This world. This place. This life.

The Should Illusion


I spent most of yesterday immobilized by the “should I?” question.

An opportunity presented itself, and I could take advantage of it—or not.

What if I said yes—and made a fool of myself? What if I said no—and regretted it later?

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I were talking about our experiences of fear and anxiety. “You know,” I told her, “I think I live as if, by being careful enough, I can make sure that nothing bad ever happens.”

I hadn’t realized that until just that moment.

But it’s true.

And it’s also true that there are no such guarantees. I cannot ensure absolute safety by always making the correct choice.

Every choice has consequences, most of which cannot be foreseen.

Anxious vigilance tips the “should I?” question away from risk, away from possibility, away from full-on, suck-the-marrow living. It shrinks our world’s boundaries, confining us to narrow, lifeless places.

Yesterday I chose fear. I walked away from opportunity, afraid I might look silly, afraid of rejection, afraid of shame.

Today the opportunity arose again, and I said “Yes.” I was disappointed by the immediate consequences, but not crushed.

That’s how illusion works. It relies on secrecy, on slight of hand, on pretense. Shine a light, tell the truth, watch carefully, and you’ll see right through it. The door of your imaginary prison will open, and you’ll walk out, free.


3 thoughts on “The Should Illusion

  1. Pingback: Boundaries And Storytelling | Seattleite From Syracuse

  2. I am so relieved to see you blossom, Heather. For so many years I have waited for you to start WRITING!
    Your anonymous aunt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s