Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Color my world (preferably with sparkles...)

This past Christmas, a coworker gifted all of us at the office with coloring books made for adults, designed by a friend of hers, and filled with uplifting inspirational sayings in gorgeous artistic formats. At the time I remember being immediately struck by how stunning it was, and what a clever idea…but I also wondered if I’d ever actually, you know…sit down and apply myself to any of the pages. I mean, I felt a little bit silly even considering it—even though coloring is something I absolutely loved to do as a child, who has time for it when they’re all grown up and busy with…responsibilities…and chores…and whatnot?  

However…perhaps it was the spirit of the holiday season, but I did purchase a box of crayons…just in case I got motivated to…unleash my inner youngster….or some such nonsense. And, well, I am a girl, so I just had to go with the Mermaid Shimmer option, because really, how could you NOT? And then…my lovely tools of colorful expression sat on a shelf…pristine and untouched…for months.
Meanwhile, it seems that this whole concept of “adult coloring books” went and became a bona fide craze, dude! Suddenly they’re everywhere, and being touted as the next big thing in, I don’t know…stress management? Meditation through Crayola? Making pretty pictures…for those with zero artistic talent?

Whatever the case may be, I found a valid excuse to give it a try when my mother-in-law had surgery recently. I wanted to send her some get-well cards, and it struck me that it would be the perfect opportunity to include a…semi-hand-crafted motivational message…as an extra personal touch. Also, of course, I’d get to spend a few minutes ignoring my household tasks…I mean “designing a page that I’d carefully selected for the recipient—with her unique qualities in mind.”

Riiiiight…okay, confession: I chose a message based on the simplicity of the layout--because let’s face it, it was already 11:30, I should have been calling it a night, and I wanted to do a good job and end up with something nice…but it couldn’t take hours and hours. So I cracked open my brand new crayons—and seriously, is there anything better than a fresh box, with the points all perfect and the possibilities wide open? Before the inevitable occurs: the popular shades (your bright, crisp Primaries and Secondaries) get used repeatedly, and worn down, while their…less appealing cousins (Tan…boring! Muddy orange…ick!) remain unappreciated and virtually untouched? Or is that just me? Am I going all…nerd-nostalgic…on y’all? (Sorry…where was I?)

Yeah…I pulled out my white sheet of untapped potential…and started scribbling all over that sucker. Hahahahahaha! Whew, just kidding! Now, I don’t recall what kind of…color…er…I used to be in my misspent youth, but as a big kid, I remain vigilant so that I stay strictly within the lines. Moreover, I do my best to evenly cover all of the blank space, with neat, precise strokes. You know what this means, right? OH MY GOSH MY CONTROL-FREAK TENDENCIES EVEN SPILL OVER INTO A CHILD’S RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

Well...that was certainly an eye-opening bit of self-revelation, let me tell ya. But wait, it gets worse—I even found myself making sure that I put aside the colors I’d already chosen, so that I wouldn’t repeat. Oh, and I tried to plan the pattern so the hues that ended up next to each other didn’t clash. Sigh…at least I can state with great conviction that I did, indeed, find it to be a peaceful, rewarding exercise, (even with the…compulsive organization… factored in….) and seeing the finished product brought immense satisfaction.

So I can now send my good wishes off into the Universe (or, you know, “South Carolina”) and hope that they bring a smile to my mother-in-law when she opens the envelope. Maybe she’ll even hang it on her refrigerator—won’t that be a funny conversation when neighbors come by to check on her? “Oh, how sweet! Did your grandsons make that for you?” “Um…no…it’s from their mother. Noooo, she’s not undergoing art therapy as part of a mental health program…she’s just…expanding her horizons, or something…”

In fact, I enjoyed the experience so much, I’m going to tackle a more intricate design next time. Oooh…it might just require more than my 16 Mermaid Shimmer roster…and also more than 10 minutes before bedtime. So if a one-of-a-kind, made-for-you creation shows up in your mailbox, you’ll know it’s from yours truly. Feel free to display it in your kitchen…and tell visitors whatever you want about your goofy friend from Chapel Hill! (I’ll be too Zen to mind….while still coloring inside the lines, mind you…)

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