I just managed to make James upset. “Don’t interrupt me every time I say that word,” he said.
“Please,” he said, “I lose my train of thought.”
He was sweet but firm. And I’m an idiot.
It all started at a workshop in 2006, where the facilitator had us simulate a gag reflex, until we would almost vomit every time we heard ourselves say the word “should.”
For five days I felt my stomach turn every time I uttered the damn word.
At first it was uncomfortable, then we were all laughing, then it made sense.
“Should” is what I think is true because someone else convinced me (I should go to college, I should buy a house, I should have a baby before thirty-five.)
“Should” hides unexplored territory. It means I’m at the mercy of uncommon sense.
“Should” means I’m scared.
When I type: ‘define should” into Google, the #1 response is: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
Should is always a criticism of me, done by me, and based on what someone else thinks. YIKES
“I shouldn’t come across as too pushy, or determined.” GAG.
“I shouldn’t talk about that.” GAG.
“I should seek permission first.” GAG.
And being a woman doesn’t help.
500 years of burning at the stake makes for a vast collective source of anxiety and “I don’t know if I should take a chance.”
Time to appease that fire.
Ever since the seminar I’ve changed the word.
Now I use “CHOOSE.”
– I choose to be determined. And how I come across is none of my business.
– I choose to talk about this.
– I choose to ask for permission where applicable.
“Choose” shifts the responsibility from “what they think,”whomever they are, back to what I can control.
James types away in the other room, he is always writing. That is what he loves, and I respect that.
And from now on I choose to stop the “should” harassment.
I choose to let him use any word he wants.
He is a freaking writer.
Image courtesy of sookie.