I walked into the office with a red cup of non-alcoholic liquid courage in my hands and two people next to me for moral support (or maybe to make sure I didn't turn and run). As I sat in the waiting area, I swear the pterodactyl-sized butterflies in my stomach had babies. I'd been anxious about this appointment since I boarded the way-too-small plane in DC, bound for Columbus. If I'm honest, I'd been anxious about this appointment since the moment I decided to come to America for this very reason. He stepped into the waiting room to introduce himself and "collect" me. As we exited together, I turned my head for a last glance at my smiling friend. I heard again her words from not thirty minutes before: "I am so proud of you." I smiled back and I'm sure it looked tentative and apprehensive. I don't have a very good poker face.
It was thirteen steps from that door to the couch in his office where I found a seat and spent the next hour. For me, for whom trust is paramount and yet not easily given, it was a daunting thing to bare my soul to a complete stranger. And yet, at the same time, I felt completely comfortable. I walked out feeling like a weight had been lifted: the weight of simply starting this thing. And I felt proud of myself.
Hi. My name is Alece. I'm a missionary. And I go to counseling.