I’m not so sure how not to worry. I often tell myself that nothing really matters in the end, except maybe my happiness, and then I start worrying that in the process of harnessing my happiness I will trample all over the happiness of another person. It doesn’t work.

I don’t remember when I started to worry. I don’t know if it’s something within me or learned behavior from my mother constantly yelling at me to stay away from the road (while I was far away from the road), or to walk -- NOT RUN -- around the perimeter of the pool (when I always walked -- not ran) or to get straight A's because if I didn't, I would never be accepted to college, and if I didn't go to college, I would end up working in a factory screwing caps onto bottles of bubbles like her friend from high school. A bubble bottle factory. It took years for me to realize that my life would never end up in a dead end like that. At 28, the concept of telling a 5 year old that she would end up with a factory job seems so bizarre to me that I wonder if my parents knew I was a child at all.

In 2nd grade, my best friend began playing with a new group of girls in another class. We bonded together because we both were a full head taller than everyone else our age, and we loved the same music. I laughed until my gut hurt with her. She was always getting into trouble, and I was constantly reminding her of how functional people behaved. We were our own Odd Couple, and when the new girls repeated some of my own hilarious stories to me, she kicked her leg at me so that sand covered my face, mouth, eyes. I started crying and went to my teacher.

None of the adults saw and no one believed me.

After that I would worry about what other things people wouldn’t believe. I worried about being jobless, about being hurt, about being bullied, about finding an abandoned baby or animal and not being able to carry it home myself. There was so much relying on other people believing me and there was no promise that they would.

That’s one of those things that never changes, a constant throughout our lives. There’s no promise that anyone will believe how you feel, how sincerely you feel about this one thing, how much you put into it, how much it mattered, even for only a moment.