my first vision board

“It’s smart to seek advice. Find your mentors. Talk it out.

It’s easy to feel the pause. Weigh the odds. Consider the risk.

But if you never hear it anywhere else, then hear it here:
the only timetable you’re on is your own.

We live in a world that’s operatic with its opinions. Most voices try to sway, and others are out to stall. That’s why the practice of personal reflection isn’t just a happy treat; it’s the preface to a vision. And you’ll never find your vision if you never give it the space—and time—to spark.”

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, feel sorry for yourself, isolate at home with a new show you’ve been meaning to binge, and just marinate in the ruttiness of it all. At least, for me it is. This past week felt like a two steps forward, seven steps back kind of week — I’ve been having trouble sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night often in cold sweat, and dreaming up intensely vivid dreams that leave me feeling mentally exhausted by the time I open my eyes for the day. Not the ideal formula for someone who’s trying to stay focused and get her shit together.

So I was basically thirteen feet down in The Rut with a shovel and my good friends Anxiety and Self-Doubt when my sister and I had a call to catch up. She could obviously sense the not-so-great state I was in, and later suggested that she come over, bring a bottle of wine (natch) along with poster boards and old magazines. “Let’s create a vision board,” she said. I was indifferent, but willing.

Cut to a few hours (and glasses of wine) later, my sister and I are surrounded by a litter of cut-outs: quotes, illustrations, photos, anything that jumped out and resonated with us. There was a new energy in the air, that special kind of atmosphere shift when that cloud of creative and emotional block is lifted, and you feel like you can see yourself clearly for the first time in weeks. We used various old issues of Darling Magazine that I had lying around, for which I had paid subscription but never really read (yes, I use my money very wisely), and I was kicking myself for not sooner taking advantage of all the gems of wisdom that filled those pages. In classic Kim sister fashion (aka high-key dramatic and way too emotionally in tune), we actually teared up reading through the personal essays and poems, periodically marveling aloud at how profoundly fitting and relatable these stories and illustrations turned out to be for the both of us. I felt like an incredibly weighty fog had lifted.

Yes, you can get stuck in a bad headspace and get into a cycle of feeding yourself negative thoughts — but also yes, you can effortlessly get yourself off that doomed train when you surround yourself with good company, talk through your challenges out loud with a trusty sounding board, and spark new joy from the ingenuities of other brilliantly creative people.

Acknowledge the ruttiness. And then kick its rutty ass goodbye.

One of my favorite phrases I learned is this:
“More than the sum of her parts.”

As I was finalizing my portfolio this week, I struggled with a lack of self-confidence about what I had to offer and what I had to show for it. But this simple phrase so powerfully shifted my view of myself, and of others. We’re all more than the sum of the number of things with which we define ourselves. 

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