dancing with the unknown

Sometimes I curl up in the dark night, wrap myself up with my own arms, and whisper lonesome-ly… “What do you want, baby girl?”

I stare into the darkness and wish it could stare back. In the way that the roots stare at the dirt, willing the nutrients to budge from those grains up into their tendrilled stalks. Looking for sustenance.

Uncertainty loves me like it loves wild things. Like it loves the open plains of Kansas, unzipping them from east to west with space, everywhere. Too much space until the glut of space drives one to the edge. It’s this teetering edge that holds me tight, the uncertain forces of maps and lines and attachments from all directions.

Here’s the thing: all this flowy writing smacks of the indirect way to say: I’m scared. I am terrified because I don’t know what to do. And I don’t know what I want. I think I should have known long ago. This is only the rest of my life. Deciding on where to go to graduate school feels to me like deciding if you want to marry the boy. Especially in my field. Where you go to school is many times where you settle, because licensure in counseling is notoriously difficult to transfer from state to state.

So, I made a decision almost 5 years ago that was a mistake… and it was marrying the wrong boy. Does that help with this situation? No.

What makes this harder is that there are several pathways to becoming a therapist. You can go to school for licensed mental health counseling. Or social work. Or a masters in Clinical Psychology. Or a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Or a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Or a degree in Marriage and Family therapy. And there are few differences between each of these choices. The most blurry are the differences between licensed mental health counseling and social work. Which one do I choose? Do I want more research base (clinical psych)? Do I want the flexibility of a doctorate? Or the extended flexibility of a social work degree (and higher wage)? Do I just want to be a plain regular counselor with training in trauma work?

WHAT DO I WANT?

This is what I lay in bed and ask myself at night.

I have applied to 5 schools. And I still don’t know if I applied to the ‘right’ places or am going in the right direction. I feel like I’m driving in the dark without any headlights on… which, on a country road at night, is gorgeous and exhilarating yet suffocating.

I’m almost nauseatingly uncertain and I know the spiritual answers but it doesn’t take it away. I visited school no. 2 yesterday and I think it made things worse… so now I’m right in the crosshairs of an existential crisis.

But I graduate in 2 days. I take my last undergraduate final tomorrow. So for now… it’s time to just be here and live these 2 days up.

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