A Letter to Fear and Worry

Who, me, worried?

Dear Fear and Worry,

You are uninvited guests. You show up at terrible times and try to steal my attention. You sneak into my mind and the minds of my friends and family. My best friends and my therapist are my 911 calls, doing what they can to help me with my mental trespassers.

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Fear, you are so fast and stealthy. Sometimes, I think you’re always here, hiding behind the bushes. You pop out when I’m least expecting you and you fire up my systems. My heart begins to pound and my face gets flushed. I don’t want to die before my parents. I have things I want to see, and you know this. “What if?” you whisper. “Let's just run away” “Imagine the pain.”

Then you appear, Worry. I used to think you and fear were the same, but you aren’t. You lumber in, touching everything and knocking things over. Distracting me to the point that I forget to exercise, shower, or cook. You see that I’m hungry and offer me the Thin Mints. I call my emergency numbers, but if Nikki and the other girls are busy, I take the cookies and have them for dinner. Unfortunately, when I have junk food for dinner, we both get bigger. While fear nags at my sense of immediate survival, you want to talk about the future. “What are those boys going to do without you?” “Gosh, your mom and dad must be tired.” “What if your niece doesn’t remember you when you’re gone?”

I've always said that a "partial sleeve of thin mints" exists only as a theoretical construct.

I blog. I write your names onto the page. I give you enough room to dance around for a few minutes, but then I write some replies to the nagging questions and remind you that the time isn’t here yet. I poke a little fun at you. I check my calendar for three things:

1.     Therapy and writing appointments

2.     Scheduled time with family and friends

3.     Anti-cookie sessions with my fitness coach

Now, I write a wicked sharp closing paragraph where I remind you how many people I have on my side. I tell you to shut the hell up and that if you want to hang out here, you have to stay in the garage until it's time to go to therapy, where I will look you in the eye and talk about your concerns.

While you wait in the garage, I am going to finish that sleeve of Thin Mints and text my teacher girlfriends to find out the latest school gossip. Because cancer may be slowly taking my life, but it will not take up my time.


The girl with a cookie in one hand and her phone in the other

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