Friday, October 21, 2016

The Exam.

My heart is racing. The air I inhale feels thin. I am ramping up. Almost ready for take off.

The adrenalin rush and heart pounding reminds me of the night before track meets when I was in high school. I would always visualize my race as I would fall asleep (or not fall asleep more accurately). I would hold my breath and my chest would become tight as I thought of the agonizing 400 meter race.

This time I'm visualizing my state boards. I'm imagining something I've been working towards for 8 years. I'm anticipating my licensure exam. My four hour licensure exam.

I've been studying for three months tirelessly, endlessly, with gusto and discipline. But I am tired now. My brain has reached capacity on information and my storage is running low.

On the day of the exam I do the things I'm told to do, almost robotically.  Scott makes me a good nutrient dense breakfast. My exam is at 1:30. I fill the reminder of my time by following my list. My list makes me feel safe and grounded. And it reminds me of what really matters. #dontshityourpants

I take my puppy for a walk around the neighborhood. I do some yoga and deep breathing to calm my nerves. I have "savor time" in which I read and journal and pray and drink coffee. (only this morning my journal entry was one sentence) and I'm pretty sure my prayers were quite minimal.

Scott drives me to the test site. I gulp some juice but I am so nauseated. The testing site is what you would expect. Big and corporate. White and sterile. It's stern and stifling in the waiting room. Everyone is just in there waiting for a finger print and a picture while they sweat outwardly and swear inwardly.

They call my name too early and I request to bring my tampon into the testing room but this is not even allowed. (yes of course it's that time of the month). Nothing is allowed in that damn testing room. No hoodies, no snacks, no Advil, no water, no freaking tampon you guys.  I pour on all my Young Living Clarity Oil and walk into the room full of cubicles.  I see my best friend's top knot in cubicle 7. I can't talk to her or even look at her. I hold my breath and am put in a cubicle by a window. The joy of being by a window in a room of no color, muted lights and lack of oxygen does little to comfort me.

I use every minute of those four hours. The computer screen is fuzzy from the beginning and I strain to read the questions which feel more like reading long paragraphs with endless irrelevant detail. It's hot in here and I keep praying for more air cause I'm trying to breathe. I feel my chest tighten as I check the time and continue making my way through the 170 questions. I push the screen closer and closer to my face as the questions continue to blur in and out of focus. Soon the screen is just inches from my nose.  I consider leaving in the middle of my exam feeling that I don't have what it takes after all. A thousand scenarios flash through my mind of impending doom but I press on. I remind myself of what I've learned and this does not include theories or diagnosing or treatment plans or law and ethics.

What I've learned is this: I might feel uncertain but I will keep going. I might be confused but I will keep moving forward. I might feel inferior and inadequate but I'll show up anyway. I'm not going to let Hard stop me. I can do Hard. I will show up sweaty and sticky and smelly. This exam or this ____ (fill in the blank) will not define my worth and value. I can do this.

So as the timer logs me out and I've finished all my questions I head out to the test proctor, preparing for the worst. She has me sign some forms. Her affect is flat and I am essentially a walking vegetable. In my head I am already in the car crying with Scott. I am not here signing pointless forms awaiting the fail verdict. She silently hands me a sheet of paper. I take a quick glance out of the corner of my eye and there it is; that beautiful four letter word.


I walk out into the sun in a daze where Scott literally pounces from the car as he's been a nervous wreck for four hours. I hand him my paper. The paper that says PASS. 

I inhale the fresh crisp air. The sun tilts towards me as Scott embraces me . Stuffy and sweaty is now a distant memory. Clammy and nauseated is over. I walked right through the Hard and I came out on the other side; four hours 8 years later. #kidding #notreally 

You guys there is ANOTHER SIDE!!!!

And I'm finally on the other side!!!!

For those of you who have rallied around me for the past few years, months, weeks and days I am so grateful for you.  Your comments on my blogs and Instagram have meant so much to me. Your notes and cards and care packages in my mail box left me giddy with joy. Your text messages and your warm embrace leave me grateful. Your prayers reminded I was not alone and that you were in my corner too. Your belief and support gave me little wings to keep flying and keep going when it was the hardest. Your ability to sweat profusely outside my test site for hours has convinced me there is such a thing as "the one" and you're it. I love you.  They always say it takes a tribe to raise a child. I think it might take a tribe to raise a good therapist. So thank you. I have the best tribe. You all make me rich.


  1. Yay congratulations!!! So happy for you, enjoy all the celebrations and excitement!

  2. You're posts never fail to make me tear up.��������

  3. I can't find the words to tell you how proud I am of you Heather, I could just about burst I'm so happy for you! Congratulations honey, all of your work paid off and success couldn't have found a lovelier person. I'm so, so proud of you angel, well done, sending mountains of hugs always xxx

  4. True, true, examinations come
    as a part of a test...
    yet, the TRUE examination comes
    at TheEnd of our Finite Existence.
    Just how ready are you to face it?

    trustNjesus, lil one.
    God bless your indelible soul.

    1. Ah, to kiss thy feets...
      THAT would alone give me
      all the passion N warmth
      I need. Puh-leeze make it.
      I cannot bear to live without
      you in the length N breadth of eternity...