I went in to see my counselor yesterday. I see her every two weeks or so since Marty died. We usually end up talking like girlfriends, just kind of chatting about life, what's going on in the world, and how it relates to me specifically. Oddly enough, I don't complain about my mother too often. Weird.

Every time I come in to talk to her I get the feeling she is trying to figure me out. She asks me why I do certain things in the way that I do them. I always tell her, thinking that I am giving her an answer, but she never seems satisfied. It's as if I haven't really answered the question. But today we made some progress. I think she might finally understand me.

I was telling her that I always seem to be a couple years behind everyone else my age. I didn't get my driver's permit until I was 21! I didn't get my license til I was 23! Got my first car when I was 24. I still don't have the college degree that I should have gotten about 3 years ago. I don't do anything until I am ready. It's a terrible thing but I cannot help it. When I entered her office this time I was all excited because I had started substitute teaching and I am enjoying it. It is something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. And I thought that maybe, just maybe if I kept doing the subbing thing for awhile I would finally get in that ready mindset so that I can finally get focused on finishing up a degree. It was during this conversation that she asked me a question that provoked me to say the following words:

I'm going to say something now and you are going to think to yourself 'Why in the world is she telling me this? What does this have to do with anything?' But I will tell you anyway.
When I was 13 or 14 I went to The Great Escape with my mom, my little sister and my little brother. They wanted to go on this ride called the Raging River. I looked at the ride on the amusement park map and it showed these people on inner tubes just floating around on a body of water, seemingly with no one to guide them but themselves. There was a giant waterfall at one end of the water. I was scared to death of this ride. I thought, there is no way that I can maneuver myself through this ride. What if I fall down that waterfall? What if I fall off the tube and get sucked over the edge? I cannot do this, I will not ride this without my dad.

So I told my mom that I wouldn't go on the ride without my dad and that we would have to wait til tommorrow. My little brother and sister both looked at me like I was crazy. I didn't care, I was so scared, there was no way I was getting on this ride without my dad!

Well my dad came with us the next day and we got in line for this ride and I was really really scared the whole time. But I knew my dad was there and he wouldn't let anything happen to me. When we made it to the front of the line my mom, dad, sister, brother and I all climbed onto the same inner tube thingy. The ride started and it turned out to be THE LAMEST RIDE!! I couldn't believe I had been so scared of this stupid ride. There was a track that the tube followed and we barely got wet at all on the ride.

But that is how my life has gone. I have caught small deceiving glimpses of upcoming experiences in my life and I have freaked out and refused to even consider partaking in them. Driving scared the shit out of me. I refused to even get try it. School scared the shit out of me, it was just too overwhelming and I didn't even try. And now teaching has seemed so overwhelming to me that even though I know I would be good at it, I won't even begin to attempt it. School is going better because I have realized the safety of school. School is fine, there are no risks in school. And the substitute teaching is alright as well because I knew that I could always walk away from it if it got too much and also it was just one small baby step in the whole plan of life.

The worst part of having this outlook on life is when I get to the point that I have overcome my fear enough to finally do whatever it is that scared me so much. Just as the Raging River turned out to be the lamest ride I have ever been on, driving was one of the easiest things I ever learned to do, teaching isn't very scary at all, and I have wasted so much time sitting here afraid of the unknown.

Cathy (my counselor) suggested that I put a copy of the map up on my wall to remind me that life may be like the Raging River but it's not always as pictured. She even suggested that I put little marks on the map to show which obstactles I have succesfully maneuvered around in the river of life. I thought that was pretty cool and I just might do that.

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