No. 109

The Weight of a Word


We hold back.
We fill our minds with “should”s and “shouldn’t”s, and find we’re frustrated by the walls we’ve built around ourselves.

Our desires become tethered to us, and in an effort to rid ourselves of what we think we should or shouldn’t want, we wrap those desires in chains and toss the key into the fastest moving river we can find.
And then we run.

We never escape.
We always feel the echo of what we have done. Because even if we manage to smother our desires and our darkness, they don’t die.

But what if our decisions emerged directly from those desires rather than being determined by the slanderous “should”?

This isn’t about giving in to every temptation.
It’s about recognizing what we really want most and putting some desires before others.
It’s about listening closely to our hearts and giving the beauty that we’ve been locking away the chance to express itself.

It’s about first kisses and getting butterflies in our stomachs and watching our heart swell with anticipation and hope.
It’s about setting out on wild adventures and blazing paths and loving until it feels like our hearts will break and discovering they won’t.

The shift is everything. The freedom from “should” transforms.

It’s admitting that we’re willing to be vulnerable and get hurt in exchange for the chance to experience all life offers us.
It’s risking everything we know and believe for the whole world.

And I am so willing to listen and open and risk.

What “should”s will you quiet today to see what doors open for you?

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

5 thoughts on “The Weight of a Word

  1. I’ve been quieting quite a few ‘shoulds’ these days and pushing myself a little more. I’m not going to say it doesn’t keep me up at night but if it didn’t, then I wouldn’t be pushing myself

  2. We moved down to Arkansas about 3 weeks ago. We have been in temporary housing for about 3 weeks as well. This means that I’m stuck in a hotel room 90% of the day and the only time I do go out is when I force myself to go for a run in the hot, sticky air. Today, I sat down with the intension of getting through some of the 339 blogs that I have unread in my feed (I’ve been very much away from the computer for a long while). And as the minutes tick by, I find that I’m feeling inspired and crafty and happy reading everyone’s stories and catching up with what they’ve been up to. Right before I read your post, I was thinking to myself “Oh I should be straightening up our suitcases or unloading the dish washer or wiping down the countertops or picking my hair things up off the bathroom counter.” But for the first time in a few weeks, I’ve found something to do that makes me feel like I’m not stuck, unemployed and alone for a majority of the day. So, dammit, I’m going to blog until my fingers hurt! Or at least my boyfriend comes home and I have someone new to bug.

    Hope all is well! Can’t wait to catch up on your posts! (!!) xoxo

  3. Oh, I am plagued by shoulds, but you know that. I should feel this way about my life. I should feel bad. I should feel this. I should feel that.

    Really, I shouldn’t do anything but live.

    Beautiful, Brandi. I’ll be emailing you soon!

  4. I’ve come back to this blog post three or four times because, when I read it, I recognized an odd place in my life where “should” was causing trouble. I’m still working through and writing about the idea, but here’s the gist of it: not only is it dangerous to apply “should” to myself, but it’s dangerous to apply “should” to others. When I look at my family and friends and colleagues and students and only see what I (or they) think should be, I miss out on what is. I miss out on what I can do to support, love, or help them. I miss out on empathy and compassion. I’m not as strong of a sister, daughter, friend, teacher when I look at what I should do or what they should do, rather than what we already do.

    Like I said–I’m working through this idea and writing about it. I just wanted to thank you for prompting this idea, because it’s already helped me work past some recent frustrations.

    1. –also, dangerous isn’t the right word, but I haven’t figured out which one to use. Problematic is too vague, but dangerous feels too extreme…Hm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *