I believe that my home is a true reflection of me.
On the surface my home is lovely. My living room and kitchen are ready to entertain with a quick tidying up, fluffing of the cushions and the lighting of a few candles. It is warm, comfortable, and attractive. I take great pride in my home and spend inordinate amounts of time reading interior design magazines and browsing in antique shops. I enjoy sharing my great finds with others, and welcoming them into my home to see the latest projects.
Lying just beneath the surface, are the unseen spaces of my home. My closets, medicine cabinet, and the ubiquitous junk drawer are all an integral part of my life. However, I think I differ from many people in the presentation of these things. On a good day, I am referred to as a neat freak. On a bad day, my husband refers to me under his breath as borderline obsessive compulsive. My closets are lovingly organized by theme, labeled and color coded for proper storage. As for my junk drawer, I’ll be honest, it does not actually contain any junk. It is nice and tidy, with everything in it’s assigned place. Even beneath the surface, my life is neat and orderly, just like my closets.
My basement is an entirely different story. No one is allowed to enter the basement. The door leading downstairs looks exactly like the other four doors in the hallway. Behind this nondescript door lies my deepest, darkest housekeeping secret. My basement is an unsightly mess, filled with all sorts of hidden things. There are shelves overflowing with everything from an old hamster cage to Oreos to camping equipment. In one corner are boxes stacked high, packed with things long forgotten. The other corner contains random pieces of furniture strewn between stacks of old baby clothes and knick knacks. There is also a cemetary for every piece of exercise equipment I have ever owned. It is the final resting place of every well intentioned resolution that involves me and washboard abs.
In my basement, I see a part of myself that needs a serious sorting out. In the concealed corners of my life, behind an ordinary door, lie my untouched, carefully concealed thoughts and dreams. I do not allow visitors here either. Locked up, obscured from view among the baby things and decorative items, are the pieces of me that I am afraid to share with anyone else. I am embarrassed by the state of my basement, and I often feel this same awkwardness about my innermost self.
I have decided to take action with my basement. I have begun the arduous task of looking over my belongings piece by piece. I must decide if it is worthy of keeping , or if it serves no purpose. There are a few items I have put aside for later inspection. In this way, I am also taking out the discarded desires and ambitions of my life, blowing off the dust and considering them again. Some things will be ready to come out of the dark, and others may need to be set aside a while longer.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.