What? Yes, you read correctly my friends, baskets. A basket is a useful tool that has been holding things for man since the dawn of time. While the real things can prove to be exceedingly useful, I also want to call attention to the more imaginary, metaphorical baskets.
The ones that live within the recesses of our minds. Let’s break each group down. We’ll start with the more obvious group here, the physical baskets.
One continuous loop of twine. Some rope or thread wrapped around a skeleton. Perhaps a group of vintage army men melted and glued together form the backbone for a useful basket.Trust me, I gave my brother one as a gift.
Anything that can create a somewhat amorphous half circle or a rigid cube shape can be called a basket. As long as things can be put into it and stored away. When my ex-husband and I began to date, he was still living at home. He had his own room (thankfully) and that was his own personal domain.
His mother managed to do most things for him but being in charge of his room, well, that was completely his responsibility. As I began to stitch myself into his life, I started to notice that he was very, VERY messy. Not pizza boxes under the bed and empty soda cans on the side table gross. More of an unkempt messy, clothes and papers and…things…everywhere. He claimed to have a system but looking back now, I know it was really just who he is. Fast forward to our first home. I was about to throttle him over his messiness.
You Can Lead a Horse To Water
Until I discovered the basket. Being a scientific gal, I decided to conduct an experiment. I wanted to see if leaving empty baskets at strategic locations around the house might encourage a natural migration towards orderliness. Could I actually lead a horse to water and get him to drink?
It worked in the beginning and I felt like I was on top of the world! My home was nice and neat which meant that I could allow myself to be happy. Wait, allow myself to be happy?
What did my happiness have to do with his physical things? Did the basket really solve anything? Or were they simply a band aid hiding the larger problem behind the disorderly house? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change my ex-husbands behavior. He will forever be a messy individual. You see, no one has the power to change another human being. Change needs to be intrinsic. Something the person has to crave before it can be attainable.
I could not force this natural desire onto my ex-husband no matter how many baskets I put around the house. What I could change however, was how I chose to react to his actions and begin to look at the thing I was trying to find a basket for. Was I truly happy with the choices I have made in my current life? There was no physical basket big enough to handle all of his crap because the physical was not the true problem. The emotional baggage that this question came with would not leave my mind.
Let The Basket Unravel
No matter how hard I tried to organize it and put it out of sight, I could not. I desperately held onto the hope that just like putting useless physical things into a useless physical basket and shoving them away into a useless physical corner, I could put this gem of a question into a metaphorical basket within my mind and pretend that I had taken care of it. As I am sure you could have guessed by now, this did not work. It simply allowed me to continue to live a delusional lie.
OK, let’s take a minute to dive into the basket that we can not see. The ones that we use to compartmentalize thoughts, feelings and choices in our minds. In trying to keep the peace in my marriage I put feelings that I thought were “wrong” into these mind baskets.
I buried them deep down in my grey matter. They stayed there, sealed up tight, suffocating parts of the real me. Parts that I lost over the years thanks to these hateful baskets in my mind. These pesky enemies pose as helpful organizational tools when in reality they are enablers in the path to my destruction. My anger, frustration and annoyance at my ex-husband that had been piling up for years was getting more and more difficult to put away in my brain baskets.
They turned out to be a little more stubborn at fighting my attempts to bury them away. Those baskets did not want to be forgotten. They would not allow me to continue to pretend that I was happy leading this boring, routine, predictable life.
The way I saw it, I had accomplished all of the major check marks – job, marriage, house, dog and children. What was left? Retirement? Death? Both of those options were years away and not quite what I was looking forward to.
When the realization that I could not change my husband finally settled in those brain baskets of feelings I had toward him were overflowing. I realized I had to change something if I wanted this marriage to survive. I started to see that by putting these feelings I had for him in my metaphorical basket, I was choosing his happiness over mine. Each time I let something go. Each time I created a new basket in my mind for my feelings I was doing a disservice to myself. Marriage is about communication, respect and teamwork.
My ex, as much as I shudder to admit this, saw me as a step in for his mother. A job I did not want. His physical actions may have been able to be modified with some baskets around the house, but the baskets in my mind where I kept the emotional discourse between us turned out to be harder to organize away. Although you may still be holding onto the myth that baskets could be the key to an easier marriage, I see now that the marriage has to be on a solid foundation first if it is going to be a success.
Basket Breaking Point
Once I realized that my metaphorical baskets were literally pouring out of me because I had shoved so many feelings down, I knew that I had to make a change. At that particular crossroads in my life, I chose to end something that was a major source of unhappiness for me – my marriage.
This left a lot of space in my mind now. All of those baskets that I used to hide my feelings in are empty. I am wondering what to fill them with moving forwards. Peace? Serenity? Travel? Chocolate?
The coolest thing I know is that the choice is mine and mine alone. It is daunting to try and find things to fill these emotional baskets with that don’t resemble the scared or negative variety.
What kinds of baskets are you hiding, tucked away in the recesses of your mind? Are there things in those baskets that diminish your happiness?
Message me and let me know what things you have been hiding away and maybe we can brainstorm action items to clean out those baskets and begin to fill them with things that make you choose, things that will make you happy.