Thursday, May 10, 2012

Worry

My son uses an expression, "vortex of suckage."  I appreciate how emphatically it sidesteps ambivalence.  Worry has to own major real estate in that vortex.  It is possibly the poorest use of human resources.  I know it is the worst use of mine.

Cat versions of Guatemalan worry dolls.
Worry is a state of mind that almost proves demonic possession.  What, on an ordinary day full of promise and possibility, can cause a semi-normal senior citizen to make the mental leap into an unknowable future and start gnawing on bad outcomes as though there was nourishment to be found there?  Monkey mind.  Reptilian brain.  Like Odysseus, it becomes necessary to lash one's self to the mast of this very moment so as not to stray into places where trouble awaits.  Worry's call is that convincing, insistent and, perhaps to some, seductive.

Over time I have become more skilled at eluding its grasp.  I am much less inclined to put energy into frightening myself than I once was; the only payoff is anxiety which becomes sleeplessness, palpitations, dread, discouragement, defeat.  The wearing of tin foil hats makes a lot of sense, if it stops even one negative thought from forming.


Worry has not swallowed me whole, yet, today and likely will not.   But, quoting Princess Leia, it's "...foul stench" is enough to set off the alarms.  It is a task to combine vigilance with the ideal lazy, punting-on-the Thames existence.  The trick is always to know just where you are - and where you are not.  If whatever you hear shrieking that its hair is on fire is not actually in the room, it is worry.  Let it go.  I will try to do the same.

15 comments:

Melissa Green said...

Oh, Marylinn, it's such a horrible state of mind. I hope writing about it today took a little of its power away. The old story is if you can say the secret name of the demon, its strength diminishes. You've done that very well--I expect this anxiety to leach away. It's the tin foil hats that will do it. And yes, like you must lash yourself to the mast. I recommend duct tape. xoxo

Melissa Green said...

like Odysseus, you must lash yourself to the mast, I meant to write. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - You can't let it get a toehold, the old "give 'em an inch..." I need to look for an iconic illustration of worry, to match Peter Pain. And of course, duct tape. I shall try not to lash myself, easier said than done. xo

susan t. landry said...

i was hoping that putting it out here was helpful, too.
i wish you would design a horrid little Worry Wart and put him up herefor us to stick pins in.
i imagine him as all bluster and nastiness on the outside, but rather timid and ashamed of himself underneath...

Claire Beynon said...

Dear Marylinn - ouch. I echo what Melissa and Susan have already said. Giving Worry a name and/or a form will transfer him from the Inside to the Outside where you can disempower him by yelling at him or - if your yelling voice is dimmed - turn your back on him till he withers and skulks away. Either way, we join forces with you in telling him in no uncertain terms to take his leave of you. Much love to you and to your sore back. . . and a tin whistle to go with the tin foil hat. Music, we know, is healing and can chase away the things that so unkindly plague us. xo

Jayne said...

Making "...the mental leap into an unknowable future and start gnawing on bad outcomes as though there was nourishment to be found there?"

Boy you've pegged it Marylinn. I feel like I'm always on high alert. And should probably drop Vigilance altogether. After all, he's been very bad to me and he has zero sense of humor. I'll call my lawyer in the morning.

Thank you for this counsel, Marylinn.

Hannah Stephenson said...

I am so glad to read this today....thank you.

grrl + dog said...

I like that phrase,

vortex of suckage. I need to work it into some sentences...

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - I wonder if fear and worry have any shame. They certainly do pack a great deal of bluster. I have drawn fear, what a nasty piece of business, and will need to give form to his unindicted co-conspirator. Personally, I'd rather nuke 'em from orbit, but that's probably not the best idea. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Thank you for the tin whistle, which I will pretend to know how to play. Music is such a component of the antidote; hence the afterthought interlude post. Something that pleases me is always playing in my head. Without that, I'm sure the little demons would really buckle themselves in. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - Your plan to detach from vigilance has given me the idea for a post, for which I shall credit you. Maybe we can get a group rate from the lawyer. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Hannah - Thank you. It is a rare day that these loathsome freeloaders don't hang about, waiting for the buffet to open. Wishing you short and infrequent visits from the likes of them. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - You will find so many circumstances for which it is a perfect fit. Should I say, too many, but there it is. xo

RachelVB said...

I am making my tin foil hat as we speak.
xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - A multi-purpose, first line of defense. And with available materials. (a line from ANNIE HALL, when Alvy asks, "Are we driving through plutonium?") Be prepared. xo