Sometimes when I am alone, I indulge in an old habit from my younger days. I feel somewhat silly revealing this, but hopefully you will understand that I need to come out of the closet about this activity. It’s not really harmful to anyone, but it’s not that productive either.
Anyway, here’s the big secret. Drumroll, please.
I like to color. With crayons in coloring books, or with colored pencils on smooth paper. And it is coloring, not drawing, because I can’t draw worth a darn. Even my stick people look peculiar.
In my defense, my mother made me do it. Well, not exactly made me do it, but she used to color a lot too, so you might say she set a bad example. I knew we had a genetic predisposition to coloring when out of the blue, my oldest started bringing coloring books and crayons to her skating competitions. At the age of 16 on. I fear she may have corrupted several of her competitors.
I had been clean for several years when I happened to be wandering down the aisles of my local craft store. I only went in for embroidery floss, I swear! And I needed a few pens & things, so I took a quick detour into school supplies. I walked past the classic 64 crayon box the first time, but I kept glancing back at it. Remembering how all the coolest kids in grade school had *that* box, not the sad little 16 or 48 count boxes unless the teachers specified them. (They had the 96 crayon box when I was a kid, too, but that bringing that to school was just pretentious. And they never fit in your desks.)
I know, I should never have stopped to pick it up, much less opened it to gaze at the untouched crayons, uniform in shape, but promising a bounty of colors. Pine Green, Sky Blue, Sea Green…I didn’t need to pull them out to recognize them. And of course the magically shiny Copper, Silver, and Gold. I stood there, undecided, for a few moments, mentally reorganizing them the way I preferred. (I always color coded mine by labels…browns, oranges, yellow, reds, greens & blues together.) I inhaled. That’s what did me in. The waxy, cool scent of fresh crayon.
Next thing I knew I was smiling sheepishly at the cashier as I handed over the box, a Barbie coloring book, my floss and a token package of pens. “I have a niece visiting,” I explained. Both of my nieces live in the same city I do, and one was 18 at the time. Curse that slippery slope anyway.
At the moment, I’m crayon-less but I’ve been playing with colored pencils, printing out sayings that inspire me and coloring them in, all on the sly. In my defense, it does make me feel a lot better.
What do you do when you need an activity to soothe yourself with that isn’t reading? Colors? Needlework of some kind? Journaling?