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Those Calming Coloring Books Stress Me Out!

Those Calming Coloring Books Stress Me Out!

I have at least 10, not kidding, of those calming coloring books. They're stacked up rather decoratively on the living room coffee table right beside my ever growing stack of DIY Decorating, Weekend Makeovers, and Decorating Trends magazines. I filled an absolutely perfect straw basket with erasable charcoal sketching pencils and erasable colored pencil crayons that sits right beside the coloring books: an invitation to anyone to sit, relax and color.

 I rearrange the coloring books weekly. Which one is most inviting? The cityscape? the ocean floor? tropical landscapes? mandalas? I keep trying to place most inviting one on top. I imagine the pages, seductive sirens, beckoning to me, my kids, or my husband,  "come color" (cue the sounds of waves, ebbing and flowing on a distant beach). The coffee table lamp with the dimmer switch casts the perfect relaxing light on the pages. The black and white outlines hum: " Stop awhile. Sit and color me".

Except, in mind, those pages aren't humming. It's more like they shout and scream: Stop awhile! Sit and color me for gods sake! Color Me Now! Like a tantruming toddler. COLOR ME!  I tried. I really did. When the coloring craze began, I really thought devoting myself with reckless pursuit to calming coloring could only be a good idea. Now those damn books haunt me.

It's the lines. Certainly, it's the lines. The lines make me nervous. Thus my propensity for erasable media tools. The lines leave me questioning "am I doing it right?"  It's insane. Am I not the same woman who encourages living life and coloring pages outside the lines? I'm a fitness professional. I teach others to move yet those lines leave me paralyzed. What color am I supposed to use? Is there a right or wrong way to color? Am I going to do the page justice?  I know that I am not alone. I tried a coffee and coloring date with a girlfriend. Just sitting around the kitchen table, catching up and coloring. She made it through one window pane in the cityscape book and promptly conceded that finding the perfect color was too stressful, plus she know what time of day the page was supposed to be and that meant there would be the coloring of the sky questionable. 

I remember when I was little and could color for hours on blank page. The 64 Crayola Crayon Box with built in crayon sharpener was enough to pitch me in to complete happy, hand-clapping squealing delight. It wasn't enough to just color, I had to share and show my creations with every friend and family member. Look what I made! Look what I colored! As a mother, I learned not to assume I knew what my child was showing me on their coloring pages. A sheet of paper covered in blue was not always the color blue. Sometimes it was a blue whale in the blue ocean. Or it might be a blue clouds in a blue sky. Or it might just be the color blue. Possibilities were endless and it was best to let the artist explain their work. 

I miss the newsprint paper. Somehow it was just easier to color without expectation. I think grown-ups use Yoga now. But are you doing your downward dog right?





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