Winter 2015: “Letting Go of Worry” High School Winner Rechanne Waddell

Read Rechanne's essay in poetic form, "Doctor's Orders," about the impact that worry has on her and her family.

Rechanne Waddell, a student of Ruqayya Gibson at Cypress Springs High School in Cypress, Texas, read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article “Life After Worry” by Akaya Windwood. Windwood shares that worrying never changed the outcome of whatever she worried about. She discovers that when she replaces worry with trust she can be more present for her sister who has MS. And her friends, co-workers, and family find her more clear-headed, creative, and strong.

Writing Prompt: Think of the things you worry about. What is one worry you’d like to throw away? What would you replace your worry with, and what would you—and possibly those around you— gain by not having that worry in your life?


Doctor’s Orders


Worrying is a curse. It is a drug of its own. 

It feels good, at first, but then becomes something of a habit, no, 

an unconscious ritual that haunts and stalks the mind. 

It tacks down all dreams, keeping them pinned on the ground when they’re meant to float and soar galore. 

This drug, this curse, this addiction, this enemy 

is taking out so many that are blinded to it. They just can’t see. 

But how could I blame them? The same thing’s happened to me.


College is supposed to be an exciting new adventure. 

Worry has turned that once picturesque image into a never-ending pool of fear, 

better known as a nightmare. 

With deadlines, requirements, it can make or break a future. 

This all fuels Worry’s flame even more.


Worry clouds my mind, 

sending chills up my spine, 

making me fear and dread tomorrow. 

And when I tell this to my mom I can see her beautiful face fill up with sorrow. 


In the silence I can hear her say 

“You are working too hard” 

But I’m only working hard for you 

“You are stressing so much” 

But I can handle it

“You’re scaring me so much…” 

I’m scaring myself too

“…and if you keep going at this rate you’re going to die like He did too.” 


He was my uncle. He wanted to be the best. 

He rose from the ghetto and broke the levee 

showing all what a Doctor he could be. 

He let the worry pile up. 

He worried for his patients, his family, his self, and his future.

He let the worry pile up. 

He let the worry pile on him. 

He was my uncle. 

He wanted to be the best. 

He was my uncle who Worry laid to rest. 


The last thoughts of seeing my uncle cold and dead aren’t the best 

but, I remember coming home in my little Sunday dress 

to see my mom cry. 

My dad tried to console her but you could see the hurt in her eyes. 


This proud little six year old squeezed her mom tight, 

telling her that everything would be alright. 

I remember telling my mom, “Why worry? Don’t cry. It doesn’t live here,” 

I pointed to my heart, “because Uncle told me to have no fear.” 


This seemed a lot easier to say at six years old. 

But at seventeen I want it to ring in my heart strong and bold. 

I want Love’s warm embrace to comfort my heart, 

and for Worry and I to drift apart. 

Worry’s infamous killers 

— heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, and premature death — 

that have struck my family won’t strike me. 

I can’t let it. I won’t let it. Life is the scary journey 

which I have to make. 

No longer can I, or will I, cower when I make a mistake. 


How simpler, how happy, how fulfilling life will be, 

when I choose now and forever to live worry free. 

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