow. Surely, the next time I shower, I will be flooded with a whole new appreciation for my drainage system.

And things will start to be. And maybe I will start to be. Unstuck.

One Response to “My Bathtub is a Metaphor for My Life”


  1. A Bad Week Drove Me To Bikram « NotSoZen YogaJen - December 9, 2010

    […] functioning.  And then there’s my Post Traumatic Plumbing Stress Disorder.  Because this happened to my bathtub a few years ago, and the following year this happened to my toilet, and now every time there is the […]

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