When I was a girl I would sing in the shower. Really belt it out. I remember the sad day when one of my parents said something about how much they enjoyed hearing these concerts. I never sang in the shower again. You see, I had thought somehow that the shower was like another dimension. That somehow when I slid the door closed the world on the other side disappeared and I was as far from it as it was from me. The shower was a capsule of steamy warm water and fantastic acoustics floating alone in outer space. Surely nobody could hear me singing all the way back on earth. Although I’ve given up the singing, this illusion of escaping to another place has remained, and so, when I need a little therapy, I always know I can exit reality for 15 minutes to the magical land just down the hall behind the fogged glass doors.
Everything looks better through shower steam.
My house isn’t messy. Just look at this 3×4 feet of gleaming white tile.
It may have been a week since I did my hair and makeup but look, I’m taking care of myself. I’m in the shower right now.
I’m not lonely and missing my girlfriends. I just can’t hang out right now, I’m in the shower.
What do you mean the kids need me for something? I can’t hear anybody calling or crying from here.
Sure I’ve been avoiding the million things I have to get done, but I’m sure to tackle them. Right after this shower.
That’s the best thing about the shower. In shower land you don’t have to deal in the inconvenient actualities of past and present but in the rosy potentialities of the future.
We may have eaten McDonald’s yesterday and be having macaroni tonight, but you should see the exciting and healthy menu for next week I came up with in the shower. Spoiler alert: The vegetables will be so delicious the kids will beg for more. I will buy these vegetables on a highly efficient trip to the grocery store where no children run off, I stay on budget, and I don’t buy five things I absolutely do not need.
Next week we’ll also go cold turkey and watch no TV and everyone will love it because we’ll do so many fun and educational things instead. What’s that? I only got to take this shower because I parked the kids in front of PBS Kids? Shh shh details details.
Over the years this getaway to the magical land of shower has served me well. I can spend a little time with my own thoughts, sort through things, and when I slide back that door and return to earth I’m refreshed. I’ll even follow through on a couple of those grand schemes or an approximation thereof. But just like any travel to other worlds, there’s always a touch of danger. When I am struggling with depression I often try and escape it through the door to my shower. Now and then It manages to come through too. The Thing that sits on my chest and makes it hard to breathe. Or hovers behind me so that I see it out of the corner of one eye. Or weighs down my shoulders. Then the deep powerful sadness stands between me and the way home. I am frozen by it, unable to make even the smallest decision. I can’t see the happy future, just this aching inexplicable despair going on forever. I want to get out, to go back to reality, but I can’t find the will. Reality is so hard! Fingers go pruny and the water goes cold, sometimes I even manage to turn off the taps, but I cannot muster the strength to open that door. Somehow I’m a million miles away from home, trapped in four walls inside my own house.
Once in college I was trapped by my own mind for two hours. Eventually the fact that somebody would need that bathroom and the potential shame of being caught out as seriously depressed got me out of there. Even now that I’ve publicly admitted to it, the stigma of depression, or the fear that someone won’t understand, is a powerful motivator to behave like a rational adult. At home though, I don’t have that working for me. Now maybe I can call out. If my husband hears me I’m saved, but sometimes even the decision to do that is too hard. Then the only hope is that someone will come rescue me. And there it is, a shadow on the other side of the glass, a sound from that other world outside my head.
“Mum, what colour is a chinese water dragon?”
“Mummy, can I have a shower wiv you? You can be a shark and I can be a dolphin. Tum on Mum.”
“Mummy, I’m building an evewyfing machine, can you get me some tape?”
My little knights in shining armour and a beautiful princess come to save the day. They need me. They love me. I’m queen of their world, who needs another one? Reality around here is pretty magical too.