Slaying the Worry Dragon

13 Feb

I wasn’t sure how I felt about calling Worry a Dragon. It seems kind of inappropriate and someone might laugh because there is some type of scandalous context I’m missing. Suddenly, everyone’s snickering, laughing at me behind my back. I lose my credibility and they never visit my blog again. My blunder spreads through the book world and I start to cultivate a bit of a reputation. No one takes me seriously and all my lifelong dreams and pursuits evaporate into one misguided attempt at a title, which was only ever formulated in the hopes of making you all feel better about worrying. With my reputation a disgrace, my friends and family leave me, and I end up living in a paddleboat in the middle of a river. I can’t swim.

*takes a deep breath*

If you’re still with me… Welcome. And I think you can see how that ridiculous paragraph translates rather well into my topic. Worrying.

I battle Worry how I imagine I would slay a dragon.

I’d put on all the gear, sharpen my blade, and chant internally that I can do this. Nothing like a little positive thinking.

But then when I finally find the dragon’s lair, I imagine my battling going something like this:

I hold out my sword with my aching arm (well out of reach of the dragon, since I can’t actually see the dragon yet).

I didn’t train hard enough for this. I had no idea how heavy a sword could get. I’m already tired, thinking about taking a nap.

The dragon roars, and I see fire sizzle out of the cave entrance. The heat snaps me out of my daydream.

I secure my ridiculously heavy metal helmet. It has a facemask type thing, which makes it so I can’t really see, because isn’t that always how it goes?

It looks like this is it. The creature roars again, still out of sight.

The Big Battle.

The moment I show the dragon, I’m the boss.

So what do I do?

I peer somewhere off into the distance, not focusing on the cave, and I swing the sword around, hoping, praying, desperately wishing, that I’ll beat the dragon.

And that’s kind of how I slay Worry. Flailing and without a true plan of attack. In fact, I’m destined to lose.

Worry can be as big as any dragon. And it’s just as dangerous.

I am a Champion Worrier. The only part that sucks is that I don’t really get anything for the title, and I have rather long, tedious conversations in my head like I showed up above in the first paragraph.

I dwell. I cry out internally. I throw myself down on the ground in defeat (only in my head, of course. I never throw tantrums. *coughs*).

If I had my choice, I’d curl up into a ball and hide in the corner with a fuzzy blanket and music for comfort. I’d plug my ears and yell, “I can’t hear you!”

Not because I’m rude. I have a rather guilty conscience. If I do something and feel badly about it, I dwell and well, worry… for hours and hours.

I don’t plug my ears because I don’t want to hear you. I do it out self-preservation. As I think we all do at times when we’ve reached our max.

One more word from someone and we’re going to explode. We plug our ears for their own good. Of course, they don’t realize it. Ridiculous peeps.

We’re flailing and struggling, and there’s so much ANGST. I hate calling it that because I wasn’t very good at being a teenager when I was an actual teenager. But that’s really the only emotion to define the feeling.

It’s a sense of desperation, a sense of being misunderstood, a sense of yearning to be more than ourselves.

I experience these things even in adulthood, and it makes me a little irritable because nobody warned me.

All I wanted to do was grow up. Then I got here and it was like… Really? This is it?

There are great things about adulthood, but one thing that isn’t great is all the Worry.

I can’t stem the what-ifs.

All of a sudden, randomly at one point in the day, my heart stops. I’m like… I’m wearing a pink shirt. OMG. I read on Twitter that wearing a pink shirt means I hate people with blue eyes. OMG. A major news network just tweeted that if I’m wearing pink I hate people with blue eyes. OMG. Everyone at my office has blue eyes. They’re all staring at me. OMG. I’m going to get fired. OMG. They just passed a law that hating people with blue eyes is illegal. OMG. OMG. OMG.

*panic flail*

And of course, the above is really dramatic. The probability of this ever happening is slight. But this is how the Worry Dragon strikes. It starts with something simple, and then it builds and builds, until I want to scream or cry or curl up in a little ball.

There are so many things we have to patrol now. So many things we have to know to protect ourselves. I can’t help but panic at the sheer vastness. Never have we had to be so accountable for our words and actions.

Everything we set free on the internet, everything we say… It’s all there forever. A stain on us, even if what we said never had any premeditated negative connotations.

This can drive someone like me bananas.

And what’s my plan of attack? Flailing with an imaginary sword I’m not even properly equipped to handle.

The only way I can sometimes move past these mind-numbing internal monologues is to tell people. To free them into the world. Usually in person, because I don’t want a lot of this on record.

