Ok so the title is not accurate. Of course I would never abandon my babies in a pool of their own filth so I could go scribble. But there’s gotta be some truth to this whole grownup coloring craze. I tried it and I’m hooked.
It’s probably also useful for you to know that I have anxiety – not about anything in particular. I just occasionally get panic attacks or just feel overwhelmed. It affects me physically and can be exhausting, although it’s not so severe that I’ve bothered to get medicated or anything. I got some adult coloring books and colored pencils, and without any expectations, started coloring.
I flipped through a book for a moment, amused at first. Each page had a different image, from animals to mandalas to abstracts. Very quickly my amusement turned to awe: holy crap, I thought, these are hand drawn. It was true; these excruciatingly detailed outlines were all done by hand. Someone was crazy disciplined, and patient. (I, on the other hand, have even known to get frustrated with stick figures).
A flower-like mandala caught my eye – just something about it made me happy. Ok this one it is. But now how to color it? My mind begged to go crazy elaborately planning the color scheme. But you know what? I didn’t let it. And I’m glad.
Should I go with an orange or a green? Just pick one. Nothing bad will come of either choice. Let go, and choose. RIGHT NOW GO. I just made a decision without overthinking it! Meh, the color wasn’t exactly what I had wanted. But I committed.
All thoughts leave my mind as my pencil tip moves back and forth. It’s like riding a horse, pulling up on the reins to slow down my mark, and then letting go when I have wide open spaces. I don’t have to concentrate, this is easy. And if I screw up who cares? My chances of being a world famous pencil artist faded long ago. Third grade I think.
In this moment, it’s just me. Kids are asleep, hubby is watching tv. No one is watching me or expecting me to get them anything. I can make a mistake. Who cares? This is just for fun. I suddenly and painfully realize that I never do things like this for myself anymore. In my “free time” I get ahead on chores, or I write, or I use shampoo AND conditioner. But I never get to do anything unproductive, frivolous. This is completely selfish. And awesome.
It takes me almost a week to finish my first mandala, a little bit at a time. While I look forward to my coloring time as a mental unplug, I don’t get to do it every night. And that’s ok. It makes the time I do get that much more precious and valued. And in that moment I have complete control, even though it is over something so finite and insignificant. And more importantly, any anxiety I had goes away.
So yes, I just wrote an article about coloring. But really it’s not BS. This has been the most refreshing thing I’ve done for myself lately. And I have something beautiful (and imperfect) to show for it. We should all have our own little indulgences. That’s what makes life interesting, isn’t it?
Here is what I’ve got at home – affiliate links below: