The first roller coaster I rode was The Incredible Hulk at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando. We were in the sixth grade, and thought we were on top of the world. We decided to be daring and go for front row. I was pumped. It wasn't until we were about two or three sets of riders away when I suddenly felt queasy. As we moved up to the front of the gate, we were all giggling with nervous excitement. We were putting on a brave face for each other, while inside each one of us was terrified. As the car pulled up, we settled in to our individual seats, pulling the large green harness down over ourselves and buckling it on both sides. I was dead center in the front row, that's when it hit me. I was NOT ready for this. I had never done anything like this before in my life! What in the world was I doing now?! It was too late, and there was no turning back. The car started to move and began to slowly ascend the long purple tunnel or "gamma tube" in front of us. My mind and my heart were racing. I couldn't believe I had gotten on this thing! Just as I was starting to process everything that was taking place, the car lurched forward and hurtled through the rest of the tunnel, did an immediate zero-g role, and plunged down the 105 ft hill. It was the thrill of a lifetime, and one that we repeated five times that day, and countless times in the near ten years since.

When I graduated High School, my mom gave me a special copy of Oh, The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss, one that came with it's own holder, and a hand written note inside. I often find myself reading the book as a reminder for all the things I can do. The colorful pictures and comforting rhythm ease my anxiety and bring me back to Earth. What I love about the book is that it doesn't present life as being happy and fun and easy all the time. It warns of the Bang-ups and Hang-ups that are bound to happen, and the difficulties of un-Slumping yourself. Usually when I'm reading the book, I've hit a slump of my own and it's nice to be reminded that I will come out of it, even if it's Dr. Seuss doing the reminding.

I've realized that, right now, I'm in a holding pattern. I'm in that brief moment between being in the tunnel and barreling out at 60 mph. I've waited in line, I've done all the pre-reqs and strapped myself in, now I'm just waiting for takeoff. I'm in The Waiting Place. My mind is racing and my heart is anxious with excitement and fear, sometimes I can barely catch my breath.

I've been waiting for school to be over. I've been waiting for life to start. I've been waiting to not be scared anymore.

That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of guy.
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"
- Dr. Seuss Oh, The Places You Will Go!

But now I'm ready. I'm ready to catch my breath. It's going to be tbe thrill of a lifetime.
4 Responses
  1. LindzML Says:

    Beautiful post (and I feel ya on the Hulk fears. It was nice to get over them). And you're headed for great things. I promise.

  2. Pooja Says:

    What a great post! Even though it's terrifying, I think it's incredibly exciting to be where you are now. You have so many potential paths at your feet...and you get to choose which one to walk down.

    It can be scary, but realize that the decisions you make now aren't forever. You can make mistakes and learn from them, and change your mind, and move to a strange country...and do what you want because you're young! (cross out "move to a strange country," I expect you to stay in DC at least until I graduate, kthanx).

    Anyways, like I always say, go with your gut. I know you'll be amazing at whatever you choose to do.


  3. Anonymous Says:

    I got that same book for my high school graduation, and I often read it too.

    The waiting is inevitable, and it's hard. But it doesn't have to be miserable, and I'm glad you're finding some solace in the knowledge that good things are coming.

    Truly beautiful post, too : )

  4. chickbug Says:

    Sometimes the anticipation is better then the ride...so embrace where you are. take a deep breath. focus on you. and when the time is right, the ride will start.

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