Worry Worry

I should be so happy right now, but I worry over the little things.  I blame my mother because she always worried so.  Truth is, sure I learned it from her, but I never unlearned it.  I never stopped worrying even when I wanted to or knew I should.  There’s plenty of things in this life to worry over – health, love, death, those are the things worth worrying about.  Logically I know this.  It doesn’t stop me from worrying over traffic, time, work things; the little things that I so desperately need to learn to let go of.  It’s not even about control, it’s more that when I don’t worry I get burned.  But the worry is burning me just as deeply, just slower and more painstakingly so.

I’m 37 years old and honestly wouldn’t be shocked if I had a heart attack.  That sounds awful.  I mean I don’t want one, who wants to have a heart attack.  I’m not wishing for one, but I am too stressed.  I need to relax.  I don’t just mean the kind of relaxing you do on vacation.  – That ends when I return home and the worrying starts.  “How much is waiting for me at work? Did that bill ever get mailed? Shouldn’t I have received that phone call by now? Wasn’t that medication due to be refilled? Why is insurance not allowing a refill? Why is this traffic light always red when I’m late? Why does the garbage guy show up just when I want to pull out of the driveway? etc etc etc”  I’m doing it now, tonight, at 9:24 PM.  I’m thinking about my workday and all the things that did or didn’t go right.  I’m thinking about to fix them or how it’ll all play out tomorrow.  I’m checking email.  I’m downloading applications, configuring things, and I’m doing this stuff to in my mind prevent some imminent disaster.  Except, it’s not.  The disaster is still probably going to happen.  Is it really a disaster? Probably not, but it’ll likely feel like one when it happens.

So maybe it’s not so much that I worry too much, but rather that I let things mean too much.  If the work issues weren’t so important to me, than I wouldn’t worry, right? But who doesn’t want to be successful and do a good job and make someone proud?

How can I stop the constant stress if I can’t pinpoint the big issue that most needs to be addressed to stop it? Is it the worrying? Is that I’m a control freak? Is it both? Is it something entirely different, like the fact that I simply don’t shut my mind off well?

I always wondered how others do it.  If I’m working on a project and it’s not going well, for whatever the reason, I want to try to fix it or at least provide some kind of mitigation strategy to protect against the issues arising.  If those issues and the source of them are entirely out of my control, and the disaster is happening regardless of anything I could or couldn’t do to prevent it, why is it so hard for me to step aside and watch the train crash (metaphorically of course)? The other day my boss said I needed to step outside the train and be watching the crash instead of trying to drive the train car.  To which I responded, “but if my children are on the train, how can I in all good faith simply leave them to crash?” She said, “because you have to stop looking at the work situation and your coworkers as your children.”  So how do you care less? I mean of course you still need to care on some level, but how when you always cared maybe a little too much, do you tone it back down?

I’ve gotten a little better as I aged.  I’m better at bad stress now – ya know the things you can’t expect or plan for, the things most everyone else would totally and justifiably stress out over.  Those things I handle well.  It’s the things that shouldn’t be so big, that seem big, which I don’t often knock down in perspective.  Logically I know they aren’t that big.  The world won’t end if something goes wrong at work.  The world will still spin if  I run late tomorrow.  My head is starting to spin now.

I’ve tried yoga.  I’ve been told to meditate.  These are all nice things, but they haven’t had the long-term guidance and impact I’m looking for.  In the moment, when the little things feel big, how do you squash them like the annoying painful stinging bug they are? That’s what I need to learn.  Suggestions welcome.

Ebenezer

I had a dream today.
It took me back in time.
I remembered the very moment when
I messed up everything that could have been mine.

The only difference between myself
and that classic holiday tale
is that Ebenezer could be saved
and I have always failed.

In real life there is no going back.
I can’t undo my greatest mistake.
I can only dream of what should have been
And hope that I don’t awake.

For in my dreams I’m a wife and mother.
In my dreams, I never walked away.
In my dreams, he became my lover
and I never went astray.

Too stuck in my past
Too confused by the wrong man.
In a delusion that wouldn’t last,
I walked away and never looked back.

A few years ago I finally apologized.
My words too little too late to fix fate.
At least today I know where he is and that he’s happy.
But my awakening was far far too late.

Unlike Mr. Scrooge, my fate is all but sealed.
I’m a shell of who I could have been.
Too much like who I used to be,
Too much like I was then.

I’m single.  I’m overweight.
I look in the mirror and feel nothing.
For how do I not hate,
The person who made such a horrible mistake.

I slap on a smile, maybe even a laugh.
I have moments of happiness.
But none that will ever really last.
I’m just an old fool, lonely and afraid.

I work myself to death,
No one cares or respects.
I am in a career limbo
on top of everything else.

If only the ghost of Christmas past,
Could rewrite history for me.
I’d go back to that night at dinner,
Ever present, open, and loving I’d be.

I’d walk away from the wrong guy,
I’d give the right one a real chance.
I’d accept someone so kind to me,
For it was apparently my last dance.

But we can’t go back in time.
I can never make it right.
I must watch someone else live
what should have been my life.

