Two days ago I wasn't feeling great. I hadn't done any chores, or much of anything, really (thanks, depression) and my partner had washed some clothes. They asked if I would go get the wet laundry to hang it outside, and I said yes. I didn't want to, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Meanwhile, I was feeling judgmental and accusatory, silently and instantly critical of anything my partner said or did. It was pre-conscious, it seemed.
My partner told me they had left the laundry bag on top of the washer, so that I could bring it up. I really wanted to make sure there was a laundry bag, because I didn't want to go downstairs without one, only to have to come back upstairs for one. I felt I couldn't possibly bear two trips. And it would have been a pain to carry a bunch of wet rags and towels without a laundry bag. So I asked with a very specific purpose, and my partner assured me that they did, in fact, leave the laundry bag on top of the washer.
Lo and behold, when I went downstairs, there was no laundry bag on top of the washer. I huffed to myself, huffed back up the stairs, and then huffed at my partner about it. They seemed surprised when I told them that the laundry bag wasn't on the washer. "Well, it wasn't there." I said, accusingly. I huffed once more, grabbed a different laundry bag, and proceeded to retrieve the laundry.
Today, for a different reason, I went downstairs. I went to dump some water into the sink, next to the washer, and I found that our laundry bag had fallen onto the floor next to the washer. I hadn't bothered to look there. I had such tunnel vision from my mood -- or my stress? or my mindset? --that I couldn't have even considered any other possibility besides Bag There or No Bag There.
Let this be a lesson to me. Whenever I'm feeling critical or frustrated or hopeless, I can pause and ask myself if there's another angle to look at the problem from, another corner to peek around, a nuance that I hadn't considered. Hopefully I can grow this skill, and then translate it from mundane problems like chores to more profound issues in relationships, work, and my world/community.