I wasn’t going to blog tonight, but I’m feeling just a teensy bit chirpy and chuffed so I thought I would share.
I am a master procrastinator. Yes. It’s true. When I want to do something, or necessity dictates I have to get off my butt right now, I’m an amazing gogetter. But when I’m feeling a bit blergh about something, or don’t really want to do it, I can out-procrastinate the world champion procrastinators. In fact I believe if there were such a competition, I’d be inclined to win.
So imagine how pleased I am with myself that I have created a vision board.
A vision board is so far out of my comfort zone that we are most definitely not orbiting in the same solar system. I work with words – not images. I am not an artist – I don’t picture things or draw things. I can’t even do a good imitation of a stick figure. So when asked to create a vision board I promptly moaned and groaned (internally) and put it onto the back burner as the least possible important thing I would even consider doing in the week prior to my hospital admission.
Now the reason I found myself in the uncomfortable crevice between a rock and a hard place, is because I signed up to do a year long masterclass to write the first draft of my memoir. As part of our January challenges, I needed to create a vision board. Being a wordsmith I was quick to articulate (silently) all the reasons why I couldn’t – and wouldn’t – ever be able to do such a thing: I hate glue. Cutting things out is for children. I’m hopeless with visualising things. It’s not my cup of tea. I don’t have time. I hate doing art. I don’t know what to do. What’s the point?
But after a little discussion, and watching other masterclassers share their visions, I thought I would put on my big girl socks, be conscientious, and just trust the process. I am so glad I did.
I have absolutely no idea if my vision board is good or bad or if such a thing is even quantifiable. I mean, it’s my vision – so you’re not really in a position to tell me I got it wrong are you? I bent the rules a little bit – I still hate glue – but I did tear up a lot of perfectly good magazines and eventually found myself completely mesmerised by the process. I was searching for themes – not literal representations. So while it would be easy for a memoir about a chick with an eating disorder to have lots of pictures with food, skinny girls and exercise equipment, the eating disorder is not about that.
Yesterday I also wrote my manifesto (another January task) for the draft and between the two exercises, I feel I’ve really started to discover the themes that speak most loudly to me – connection and disconnection.
As a child I felt disconnected from everyone around me – from the world in general.
I was in the world and there were people around me – good people and lots of them – but I felt separate. Alone. Isolated. I have always felt that way. In the past few years I’ve looked really hard at my relationships, and realised that for about the first 20 years of my life, I was overwhelmingly alone. I had few meaningful relationships with family or friends. I had (have) family. And I had (have) friends. But I was separate and alone. I wasn’t connected to them. The why’s are not even important now – it just was.
By the time I was in my 30s I was fortunate enough to be developing some strong bonds of friendship and I am now very connected to a lovely number of people – but it has been a long hard road.
Writing my manifesto (the written version of a vision board, complete with the Why, What, Who & How) and then sitting on my bed tonight looking at pictures that leapt out at me, I realised the theme of connection – and disconnection – is the strongest theme in my story. My written story and my real life story.
So that is why I’m excited. Through doing something I really found incredibly distasteful at first, I discovered things I would not have learned through words alone. Each time I turned a page in the magazine, I was drawn to images of solitary trees, harsh & barren landscapes, and solo travelers with the weight of the world on their shoulders. After enough of those appeared I was drawn to bridges and paths and steps and an amazing image of interconnected trees.
I can’t say I would do another board the same way, but I am really taken with how much this has helped me today. I have also decided to do a goal-oriented vision board for 2018 (prompted by a lovely friend of mine), and it does not need to be limited to imagery alone this time. But as glue and scissors are not my friends, my future vision boards, will be envisioned digitally.
I also cannot express enough how excited I am that writing is taking such a starring role in my life at present.
When I first started blogging I had no idea I would end up so passionate. My husband sent me a link to a random Facebook post he’d seen about the 7-day free writing challenge and I thought at that price, it was too good to pass up. It feels like one of those turning point moments in my life.
I have a mere six days to now organise myself before heading off, and I’m determined to take not just the vision of my book with me, but I’m going to search for the vision of my life as well. Because I cannot think of a single thing that would be more useful for me to pack in my hand luggage, than a vision for my future self.