I Should Really Stop Shoulding

My current list of shoulds: I should lose weight. I should write more. I should nap less. I should read more. I should clean out the final boxes that belonged to my mom. I should work on my book every day. I should eat way more vegetables. I should email those I have lost touch with. I should cook more. I should be kinder. I should be tougher on those who are not kind to me. I should decorate my little writing nook. I should learn how to decorate. I should be more attentive to my ever-changing moods. I should be a better wife. I should be a better person. I should just be…different.

I think should is a gateway word. It leads to you have to, you must, and YOU WILL. I heard these words enough as a child. I don’t need to say them to myself now. It’s becoming a cruelty to myself that is simply not serving my mental or physical health.

I should really stop shoulding. I need to stop shoulding. I would like to stop shoulding. I want to stop shoulding. I will stop shoulding. I have been treading water in these words and I am losing strength. After I have nearly drowned in my words and I finally come up for air, soaked to the bone and panting, it is my choice to have waded into the ocean of these words. Always, my choice.

So now I begin to travel once again, this time trying out a gentler path where all of the shoulds are only ugly brambles along the way. I can ignore them; my path is clear. Ever onward.

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