Hi. It's been awhile. This is a freewrite/rant I wrote last year that I've been re-reading a lot lately. Thought I'd throw it up here in case it resonates with anyone else out there in the interwebs.
I always liked the Lego sets that came with instructions. That big huge bin of mismatched Lego pieces? Stressful. I’d play for a while but eventually lose patience with the half broken ones, the colors that didn’t quite match. The thinking outside of the box.
I feel like adulthood is opening a Lego box, expecting instructions as always, then having them ripped out of your hands in exchange for a diploma and motivational instructions to “build your own future.”
And without that lifeline, that instruction manual, life is scary. There are too many choices, too many potential directions to go in, too many mistakes to be made. So I found myself reeling, searching for a shimmer of a thread of where I should go, what I should be doing, what the right thing was to do, what the smart thing was to do.
Lucky for me, and young adults like myself, society has a lot of opinions about that. Especially for us ladies. We should be a lot of things. And initially, at least for me, it was kind of comforting. I should wear these colors. These prints. Have these things, go shopping, look pretty, be skinny. Be smart but not overbearing, be funny but not crude, be supportive but not too clingy. I’m good at straddling the line. I’m good at mediating. Should-ing was a comfort zone, a safety net.
But it's not safe. It's a trap. It’s an angry swirl of lies that convinces you you'll never be enough.
Should is a bully.
Should is that boyfriend that wants you until he has you and hates you until he loses you.
Should is that job that wants you to stay late but not work yourself too hard but also give your all but also have a life and be interesting, and also not ask for a promotion.
Should is that message that you should lean into your life but also have time to relax and also not be stressed so stress about being stressed because stress is very bad and will kill you just like everything else on the fucking planet.
Should is a huge pain in the ass.
Should is that ad campaign that says you should be skinny but you shouldn’t want to be skinny and you should love your body but your body should be objectively beautiful or no one will love you.
Should is advice to be understated and coy but have opinions but don’t say them too loudly and take risks but don’t be wrong and say things but make sure people give a shit about those things because if they don’t then you might as well shut up because you don’t matter and you have to matter to succeed. But you shouldn't care about success because you should go your own way as long as that way is interesting.
Since I broke up with should, I’ve been much happier, but boy it’s hard to walk away. On days like this when my future feels hazy and I feel doubtful of my decisions and I don’t know what tomorrow brings and I’m scared, it’s easy to think about going back to should. To clinging on to that rope and letting it take me where it may.
But I have to remind myself that my heart needs space to breathe, and while she might not always be speaking clearly, she’s there and she’ll speak up when it matters. I just have to give her the time and the attention she deserves. Or I’ll never hear what she has to say.
Love you all. Thanks for reading.