A tall girl should stand up straight
A guy who likes you should call.
A pretty girl should smile.
An almost pretty girl should smile more.
A girl who wants to be noticed should wear makeup, not glasses.
A girl with hair as blonde as yours should wear eyeliner.
A person with cool skin tones should wear warm colors.
A friend who invites you to stay with them should be nice to you.
On a sunny day, you should go outside.
You should feel bad about not being in the life of your friend’s son, like you said you would.
You should hate them for what they did.
You should feel bad about how he said, that most recent guy, that he was no longer attracted to you.
You shouldn’t test people. You shouldn’t push people. You should hide the severity of your thoughts.
You should starve before eating other people’s food.
You should have done more with your graduate degree.
You should have savings, by age 33, instead of $25,000 in debt.
You should have been a better planner.
You should have been a better investor.
You should have been a better friend and not been so difficult.
You should have figured out how to save the world and done it by now.
You should have figured out how to make a lot of money without working for someone else.
You should have joined a company and just stopped thinking.
You should have done a PhD and taught.
You should have had a novel finished by now.
You should have had more boyfriends. You are cute enough. What is wrong with you?
You should have spent less time thinking about yourself. Your self.
You should have found a way to work it out with your sister.
You should have not told that last guy when you were hurt or upset.
You should have learned to just enjoy sex for its own sake by now.
You should have waited until it was obvious the sex would be meaningful.
You should be married with babies by now.
You should have given more to the people you met. You know, just accepted them more.
You should have more fun, be more light-hearted.
You should have enough energy and be mentally healthy enough to get out there and really live.
You should have written more at the writing residency. You shouldn’t have tried to find romance while you were there. You should have been okay going to bed alone.
You should have found a way to tell off those people you’ve lived with who have been so bossy and controlling, instead of being steamrolled.
You should have never had to live with other people. You should have figured out how to make a lot of money and live alone by now.
You shouldn’t judge fat people.
You should never become fat.
You should be more like Matthew Dickman, his book of poems in in the Harvard bookstore. And he went to VSC.
You should be more like Christina Olson. She has her shit together. And a book of poems.
You should be more like Rachel Ephraim. She is getting married, and writes good fiction, and lives in Brooklyn.
You should be more like any woman who can actually keep a man.
You should be more like Tom Hanks. In fact, you should be Tom Hanks.
You should have written better poems.
You should have published a book by now.
You should have figured out how to inspire Nick Witkowski.
You should have made huge strides in becoming famous and simultaneously changing the world by now.
You should have memorized more poetry.
You should have had sex with less people.
You should have had sex with more people.
You should have never moved home with your parents for three years. That was bad.
You should have known who he was and what he would do to you from the first time you talked. And you did, which means you should have been stronger and just walked away.
You should be writing every morning and making lots of money every afternoon and having fun every evening.
You should have all the resources, food, and money you want.
You should have throngs of people listening to you.
You should have real power and influence in this world.
You should have been funnier, cooler, more interesting when the funny, cool, interesting people were around.
You should be calmer, more zen, have better self-esteem. After all the work you’ve done on yourself.
You should have the means to do whatever you want, including help others.
You shouldn’t need help from anyone.
You should be happier.
You should be prettier.
You should be smarter.
You should be clearer about purpose, about who you are.
You should be more who you are.
You should be who they want you to be, then you’d be less lonely.
You should listen to …