Recently I saw a report on a survey that specified how 40 percent of the things we worry about never come to pass, 30 percent are in the past and, therefore, out of our control (my least favorite phrase in the English language), 12 percent concern others, 10 percent are about sickness–either real or imagined– and 8 percent are actually worth worrying about.
If that percentage were a pie chart, I think I'd have several extra slices of actual worry.
Another similar report said "85% of the things we worry about never come to pass." I spend a lot of time worrying. If so much of that time has gone wasted, why am I compelled to continue pacing back and forth, convinced the worst lies on the horizon?
Part of me thinks it's the curse of the overactive imagination. The brain that refuses to be idle, instead paints despair on it's loneliest walls. And part of me is convinced this is our greatest defense mechanism: If we eliminate that consistent nagging, in the back of our minds, if we stop acknowledging the negative and things turn sour, we leave ourselves vulnerable to hurt. Not only that, but, isn't it our fault, then? In a world where we are far too quick to lay blame, and far too harsh on people, we are faster and crueler when it come to ourselves.
So, how do you rewrite the dialogue? Where is the finely faulted line-- and why do we, so often, teeter over it? And where do we go when when we don't know who else to blame? Or when the blame game's gotten old?
Weeks before all the biggest events (competitions, meetings, interviews, the first day of school) stress ulcers begin popping up all over my mouth. While not a visual malady (unless you're checking out my gum-line) it's a constant reminder that I don't know what's coming next. Plus, it hurts to smile.
Is that what Emo-teens say?
As I've grow older, I'd love to tell you my outlook has grown healthier. But it's still a work in progress.
Today, sitting in front of applications and deadlines and the kinds of personal statements that delve too deep, I can recognize I'm working. I can pray I'm progressing.
Today, I can only get myself to eat foods that are shaped like muffins. Luckily, my fridge is filled with muffins shaped foods, as if I knew I'd need to hide under a too-old-comforter and think too-old-thoughts.
As if I knew happy-shaped foods could make me happy. I think I'm willing myself to get there faster than my worrying will allow.
Growing up tastes like oatmeal. Good, unless too watery. And, right now, it's raining. So I'm happily inside. Happily watching letters scuttle productively into words. And, as time makes this home grow right before my eyes, I'm trying to accept that happiness is okay.
A very wise drunk friend recently told me that it's hard to accept happiness and maybe she's right. But I can accept worry.
Worry is a safe middle ground. That way, if we're wrong, we were just being cautious. And, if we're right, we knew all along.
But this version of my voice is so jaded. It's not full of the hope that I swear still saturates my vision, as I walk through the city.
Maybe I'm writing to warn you.
Maybe I'm writing to request your approval.
Maybe I'm writing to wish this worrying away.
Maybe it won't.
Maybe you can't.
Maybe some day.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal. Married to my best friend and planning a lifetime of adventure!