I flit to and fro between the options, back and forth and back again. I need to decide something, anything, in order to move forward. But instead I find myself overwhelmed and unsure and temporarily “paralyzed.”

I absorbed this behavior when I was very little. I found myself in a murky world, sailing around and around and around in excruciating circles. There was often no seashore in sight. Decision-making, especially, was an endless endeavor. The waters were rough, and I felt seasick and stuck, but I had nothing and nobody to hold onto. I learned that the others on our little boat could put on a life jacket at a whim, and jump off and swim away toward the chance of a clearer, simpler reality, without even looking back. But I was too young to swim.

I did, however, have school as an oasis. I treasured my time within its clear borders, and there I thrived. Every day I would return to the wobbly waters, and on the way I’d peer beyond my little world and catch a glimpse of land. A foreign place that appeared not to move quite as much. A place where little girls had people who did not leave them, and bought them stuff and let them just be little. Where decisions were made and things were clear. And I ached for a reality that was not mine.

But I was out at sea on a boat that got heavier. No decision was made about how to get us to shore; it was even thought safer to risk drowning rather than face the consequences of making the wrong call. And so we stayed out at sea, contemplating the possible options. I tried to suggest decisions, but I was little, and my decisions were always undone. When and where I could, I kept my eyes on that land.

Eventually, I was big and strong enough to swim off, just like some of the others on my boat had once done, too. I thought that the land that I had spied for so long would offer relief, but instead I felt guilty for swimming away. I felt the movement of the unsteady water still in me. I was no longer as clear as I was when in the company of the unclear.

And so began a long journey that I am still on. To find safeness and stillness within. And sometimes, after many years, I see that I am on the other side, the stable land, looking out at the rough waters in the distance. The world rocks ever so slightly beneath my feet, but it’s mainly the after-effects.

But other times, like now, when I am trying to make a serious decision and feel confused and scared, the land seems to slip from beneath me, and I find myself once again out in the middle of the ocean, tossed from side to side, with sharks all around. Familiar, frightening territory.

So I try to look in a different direction. Not towards the land. I see that the land was limited, and that it was not always what it seemed. The little girls who seemed to have it all did not; they were on their own odyssey. So I look upward, upward toward a G‑d who cares, toward faith, toward a bird’s-eye perspective and a bigger picture. To a belief that all that time in the water is what made me who I am today. I look upward to a reality where there are no “wrong” decisions, but rather many “right” options. To a vision of a world that leans toward me rather than against.

I can’t say I have made my current decision yet. Admittedly, I am still going with this one. But I am working on loving myself anyway. Working on empathy. Working to throw my fear overboard, so I can watch it scatter into the nothingness that it really is.

I mutter a heartfelt prayer that I be blessed with clarity so I can make a decision soon. And that once it’s made, I let go and dive in that direction with confidence. Revel in the exhilaration of movement, and float on the current in peace.