it’s always the ‘shoulds’ that evoke the most profound agonies. 

we like to think we want things as we want them to be. but it’s not true. we don’t want things as we want them to be. we want things as others want them to be.

the expectations others impose upon us! expectations that, once upon a time, were imposed upon them. and this is not to mention the expectations we impose upon ourselves… all part of the continuum of living up to the collective, universal expectation we have all colluded to impose upon our own existence. how do we allow it?

how is it that we subsist within this cycle of distress? 
how is it that we bare our chests… and expand… while receiving the blows? 
how is it that we swallow the venom undiluted… whole… while asking no questions?

i should…
you should…
we should…
i should…
i should…

the imagined need for a hypothetical perfection. when it is not met, it creates a fiery, flesh-consuming angst inside the deepest crevices of every one of us. a perfection that, so to speak, helps us to fit ever so perfectly inside the perfect boxes laid out by the perfectionists. 

a few years ago, i made a commitment to myself to ‘should’ no more. my very decision was met with derision. ‘ha! good luck with that, nevine!’ and… marginalization. ‘you’ll end up alone and regretful.’

still. i abandoned ‘i should’ and embraced, in its place, ‘i am’.

i have had my stumbles and falls. i have had my moments of turning back to glance at the fiery tug of the hell of collective thinking and living. i have stumbled. fallen. turned back to glance. 

and shuddered at the very thought of being that way again.

this morning, i remember that year. that day. that moment. 
the moment of ‘i am’.
i am interwoven with it. and it is interwoven with me.

i sit inside the kaleidoscopic shift of ‘i am’. 
every moment inside it is actively living. 
a metamorphosis of rough to polished.
a transfiguration of motion to stillness.
and back again…

i am in it. 
i am it.

some might call this
drowning in solipsism.

i call this
being me.

every moment, i am reborn.

i glide into the poised swirl of
that which is now.

i am neither alone nor regretful.

i am.

i walk upon sacred, intimate ground.

this morning,
i tread lightly that i might feel
the air lifting me up by the wings,
even as the earth tugs gently at my feet,

grounding me.