The S Word
In the autumn, I learned that “goddamn” gives most people a near heart attack down here in southwest Virginia. After years in New York City, words like that just slip off my tongue, and I don’t think much of them because I believe there are bigger things to be offended by. But here, there are no words more horrible in the English language, no words that could curse a person more. And yet there is one word we all stand cursed by, one we use every day, one used against us nearly every day.
I should do this. He should have done that. You should say this. She should dress like this. They should be this way instead.
‘Should’s have become our shackles.
They have kept me from this space. I have spent months wondering what I should write, what I should I do to grow my audience again, how often I should post, what photos I should use…
‘Should’s have challenged the happiness I’ve found. Apparently I should want a corporate job with good pay, job security, great benefits, and free lunches. I should finish my master’s thesis so two years in California weren’t a waste of my time. I should move to a city I fell in love with over a decade ago, even if I don’t want that lifestyle any longer, because that city is where great people congregate. I should want to have babies, especially now that I’m in my early 30s. I should choose more money over freedom. I should be more sensible and think with my head rather than my heart.
Those ‘should’s have never made me feel good. They sit in my stomach, they weigh on my chest, they steal my radiance. But these expectations only haunt me. For some people, these ‘should’s aren’t ‘should’s at all. They may be exactly what’s right for them. But we are all troubled by ‘should’s of some sort.
I’m tired of these shackles. I’m done shoulding and shaming myself.
This is me. This is my joy: words and images and sharing whatever light I find inside myself. My purpose is this moment, this conversation we have, the way we weave in and out of each other’s lives.
The only things I expect of myself from this point forward are greatness, growth, and love.
What “should” do you need to unshackle yourself from?