When I was young, I took a psychological quiz that has haunted me my whole life. You know those fun quizzes you would give to your friends and compare answers? Yeah, one of those. Stupid. But man, this one did a number on me and I reflect back to it even now.
Let me lay it out for you. But I must caveat this by saying that I’m certain I don’t remember the whole thing or exactly what each question represents, but I’ll do my best.
Imagine you are walking through the woods. Describe the woods.
How do you make your way through the woods?
Within the woods you come to some kind of body of water. Describe the water.
How do you get to the other side of the water?
You continue through the woods and you see a house. Describe the house.
Do you go inside? If yes, describe the inside.
At the house you see a bear. Describe the bear.
What do you do with the bear?
You remember these quizzes? I loved them. I still love them! I’ll travel down the rabbit hole of Facebook quizzes so I can know which Disney princess I am, or which Harry Potter house I should live in, or what my spirit animal is. Yep, I’m a sucker.
But the quiz I shared with you above, that one… I took it over 30 years ago! I remember it (well, the important parts) like it was yesterday and the picture of what I saw in my mind then is still the same picture that I see now. I find that remarkable.
When analyzed, none of my answers were bad, especially to an outsider. (Some of them were down right interesting, if you ask me, but I digress.) But to me, there has been one aspect of the quiz that I’ve gone back to time and time again. It literally has haunted me. I went through many years near angry about it.
But now that I am older and wiser and really happy with my life, I can see my answer as a blessing and I couldn’t be more grateful. Truly.
So did you take the quiz? If not, and you want to, do it now and I’ll run down what each answer represents based on this silliness. I can wait. BUT, if you read on without taking the quiz, you won’t get honest answers after. Once the meanings have been revealed, you will engineer what you want your answers to be and that’s not cool. You’ve been warned. (Just sayin’.)
THE QUIZ REVEALED
Describe the woods. Your description of the woods is how you look at life.
How do you make your way through the woods? This describes how you make your way through life.
Within the woods you come to some kind of body of water. Describe the water. The water represents your problems.
How do you get to the other side of the water? This is how you deal with your problems.
You continue through the woods and you see a house. Describe the house. This represents how you think people see you.
Do you go inside? If yes, describe the inside. The inside vision is how you see yourself.
At the house you see a bear. Describe the bear. This represents your fears.
What do you do with the bear? This answer describes how you deal with fear.
Ironically, my personal haunting does not come from the problems and how I deal with them, nor did it come from the fears. My haunting comes from how I would get through the woods! In other words, how I would get through life. You see, in my vision, in my woods, there is no clear path. There is no path. But, I could easily make my way. No underbrush, just sparse grass decorating the entire ground. There’s even enough light for me to see.
I have never had a clear path in my life. I never grew up desiring to be a doctor, or always wanting to be an actress. Sure, I went through phases of wanting to be a veterinarian in fourth grade, or a wedding dress designer in high school, but after I graduated from college, and I began my real walk through the woods… damned if there was no clear path.
It was a crushing frustration throughout my young adulthood and even more so after I had children. Life had to be more than just laundry, and dirty dishes, and praying to God that no one missed the school bus.
Now that I have embarked on this new role of writing, I’m almost grateful not to be tied to a path. What used to feel like walking through a maze of dead ends, or running on a treadmill to nowhere, now feels open, and free, and exciting. I don’t have to look down to be sure I stay on the path. I get to look up and go where the light leads me, only to look down, once in a while, to see if my feet are still touching the ground.