They say you should put your vision board somewhere prominent. Mine’s taped in front of our toilet. I stare at that vision board all the time.
The first week I looked at it with loving eyes. I felt joy seeing those buds of my dreams staring back at me. Writing and publishing books. Finding a new house for my family. Forgiving things in the past. It was an exhilarating week as I stared at the future with hope.
Then I did something I never do. Never. I checked my blog stats. Big ass mistake. I’m a tiny bit of an addict, which means I have an insatiable soul. How much traffic would ever be enough? There. Is. Never. Enough. Which is why I don’t check. Until I did.
This morning, the numbers like a razor to my wrist, still sliced through my serenity. When I looked at my vision board this morning, there was no love. I imagined clawing at it like an aging movie star trying to destroy a movie poster from her prime. I felt how I imagine the original Beatles drummer feels when he hears I Wanna Hold Your Hand.
Make it go away. It’s mocking me.
This morning I sneered at my vision. And it hung there, its images the same as they were last week. But I’d changed.
This morning I was bitter.
Why in the name of glue sticks did I put a picture of a gorgeous Victorian house that is so far out of our budget? Forgive the past? Why didn’t I just say I want to write bestselling novels about Costco from my new mansion on Jupiter?
The writing thing. It’s like torture. Even before I created the vision board there was an endless loop in my head:
Hey, you love writing and it brings you joy, which is plenty.
Voice 2: But joy isn’t enough. I want to be good.
Voice 3: Wait. What does “good” mean? Being published? Being famous? Having Ann Patchett invite you to Nashville for a cup of tea and a discussion of ‘the craft’?
Voice 4: Maybe this vision board was a bad idea. It’s stirred me up. It made me want. It made me believe.
This was how I headed to therapy this morning, a soup of self-pity and anxiety. Naturally, I queued up sad songs on my iPod. Breakup songs. Divorce. Unrequited love. I’m the singer, and writing is the lover that kicked me to the curb. When Patsy Cline sings about how she feels crazy for losing her love, that’s me singing to writing.
Now I’m torn. I have a window of time this morning, and I could either accept the doubts and shame about my audacious dreams and keep writing, or I could draft the inscription for my tombstone before wasting hours with my very first therapist, T.J. Maxx.
Here are the rough drafts for my grave stone:
Christie Tate, beloved Costco platinum member and failed novelist.
Christie Tate, when her dreams died years ago she got all weird and depressed the hell out of all of us.
Christie Tate, kicked fear in the nuts and kept working towards her dreams. She died on the toilet surrounded by family and her vision board.
So, what’s it gonna be?
I guess since T.J. Maxx isn’t open for another 45 minutes, I’ll write in spite of my bitterness and fear. Maybe it will be good fuel for today’s work.