I am trying to be more intentional. I hate when people use this word. Intentional. Present. Mindful. Take notice while washing the dishes, a mindfulness exercise suggests. Notice the suds, the gloss of the bubbles. Pay attention to the sound of the water, spilling from the tap, hitting the sink basin, gliding over your skin. Focus on how the water swirls down the drain. Notice how each day is a series of small, repetitive tasks stacked atop each other. Not enough to fill you up, to make you whole, but enough to weigh you down. Note how the weight settles into your lower back, aching in the center, a pain originating deep in the bone. Something structural. Something you are too old to bother correcting. Focus on your hands scrubbing the dishes. How the skin, grown loose with age, pools around your knuckles. Notice how you barely recognize these hands. Weak and sore, always struggling with jar lids. Notice how you barely recognize yourself. The folds of your middle like waves, one on top of the other. Note what it feels like to drown. Pay attention to the sound of your scream, echoing behind your eyes, muffled by your pillow, beating against you like a bat through the twilight sky as you stand at the sink. Notice the heat of the water. The way the food stains lift from the plates. Everything washing clean. Everything disappearing. Notice how the sun fades away. How the sky melts from orange to purple to impenetrable black. How night descends without a care. Take note of how another day is ending and here you are, still standing.
Claire Taylor (she/her) writes primarily about motherhood and mental health. You can find most of her work online at clairemtaylor.com. She is the creator of Little Thoughts, a monthly newsletter of original writing for kids. Claire lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, young son, and a bossy old cat.