Once I’ve released them into the wild, for the first time, I can laugh. Laughter is really the only way to battle back the Worry Dragon.

Which is why I try to bring humor into this blog (you’ll note I qualified that with ‘try’).

I had a really tough day yesterday. I felt like I was falling into a pit of Worry.

The interesting/sad part is that the things that sweep me away into the Worry Sea? None of them have ever happened. Yes, several bad things happened in 2012. Horrible things. 2012 was not a good year for my family. But those things that happened? I never saw them coming.

I never worried over them. I worried about 800,000 other things that didn’t happen.

The Dragon won. Damn, Dragon. I will attack you with my lacking sword!

What do you guys think? Can you relate to all the senseless worry? Some people (like my husband, who I’m jealous of) just seem to strut through their life, never letting anything bother them (I’m not sure I believe this, but by all accounts he swears he rarely worries about things he can’t control).

I think some of us are more sensitive.

That sensitivity has the capacity for great things. But that sensitivity also has consequences, as does anything in life.

Do you have any techniques for battling the Worry Dragon?

A lot of the time I just want to take a deep breath and relax! But my overactive imagination always soars again to see another day. Instead of flying over the danger, I always plummet right into the dragon.

I would have made a horrible knight. Maybe an okay damsel. But dang it, I’d rather be the knight!

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)


11 Responses to “Slaying the Worry Dragon”

  1. Lisa Kessler February 13, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Sorry about all the worry Kinley!!! *HUGS*

    It’s funny I never realized I had neurotic tendencies until I signed a publishing contract! LOL We writers can make ourselves crazy!!!

    When I feel the anxiety rise, I try to work on things that I CAN control, like turning on my music and writing a couple of new pages, or fixing my website, or doing laundry…

    Being able to have control over something, anything, usually quiets the worry dragon for me and empowers me that I’ll be all right whatever comes my way…

    And you know my email address, reach out when you need a shoulder…


    Lisa 😉

    • kinleybaker February 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Aww, thanks, Lisa. I know exactly what you mean. When I got my first round of edits I had my first ever panic attack. 🙂

      I’ve also found that music and writing really helps. It’s a type of escape that keeps me grounded.

      I appreciate the offer, Lisa. I think part of it is not keeping it all inside. We’re all in this together. 😀

      • Lisa Kessler February 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

        Exactly!!! And by sharing it with someone else it sort of sucks all the “power” out of the worry. It’s much scarier in our heads than it is out in the world…

        Hang in there!


        Lisa 🙂

  2. Diana Beebe February 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Slay that worry dragon, Kinley! Sometimes worrying too much prevents us from moving forward. Laugh more and let the small stuff fall away. I love your sense of humor about it. There’s no reason why you can’t be the damsel and the knight!

    Also, I thought that same thing about growning up…”This is it?” LOL

    • kinleybaker February 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Lol, Diana! I’m glad I’m not the only one. Adulthood is great, but it comes with a lot that’s hard to comprehend as a kid. I’ll keep on laughing. 😉 And I appreciate the encouragement. I’ll be the knight AND the damsel.

  3. Ryan King February 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I think how you tackle worry all comes down to perspective and self-esteem. Ever wonder why you worry? Given what you’ve said here, it seems like you require external validation or approval. That it itself is okay but just make sure you have internal too in order to balance it out. I’m like your husband when it comes to worry. For me, why should I worry about something I can’t control? And if it is something I can control, all I can do is my best and if it flops then it does. Worry just adds stress. Just be you and be the best you that you can be. Sometimes you’ll fail. Sometimes you’ll succeed. No sense in postulating how the coin will fall. Good luck!

    • kinleybaker February 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      I agree, Ryan. And I think the external validation I look for is that it’s all going to be okay. 🙂 I think everyone has to figure out how to deal with that and get to the place where they can make it okay themselves. I’ll keep working on it.

  4. lynnkelleyauthor February 13, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Yep, I’m such a worry wart, too. I think being a writer, our imaginations just get carried away. So many what-if scenarios! Good grief. Maybe we need a Worry Fairy to come take all our worries away! Then we’d worry about her spilling fairy worry dust all over the house and making a mess. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. The worries need a black hole to suck them all out of our lives! Another fun post, Kinley. And I love the little pink polka-dot background on your blog.

    • kinleybaker February 14, 2013 at 3:13 am #

      Hi Lynn! I completely agree. My imagination gets carried away for sure. I would take up that Worry Fairy every now and then when I need a break from story telling. I’m glad you like the background!


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