The Gummy Worm
December 18, 2012 by
Categories: Miscellaneous

Back in May, I wrote a post about the emotional worm, what I blame for causing the feeling of despair and hopelessness that negatively distorts everything around you. A close friend of mine has been using this language with me since then. When one of us begin feeling the worm creep up, we simply say to the other “the worm”, and we immediately know what the other is talking about. Even though she is now living many states away, we still send the word through text message in order to encourage some empathetic banter.

This past weekend, I was visiting her in the big city, and as we were riding the subway, she let me know the worm was with her. As we talked about what was causing the worm (common causes are stress, conflict with loved ones, a feeling of disconnection), I gradually began thinking about a Boggart. Stay with me, I’ll be quick.

A boggart is a shape-shifting creature that appeared in the third Harry Potter book that could only be beaten with the use of laughter. The object would take the shape of your worst fear, and you had to turn it into something that would make you laugh in order to beat it. A common example was it took the form of a giant spider, and Ron turned it into a spider with tap shoes.

Even if you are not a fan of Harry Potter (and why is that again?), we all can agree on the brilliance of J. K. Rowling. What a perfect solution to the worm. After sharing this memory with my friend, she began picturing the emotional worm as a candy gummy worm, and you know what? It worked.

We immediately began laughing and – with a little cynicism and bitterness – making fun of the worm. Who needs it, right? Not us.

Now of course, laughing at the worm isn’t going to make it disappear completely. The stress, conflict, or disconnection is still there, and more steps must be taken in order to cope with those experiences in an effective, long-term way. But when the worm as a hold of you, it can be difficult to see a way out of the deep darkness. Laughter can loosen the worm’s grip, allowing you to see some of light.

And also, beware of the gummy worm… because now all I want to do is eat one.

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