Monday, December 06, 2010


Was there ever such a painful, unhelpful word? I have detested it since it was first used on me and there were times when I would use it constantly on myself.

You should do this.

You shouldn't do that.

I have a saying on my bathroom mirror that I look at it every morning:
Please, Gaia, don't let me should on myself today.
It is a word of failure. Of heartbreak.

'I should have done this to keep him, make her happy, played with the children more, spent more time with my mother' and on.

Sometimes I count the number of times people say it to me or about themselves during the day.

"You should walk more."

"I should go on a diet."

What a waste of breath those shoulds are.

For, you know, we all do things when we are good and ready and not because we were shoulded into it.


My doctor tells me I am diabetic, I should control my blood sugars for my own good before I have to take injections. I should take better care of my health. I should make a plan. I should make sure I live a valuable and productive life and for this I should start with my own health.

I tune out on all the shoulds. Shrug on my shawl of denial, heave the helpful pamplets and books under something and carry on as before.

But guess what gets my attention?

I've always taken a foolish vanity in my full head of hair, enough for two heads as one of my aunts would say. And guess what, I've been losing it in handfuls this past year. I must have lost, oh, 3/4 of my hair.

And finally, finally, last week I check on the web about hair loss. And yup, diabetes affects both the hormones and the auto-immune system and yup, this results in dramatic hair loss.

This gets my attention more than any shoulding in the world would and jump starts me out of denial and into, yup, action.

A bald WWW is just not in the cards.

But please, never, ever should me.

And I'll do the same for you.


  1. I never will, WWW. However, please take care of yourself and your hair. I need you.

  2. Ok sister, last week you were advising me to behave...
    All I'm saying is mind your crowning glory! Stay well.

  3. I didn't know that about hair loss! Yikes! Hope you can reverse this.

  4. Yes, "should" is in the same category as the annoying "need to" - which I see in on-line comments very frequently. Obama "needs to", I "need to", we "need to"....etc. etc.
    I guess "should" is one step back from "need to" - if we don't do what we need to we'll be saying we should've done it.

    Take care, WWW. Hair is important but the rest of your health (diabetes-wise) is even more so.
    My hair has gone thinner as I age. I don't have diabetes but I think some hair loss is inevitable.
    Good that you had such a lot to start with. :-)

  5. WWW - what an interesing treatise on the word 'should'. I had never really thought about it before, though the famed Quentin Crisp often expounded on how couples lectured each other re 'the trouble with YOU' etc.

    As a fellow sufferer (auto-immune disorder) my sympathies re your hair problems. I hesitate to say you should look into Nanogen thickening shampoo, Nanofibres and locking mist to thicken your hair further and extensions and bonded systems if all else fails. Cosmetic solutions have come on in leaps and bounds in the last 20 years even if there is no way of actually making human hair re-grow as yet and most of us are not experiencing problems through severe vitamin deficiency.

  6. Again, you've zeroed in on a simple truth and made me take a deeper look at my self-deprecating habits.

    As for the hair... I experienced the same 1/2 volume loss. Good news, it stopped at 1/2. Better news I, too, had twice as much the average. Small consolation, huh!

  7. I do agree, shoulds are a pain in the neck, and more likely to create resistance than the response intended. But having said that, I used to work for a diabetes charity and I would advise you to control your blood sugar levels very carefully as all sorts of nasty complications can set in if you don't.

  8. Marcia:
    Thank you, it is good to be needed and to need in return. Lovely word!
    Oh we take turns in sistering each other and that is a GOOD thing.
    Shock to me too, that would have gotten my attention from doctor!
    yes, "needs to" is hollow as well, an empty phrase, no one taking responsibility.
    Yes hairloss is inevitable I expect but the quanity was a shock to me!
    Thank you for the recommendations, I will check. Extraordinary how our vanities can propel us like nothing lese can!
    Thanks for the good news. Let's hope I'm stopped now due to focus on health!

  9. I'm glad we don't have such a simple word for it. Here we would have to use to verbs and we are less likely to. We have other ways to tell people what to do.

  10. Nora:I
    I also would have difficulty in translating it into Irish, a very convoluted language!
    Some words are better left unsaid, I guess, LOL.

  11. "Listen to the mustn'ts, child.
    Listen to the don'ts.
    Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child.
    Anything can be."
    — Shel Silverstein

  12. Ah, the 'shoulds' and 'oughts' that are the very bane of life. Cast them to the four winds, and with each the guilt astride their churlish backs.

    (But, go easy on the sugar!)

  13. Pauline:
    Lovely I'd never heard it before! Thank you!
    it is not so much the sugar but the other so-called good things of life, I'm afraid. Discipline. Ouch!
    Oh I like that churlish back bit!

  14. I think I SHOULD have written that post! I should myself a lot - unconsciously more than consciously. I if followed my shoulds I would be someone else completely!
    take care,

  15. Just been catching up again.

    blue + Nina Simone? yeah. but also, how dare you show off so? Minus 13C here at night, I'm still cut off.

    Not going to a party because you have to go on your own? shame on you, whatever happened to independence and sisters doing it for themselves? unless you really didn't want to go, of course. In which case, well-done.

    Should? bother that!
    Good luck with the hair.

  16. i hate regrets. i love this post. i hope your hair stays put.

  17. Hi
    It might be a pleasure moment for you to overcome all should. Really a strong determination can do such things zestfully.

    Go ahead and keep it up...

    Walion Irishuq


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