I could have been a wife, a mother, been loved.
I could have had a family all my own.
I wouldn’t wonder what happiness could be like.
I wouldn’t ever have to be alone.

But I made a horrible judgement,
I continued mistake after mistake.
We can’t go back in time.
We can never ever erase.

And I feel like I’m old and bitter.
I feel about 83.
Because I think my life is stagnant,
And this is all it’ll ever be.

Coloring outside the lines

Why is it we have all these hopes dreams and aspirations for our lives, and we constantly plan for the future? We talk about settling down, having family’s, our career paths, but we don’t ever talk about just living life each day to the fullest. There’s that moment when you’re forced to come face-to-face with reality that life is short. You think it would wake you up. You think it would change you and maybe it does for a short while. Then it seems we forget again as easily as we were warned.

No one ever wishes to be sick or to get a difficult diagnosis. It’s not a pleasant thing. There’s very little positive in that, but it’s a wake up call. So what happens when we go back to sleep?

Do you ever just wish you could get in the car and drive, not come back, enjoy the freedom? You could feel the wind, the sun, the rain and let the car take you wherever it’s going to take you just like in the movies. I want to be spontaneous not because being spontaneous is a fabulous trait or something I want to work on, but because I feel trapped sometimes. Trapped in the life I’ve built. It’s not as if it’s a bad life, just so defined. I want to color outside the lines. I want to walk on a ledge. I want to feel before it’s too late. And sometimes I’m not sure I know how anymore.

To speak the truth

The words laid on the tip of my tongue,

but I was unable to speak.

My heart was beating faster inside my chest,

And my body started to feel weak.

My hands were sweating and shaking as never before,

The fear started to consume me.

I told myself the truth would set me free,

But wonder if I was lying.

I knew there was but one moment to speak the words,

Despite my fears I had to say them aloud.

They stumbled out uncontrolled, broken.

My face looked shocked; I actually did it.

I stared deep into his eyes looking for hope.

The silence ate away at my stomach like acid.

My deepest fears were realized, my heart exposed.

I was wishing I could erase those last few moments.

The words he spoke next didn’t matter.

I heard, but did not listen, didn’t register.

They weren’t the words I’d prayed for

And the mortification consumed me.

I nodded along to feign understanding.

I waited for that safe moment to escape, melt away.

But worse than the moment of realization,

Was losing out on the dream of what I most desired.

There’s no going back now.

In that one moment I erased my hope, my dreams

And I bulldozed my present reality.

No words can describe the intensity of that pain.

He walked away and I stood frozen, unable to move.

My eyes teared up; I sank to the floor.

I think my heart stopped beating, if but for a moment.

My world pulverized; I bled visibly, deeply, uncontrollably.

The Night Song

I lie in the backyard, darkness all around me.

Staring up at the night sky, the constellations.

In the background the music plays, I hum along.

I am but a tiny piece of a grander puzzle.

And every day I wish I could give more, be more, do more,

but in the end, I’m simply lucky to be doing anything at all.

In this moment the beauty of the song overtakes me.

I sing aloud and the words consume my soul.

The song is close, personal, true to my life.

The night is my dearest friend.

I’m safe and happy in this world I’ve created for such a short while.

I’m a star too, shining as brightly as those in the sky.

In this moment, my dreams are real; the song is mine.

I am not someone just singing along to any old song,

it’s my anthem, my theme song and I’m singing with the passion of the writer.

My words have power, show pain, show love, show everything.

They are the window to the real me.

And as I sing them the world can see me truly, if not for the night sky sheltering me.

I hide here afraid to shine, afraid to grow.

And when the song ends the star fades away again into the sea of so many.

 

A prayer for the sick

I gaze up at the stars above,

Wishing they could see me through.

Their light could guide me to brighter days,

And melt the darkness of night away.

I’ve heard the fateful words again,

Too much, too soon, too often.

First in a friend whose paid his price,

He fought this battle, now fights it twice.

Then perhaps again in my father.

I’m not sure I can handle another.

This ugly beast, this awful disease

I wish we could erase, oh please.

Lord, I’ve spent so many days trying to understand.

I’ve raised money, I’ve walked, I’ve cried, I’ve held others’ hands.

I’ve prayed in every Church and every corner,

I’ve spent nights in tears or completely dried out.

It never seems to stop touching those I love.

Even I’ve had the words thrown out at me.

Cancer is an evil entity,

And yet it never really dies.

It haunts the worlds of those who’ve known it.

It lurks in the shadows waiting to attack.

It’s beastly in abounding ways.

I keep trying to fight back.

The world has many a great things,

wondrous oceans, jungles, forests.

There are precious children,

Innocent young minds to mold.

Lives to live, love to be had.

but this evil still finds a hold.

It’s true it can make you stronger.

I’ve seen that many times.

But it’s a never-ending battle

Even if the cancer isn’t mine.

Lord tonight I pray,

for all who suffer and for all who’ve hurt

from this dreadful disease.

Lord, take them in your heart and hands,

keep them near and make them whole.

Fill them with love, happiness, and never let go.