I’ve always had an interest in dream boards — in the idea of physically creating an image that reflects the direction I’d like my life to take. About a year ago I made a conscious decision to find several images that clearly represented the kind of relationship I wanted with a significant other. When I was younger I frequently tore pictures of attractive men out of magazines (JTT, waddup. Call me.). They’d hang on my bedroom wall, be taped to my binder, or hidden in journals.
But this time I went looking for a different kind of picture. I wasn’t looking for the man I wanted, I started looking for the feeling I wanted. I wanted a photograph that evoked a specific feeling; a feeling of warmth and positive support. Of calm and humor. Of light. I wanted light above all. Something that didn’t make me feel heavy with crazy, weighed down by worry. I wanted to feel lifted by a relationship.
I sort of forgot I’d been on this hunt until one night I stumbled across a tumblr that had photos of old hollywood couples. Boom. There it was. A photograph of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
I made the photograph the background of my computer desktop so I would see it every day. It eventually just became background noise, I didn’t notice it as much, then hardly at all. But it was there. And images have a way of sneaking into our subconscious like the moon sinking beneath the horizon.
The image helped me remember the feeling I wanted from a partnership. It helped me remember that, above all, I should be with someone who leaves me feeling all those things.