There’s a certain rhythm to life. A cadence you get used to hearing in your chest, through your fingers and toes. You are centered and grounded in this routine and then. . . the syncopation stops, life becomes lento and you have to start up again, with a blank sheet.
I am a neophyte. Ain’t it grand. I know I’ll be here a few more times in life, or several if I’m doing it right, but it’s been awhile. And I’m wearing the aches and pains of working muscles long dormant. Fear, anxiety, uncertainty, ineptness. . . that last one stings particularly raw. I am Emily, right? I have answers, or I find them. But now I have to ask questions.
I am interning as a counselor at a statewide agency. This is it. I went through hell three years ago, recovered, decided on a path and began. And now I’m at the pinnacle, what I’ve worked for, and I couldn’t be more scared. The questions I ask run the gamut, from a practical inquiry, “How should I counsel a five-year-old?” to a deeply-seeded, raw, “Will I fail?” That inquiry is answered differently everyday, as I try to grow a pebble of confidence into a boulder that can squash negativity and stand for strength leaning toward excitement.
The truth is, I want to feel at home. I liked feeling at home. But transitions are a funny thing.
I read recently that when times are challenging, you know life is getting good, that you’re about to learn something. . . that it will hurt and then heal, making you that much stronger. I keep this with me when my heart is pounding, my eyes are wide awake at midnight or my newly-minted mantra (Be Here. Right Now.) fails me. I am pushing myself to be good at this new profession, the one I started toward years ago. Making my body stand halfway along the bridge in front of me and choosing to run the other way or charge ahead is a constant battle.
I just want to be a good counselor. I just want to know how to do this; be this new professional. But I feel like a toddler out on the dance floor; wobbling and teetering as others strut in time to the beat. My beat is off. Ba dum dum ba dum dum ba ba. It’s hard to listen to and hard to feel.
For now, I know I have to work on being a good toddler, a good newbie and defining what that means, accepting this transition and my panic-prone acknowledging what it is and forging ahead. After all, this is the path toward vibrancy I mention in a previous entry. This is the challenge. This is leaning into or lying down in the fear. Covering myself in it and staying right there, to experience being the most uncomfortable I have ever been.