I felt as if I had been given the cheat code to life.
You’re telling me I had the power to change my life from the vampire-sucking scam of an occupation that is public education? Sign me up.
VISION BOARD BY MEIKKO LEE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 107
I started the year making a vision board. According to the sweet, old witchy-looking lady on TikTok, if you combine the vision board with a manifestation letter it raises your chances for success. She said that if you write down what you want for the year, lock the letter away in a place far far away, then revisit it at the end of the year, you’ll find that everything has come true. Extra extra points if you write down everything you want to let go of, and burn the letter under the winter solstice moon.
I felt as if I had been given the cheat code to life. You’re telling me I had the power to change my life from the vampire-sucking scam of an occupation that is public education? Sign me up.
This was going to be amazing–no, life changing. I could feel it.
I called my sister. “Hey Sid.”
“Wanna make a vision board with me? And write a manifestation letter?”
“What? Why not?”
“Those take too much time. Good luck though.”
Frustrated with her attitude, I called my other sister Kolby to receive the same exact answer.
Couldn’t they see the magic staring them in the face? Couldn’t they hear it thrumming through my voice?
The universe is bountiful in her gifts but rarely does she offer the same thing twice. I would not be the fool who turned her down. I would escape the predatory student loans, the isolation of being the only BW in every space, the back-breaking extra hours (tutoring, subbing, anything-ing) to make ends meet.
I would. I would do it. It was a promise, one that I repeated like a mantra until I almost started to believe it.
The letter was first. I spent hours at the beach hunched over my journal. Surely this activity shouldn’t raise alarm for early arthritis, yet cramps camped out in my knuckles and fingertips while the ocean’s waves danced and laughed in my periphery.
Several horses passed me by and I wondered if they were an omen. Good or bad, I couldn’t remember. I took a quick break to investigate further, and found a man in a straw hat selling horse-riding lessons to passersby.
By the time I was done, the sun was flirting with the edge of the horizon and only silhouetted shadows remained of the other beach-goers.
Every single detail of my life both now and the next was written in these pages—beginnings and ends and worlds of “what ifs” and “so it shall be”.
Satisfied with myself, I tucked the journal under my arm and went home.
The vision board was harder. Not because I didn’t know how to do it but because Sid was right in that it was work. Did I really want to spend hours on Pinterest printing out photos, searching through magazines, and running to Target for a poster board/markers/scissors? No. No, I did not.
And just as I think forget it, the letter is enough, another kind TikTok lady pops up with a how-to that begins with, “Stop wasting paper, make your vision board digital this year.”
My tiny FBI agent that lives in my phone was working overtime. He was probably tired of hearing me complain about my sad and miserable life.
One hour later and my manifestation letter had been brought to life in the form of a vision board thanks to Canva, Google images, and a little Photoshop.
I felt powerful. I felt confident. I felt like a force to be reckoned with. I would not be running into the bathroom and crying this year.
Still, just to be certain, I finished with a prayer that I would not be on the Lord’s list of strongest soldiers when he was handing out his toughest battles this year.
The next week, when the holiday jingles had dried up and the Christmas tree was tossed onto the street, I strolled into my office head held high, ready to deflect anything that might come my way that wasn’t aligned with my vision.
I even paused for a minute of silent meditation before opening my computer.
Then all I could do was sit back and laugh at my naivety.
There was no amount of “new year, new me” ju-ju that could stop the racist colleagues who demanded you work tirelessly while they took the credit.
Nor was there enough manifesting in the world that could rid my students of their disrespect and micro-aggression towards me.
I was still an outsider to a system that even when given the most power in the room, I still wouldn’t be invited in.
The year had barely begun and here I was, feeling like a fool.
Now that I was thinking about it, my first red flag should’ve been that the TikTok manifestation girl’s name was Kaleigh. If social media has taught me anything, it’s never to trust anyone who spells their name with an e-i-g-h.
No matter how many palm-colored women tell you to “just get out there and make it happen”, there is just some things you can’t gaslight, gatekeep, girl-boss yourself out of–
–and being a black woman in America is one of them.
I am a California born and raised writer and English teacher with an MFA from Mills College. I love to write characters who deal with conflicting desires, self-identity, and whatever else the world can throw at them. Writing the stories that I do is important to me because black women deserve stories written for us, by us. Accordingly, I’ve learned that if there’s a story I want to read but can’t find, then it is up to me to write it.