I have an almost unnatural aversion to the word should. It comes with a faint whiff of shame as a hypothetical nod to something other than prevailing reality. It smacks of obligation and expectation, rooting it in nose wrinkling disappointment. Too often it governs our choices, reducing them to someone else’s idea of what’s right for us. Perhaps that is the presumption that ever sticks in my craw.
Permission, on the other hand, is an invitation. It allows and enables, conferring consent and approval. If you are governed by should, permission is the ultimate get out of jail card. Whatever authority outside of you has its fingers in your power circuitry usually fills out the slip until the fine day you wrestle the book from their hands.
The world is cluttered with shoulds right now, though all of us are on the back foot gawping. No one has the answer or magic pill, though they’re scrolling thick and fast. The truth is we are all flying blind, wherever we sit on this curve ball. We are each doing the best we can with what we know and what’s on our plate as it changes on an almost hourly basis. We are awash in strange emotional currents, some of which we maybe haven’t even identified yet. It feels like the slow motion of a car accident, yawning moments where all perception is heightened by the inevitable trajectory.
Naturally some days will be diamonds and others will feel like a trainwreck. Because human. Some long days we will battle and others we will soar. Some days we might try to learn another language or plant vegies or pick up that old paintbrush and others we will eat crumbly high MSG comfort “food” in bed while mindlessly approaching meme saturation point or freaking out. Some days we will feel connected to something sparking beyond our old life and others we will play iso drinking games every time we hear the word unprecedented.
We know what we must do, as a collective. But as for what you should be doing? Take as many of these slips as you need, darklings. Address them to yourself and sign them with a feathered pen. Allow the gamut. Trust your good self to know the difference.
Graphic via Pinterest
Words c. Kerrie Basha 2020