The Dishwasher

Don’t you know who I am?

This month has definitely been a “don’t you know who I am?” chapter of life. I’m familiar with this chapter as has happened before and wasn’t enjoyable. I thought, after my shifty journal entry on June 3rd (Confidence), I would just be happy, but my a-ha moment was short lived and I quickly spiraled into an even worse attack of resistance. I performed a few entertainment gigs and felt frustrated. “Why are you guys talking while I’m singing? Don’t you know who I am? I just got back from representing Canada at an International Festival in Harare!!” (This phrase must be pronounced with an upturned lip in the style of a snobby white girl ordering a Starbucks Latte.) I’m so ashamed of this part of me. There’s no love in that attitude.

But I shifted, once again on Saturday morning…and here’s how it all went down.

It started with a conversation about dish washers. I was explaining to my Mom that I want a promotion in the music business. I’ve washed dishes for a long time (entertaining in bars). I’ve played the role of management (recording artist) and even restaurant owner (“successful” recording artist) but I somehow always end up back washing dishes! And my Mom, being the cheerleader she is, was very helpful in deciding that it’s time for a promotion and I should stop washing dishes! And, as Chariots of Fire played in my mind, I started feel inspired to make this change for good!! No more dishwashing!! I own the business!! Rah Rah! (Interestingly, I’ve been turning down dishwashing gigs for months now without really knowing why.)

But here’s the catch….one of my favourite bar owners is a couple from Parry Sound named Stan and Carol. They own a bar / restaurant and it is always very busy. One of them is always there when I perform and I’ve watched them over the years. When things get busy, Stan clears tables, washes floors…and one night he couldn’t watch my show because he was WASHING THE DISHES! The staff is wonderful at the bar. There seems to be a very low turnover rate and they respect Stan and Carol. Their humbleness pays off continuously. They’re always happy and they seem to have enough time and money to do the things they want to do. I admire them for the way they work. I admire someone who owns a business but will still wash the dishes!

It occurred to me, that I actually enjoy dishwashing so long as everyone knows that I also own the business! I don’t like being seen as JUST a bar singer. I don’t like feeling disrespected. And the bottom of all of this is: I struggle to respect myself. Turns out, I’ve somehow bought into a story that I can only respect myself in certain situations.

I have met some very attractive dishwashers who blast music and laugh and joke all night. I sometimes wish I could just hang out in the kitchen and be part of the fun. A similar thing happens when I perform without resistance. People feel inspired to sing or dance and they tell me how lucky I am to do what I love. Others dishwashers have big ambitions and see dishwashing as a means to an end. Their eyes are frantic and tortured. I have those eyes too sometimes… like on Friday night when I was a bundle of resistance. It was terrible. Every song was uninspired and the room was practically empty by the time I was done. I couldn’t even ask (using my inside voice) “don’t you know who I am?” because the few people who were still there were not coherent enough to know who THEY were, and the others were my good friends who have seen the ups and downs of Angie enough times to know that I just had a rough night.

I drove home with a fight inside. Wishing I could remove this virus that preys on my self-respect. But the more I fought the worse it got and I went to bed praying to my angels that they would bring a cure while I slept.

I awoke in a half dream that an evil woman had changed all the clocks just to mess with me. (I would later discover the evil woman was me…messing with me : ). I was even darker than the night before.

When Q woke up, I asked about his night. He had mowed the lawn and talked to our neighbour. The story was pretty boring to us both, but we were connecting and I was relieved to hear the quiet rumble of someone else’s voice in my head. And then, through the muddle of uninteresting gossip, he said something like “we might not see Barb this summer, she’s on oxygen and doesn’t like to come up to the cottage anymore.” And, like a dagger to the heart, I suddenly became aware of my lack of gratitude. I’d already started feeling resistance about the gig I was going to play on Saturday and as Q said those words, I realized how RIDICULOUS I sounded in my complaints. My “disappointing” job on Saturday, was to go to Toronto and make a bunch of people happy by playing music, then get paid well, and drive home. Barb’s job was to make sure her oxygen tank worked all day. Someone else I know just wishes they wouldn’t have to wear a diaper for one day. I could hear my own voice sounding like THE MOST SPOILED CHILD ON THE PLANET! And within moments, I’d shifted into a space of gratitude. And it has been 6, glorious days of living with non-resistance. My gig on Saturday was awesome!

I want to be the dishwasher who doesn’t feel compelled to tell anyone I own the business….I want to feel self-respect in any circumstance that arises. These are the intentions I have set for this summer of many gigs. I get to bring joy, laughter and honesty into new environments every day if I so choose. It is a lucky gift…not to be taken for granted.

Until next time,

Angie Nussey
Professional Dishwasher / Business owner

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