By Myra Jolivet
I didn’t know the term visualization at age 8, but I was using it. I was a friendly, chubby girl with eczema-scaled skin that had short periods of relief. My mom had to wrap my arms, legs and neck mummy-style each night to hold the medicine in and my fingernails out. The itch of eczema is from the inside and impossible to satisfy. I used combs to scratch it until I bled and scabbed.
More than anything, I wanted to be pretty. I wanted clear, “normal” skin. I obsessively drew pictures of women’s faces with makeup and beautiful eyes. I wanted to wear makeup and have beautiful eyes. I often pretended to sing before an audience. I would sit in front of the record player speakers and sing along with the records. I wanted to be a singer. I would imagine myself in plays and on stage. I wanted to be a performer.
I never realized what courage it took to hold to visions and dreams at that age, but I did. I kept my ritual and by sixth grade, I was performing on my elementary school stage. I studied flute and played in the orchestra, often having solos.
By the time I reached high school, my skin had cleared quite a bit. I was in a musical, singing.
By the time I attended college, I was the first black queen at a predominantly white university (a separate pageant was created), was singing with a band and considered attractive. By my third year, I was hosting a television talk show for a small-town CBS station.
I started what would be a fairly long and fulfilling career as a television news reporter and anchor during my senior year of college, in fact, I had to take vacation time to attend my graduation. That career led to Emmy award-winning productions, positions in inner circle politics, an invitation to a private reception at the white house, working local and national political campaigns, and front seats to history and privilege.
The little 8-year-old girl with the bad skin had no idea that her drawings were actually vision boards, and sadness was her fuel. I still feel like that girl sometimes. She reminds me to see what I want to achieve it.
From a nightmare divorce to a brain tumor, to nurturing brilliant and amazing children into adulthood, I continue to use visualization to create my desired outcomes.