Vision boards are meant to clarify the things that are important in your life and I don’t know how many of you have ever done one, but I’ve completed three of them in the last 6 years. The whole concept of a vision board is to show you where you are now and where you want to be later. It’s fairly simple to do, really: gather up some magazines, flip through the pages, and cut out the pictures that speak to you. You don’t have to know why you feel a connection with those pictures, you just cut them out, put the aside, and keep flipping. Once you’ve done that, you paste them onto poster board with craft glue.
My very first one hangs over the desk in my office and it cost me an arm and a leg to have it framed and matted. When I did that one with a group of my women friends, we had someone there who could interpret what it meant. The pictures I picked out were rather mundane (or so I thought!) and consisted of words like ‘downsizing can be a good thing’, ‘get away’, and photos of a tricycle, a single white chair with bamboo in the background, pictures of cupcakes (I’m a hobby baker, so that one made sense), as well as flowers. Lots of flowers. And when it came my turn to show mine to the group, there were collective gasps all around the table. My friend Marie spoke first: “Are you planning to get divorced??” I was appalled. “No, no of course not, why?”; but before she could speak, another woman, whom I didn’t know well, said “Oh, but you are, you just don’t appear to know it yet”. Then another stated: “That tricycle is going to be your mode of transportation”. I’m gonna tell you right here and right now that I thought they were all crazy! Divorce wasn’t something I had ever planned to do. Besides, they were just pictures, right?? WRONG. I did get divorced, albeit 6 years later, but I surely didn’t ride off into the sunset on a shiny red tricycle.
I did the most recent one in 2013 and the only reason I did it is because my therapist, Sybil, encouraged me to do it (ok, let’s be honest, she badgered me into it haha). I gathered up my craft box chock full of scissors and stickers, my pile of old magazines, and hastily began to flip through them. The pictures I chose didn’t make sense at all (that’s the point, remember?) but I kept working anyway. I printed out pictures of the chiropractic college I wanted to attend, cut out photos of shoes, dresses, and other girly things, as well as pictures representing relaxation and overall health. Flowers, there are always flowers. And words. I cut out words, not having any clue why I was so drawn to them. Sybil had told me that the man who had my heart needed to be on that board. I don’t want him on the board, I said, but she insisted that he had a place on it. At the time, we were not speaking to one another, but because she thought it was important, I had my friend Kena find a picture of him on facebook I could use since I had him blocked. I printed it out and angrily set it aside.
I started placing things on the board and each time, I would put him on it, take him off it, and then put him on it again. He just didn’t fit anywhere in my life and I really didn’t want him on it either so I pushed his photo aside and kept working: flowers here, dolphins there, and stickers everywhere. At one point, I just happened to look over at my pile of cuttings and what caught my eye wasn’t really the photo of him that I had printed, but the words haphazardly and unintentionally placed underneath it: know your worth (ahhh, I thought, so that’s why he needs to be on the board). I glued his picture onto the board and placed the words underneath it. Bold words. True words. Big words (and I mean big!) that stood out to me as if I’d never seen them before. That was my lesson with him, to know my worth, and if I could only find one good thing to say about him, I would tell you that he definitely taught me my value, even though he didn’t find me as valuable as he should have. I found some stickers I had forgotten about that had words on them: loyal, honest, truthful, kind, hugs, serious, amigos, helpful, always there. I placed them to the side of his picture because those were the things I wanted him to be and because I didn’t have a sticker with the word healing on it, I wrote that above his photo with a marker, since that’s what I needed from him the most.
Many things in my life have changed since I did that board in 2013. As I look over it now, I can see the things that came to fruition, and the things that didn’t. Chiropractic college still lingers in the back of my mind, but it’s not at the forefront anymore. The dolphin photo in the center, with the words ‘paradise’ and ‘the stuff of dreams’ pasted on it, represents my relocating to the beach this past May. I’ve ‘found my sunny’ in more ways than one and I’m finally accepting of my body, even if the number on the scale is a little higher than it used to be (hey, I’m in the eating stage of my life at the moment, what can I say?). I’ve ‘broken lots of rules’, just not the kind I would wear orange because of, and I have a ‘happy life’ surrounded by ‘supportive friends’ that I couldn’t live without, that’s for sure. On the flip side, I haven’t found the ‘love of my life’ yet, but I am living in the ‘happily ever after’, just not in a relationship kind of way. And that big, beautiful bauble on the board? The cushion cut diamond?? Yeah, I haven’t gotten that either, but the truth is, marriage isn’t something I have any desire to do again anyway (never say never, they say, but I do, no pun intended). But there’s one thing on that board that won’t ever be an issue again, and that is knowing my worth.
I’m not with the man who is on that board anymore, but I’ve learned my biggest lesson from him. Knowing my worth has been quite the journey, and had he not been the catalyst for it, I would still be in a loveless marriage with my soul dying a little bit more every day. He taught me to love myself when he didn’t have the capacity to love me the way I loved him, and he became all the things I pasted to the side of his picture even though he couldn’t sustain them over the long haul (healing? I’m still working on that part). I think one of the biggest challenges a woman has is knowing how to love herself first because we are somehow brainwashed into believing we have to take care of others before we take care of ourselves, and there’s something really wrong with that picture if you ask me. He taught me I’m not broken and he also taught me unconditional love, because believe me, he screwed up A LOT, and I loved him despite all of it. He also taught me my value as a woman: I am not Plan B (I am always Plan A); I am not a side dish (I am the most expensive, tastiest main course on the menu); and I am not The Other Woman (I am THE ONLY WOMAN, hear me roar). And you know that old saying about how when you know your worth, you’ll stop giving people discounts?? That’s the truest statement I’ve ever heard, quite frankly, and I’m elated that my tolerance for bullshit has dwindled vastly over time because until I learned how to love myself, I couldn’t expect others to love me any better.
If you haven’t ever done a vision board, I would encourage you to do one because it’s a really great tool in figuring out what path you want to take next in this mundane world known as everyday life. You may not initially understand the collage you created when you complete it, but you’ll be able to interpret it when you pull it out later on to glance at it again. If you’ve already done one, I’d love for you to share your experience of what became of every picture you placed on it, as those things are the stepping stones of personal growth, and we can all use a little nurturing in that area. On that note, I’m off to do a little vision boarding myself.
Til next time,