Dark Night of the Should

It was a writing prompt, in which I don’t allow myself to edit. Edit? you say? You edit? Aha. Yes, yes I do. I may not care (here) about capitalizations of the I, and so on, but I do spell things correctly, and I do try to use grammar to capture the way it would sound if I were speaking. So there.

But in this prompt, I am ‘rulebound’ to not fix my errors at all, in an attempt to kill the inner editor which censors. And so I typed today’s title, as a mistake. I clearly intended it to be a reference to the Dark Night of the Soul that the mystics undergo when they lose their faith and are consumed with doubt about their relationship with the divine. Perhaps they are even cut off, as they believe, if such a thing is possible. ( I say it is not, but I am not in charge of their belief system, believe it or not.)


My last list, of things to give up, was to help me with releasing some ridiculous ‘shoulds’. I ‘should’ be married, I ‘should’ be an office working professional, I ‘should’ look put together at some point, without the crew of people who got me ready for a wedding, my wedding. I should be cartwheeling. I should be buying lottery tickets. (those last two? clearly still on the fence.)

You’ve read a million things about why shoulds are bad, I know you have. I’m just adding another. A refusal on my part to accept the life I actually have, and all the power I have within it. What I’m doing right now? Is FUCKING AMAZING, and I don’t need any shoulds to water it down. I’m a writer, I’m raising three kids, I’m growing a garden and raising chickens and I’ve managed to do it all while recovering from a kind of traumatic marriage. DAYAM.

when I should myself, I’m denying the actual day to day life that I have. Which is real, and sometimes cruddy, and sometimes I’m an asshole, but its real, and its all mine, and i’m the boss of my house.

And sometimes I get really lost, and I get swamped by futility and lonely and fear of the future and the constant dishes. (would someone please just move in and take care of them? Swear to god, no rent if you just do the damn dishes. Wait. Fuck. I have kids! Why don’t they do the damn dishes?! Fuck.)

But that swamp? THAT IS THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SHOULD. right there. when i’m disappointing myself so badly, because I think I ‘should’ be something else. Well, I’m not, goddamnit.


northern lights over mountain and forest
Photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu on

so bite me, shoulds. BITE ME.


Leave me your words! thoughts! sweat, blood, and tears not really needed but okay, if you want... :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.