Monday, May 03, 2010

Breaking out of prison...

There's a page in my most recent journal that has a magazine cut out at the top of a page. The cut out is the title of an article from a local newspaper I picked up back in December in North Myrtle Beach: "Leaving the Prison of Shoulds: A Journey into Authenticity."

I am doing just that: leaving the prison of shoulds. Digging a hole in the wall of my cell. Hiding the dirt in my pants pockets every time I go outside to walk the dog. Breaking free. One day at a time. One "should" at a time. Here are a few of the bars I'm slowly cutting my way through.

* I should get up at 6 am, before everyone else gets up, and do something profound and important.

* I should have a well-crafted plan for every day from breakfast until bedtime.

* I should be reading the classics with my children, teaching them both latin and classical music, and preparing them for an ivy league education that will be paid for with full academic scholarships.

* I should have done more research before choosing our many doctors, dentists, and, most recently, our orthodontist.

* I should not have given up my Jaguar and gone back to my minivan.

* I should go back to teaching after the kids are off to college.

* I should never invite internet friends home.

* I shouldn't buy so many pens, paints, markers, journals, or pads of watercolor paper.

* I should relax, loosen up, and be authentically me.

* I should answer the phone every time it rings.

* I should always say "yes" whenever anyone asks me to do something.

* I should be good and kind and polite and loving and patient all the time.

* I should understand my role as a wife and mother and daughter and daughter-in-law and and church member never question those roles. Ever.

* I should have nothing but great things to report when someone asks me how I'm doing.

* I should write a blog post two or three times each week. And what I write had better be of substance. Fluff, not allowed.

* I should read all of my friends' blogs religiously and leave comments on each one.

* I should not eat candy or meat or bread or blue corn chips or red australian licorice or anything with artificial flavors, colors, or any chemicals whatsoever.

* And I should definitely not eat anything, good for me or bad for me, after 7 pm.

* I should be available to anyone and everyone all the time.

* I should answer every question I'm asked and every email and text that I receive.

* I should go on Facebook more regularly, respond to status changes, photo uploads, and comments on my status.

* I should not have any secrets from anyone for any reason.

* I should talk about my faith all the time, after all, everything relates to faith somehow.

* I should go to church every time the doors open.
When I get there, I am should sit down and shut up - because, after all, I'm a woman.

* I should be more submissive, more quiet, more feminine, less opinionated, less outspoken, less aggressive.

* I should stop making lists of all the "shoulds" I need to break free from.

* I should stop blaming my ridiculous list of shoulds on anyone else and take full ownership of all the impossible rules I set for myself.

* I should expect other people to understand my faith~life journey and support me on it.

* After a very sweaty zumba workout at the Y this evening, I should go take a nice, hot shower.

Wait - I should hang onto those last few "shoulds" on the list.


Lisa said...


There is LIBERATION written all over this post, dear Gail.

Derrick Jensen would be proud :)

I'm right there with you, friend. SOOOOO many shoulds to let go of. So many indeed.

Semi-A said...

You SHOULD call your niece!
Lol, you know I'm kidding.

But I believe at least half of those "shoulds" SHOULD be discarded and forgotten:-)

Love you!