The past few days at the start of 2022 has reminded me, that “putting away the crayon box and/or colouring between the lines” may actually be the most devastating move I could make at the moment. A strange opening, but hang in there with me.
Generally, most of us would agree that rules are necessary in a wide expanse of situations. You know – “stop at a red light”; “wear a life jacket when canoeing”; and the oldie but goodie “don’t eat yellow snow.” You get the idea.
Rules(real and imagined) can be a good thing, but they can also be the most restricting and strangling when it comes to who we are and should be as an individual.
Often family, society and/or our upbringing force; slot or “passive-agressively suggest” this is how we “should be or act or live our OWN lives.”
Conformity has it’s place. But, it can also squash or slowly extinguish the creative flame that glows in all of us.
— with love —
A few weeks ago, I was going through some stuff(mostly unknown clutter) that had been boxed away in our art studio.
When rummaging around, I came across a small container of things that obviously had much use and were a well-worn memory from our daughter Sara’s childhood.
Crayons and colouring pencils.
How many of us remember back to when our children picked up that crayon or marker for the first time?
Sitting with them at the kitchen table; your child is not even able at this stage to hold a crayon correctly. But, did it matter? Of course not! They just latched on to it and started wildly moving the crayon across that blank piece of paper, creating in their mind the perfect picture to give Mom to put on the fridge for the world to see.
As things progressed, you likely bought them a simple colouring book suitable for the age they were at. Having said that, a colouring book is a big step up from a white sheet of paper.
With colouring books, the lines define the shape and also where to colour.
But like the blank piece of paper, this is fun. REAL FUN. There were no rules. The sky can be green and not blue; the lines in the book are merely a suggestion; the grass can be red and not green.
And with great abandon and without care for the rules, children colour, create and express themselves in such wonderful ways with a simple crayon. Why? – because they can. And no one stops them.
In fact, we encourage and support them all along the way.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the path, we call life, there is a point when society or someone says, “in order to fit in – you must colour between the lines.”
As the days move along and as we grew older, even though we may not have known it, “colouring between the lines” creates a loss in our life.
The “stay between the lines mantra,” begins to ever so slightly strip or erode away part of who we are.
It takes that “wild child-like abandonment and care-free attitude” from our childhood and slowly over time smooths out those rough edges to create something that conforms to a much more narrowly defined existence.
This underlying and often not so underlying layer of “staying between the lines conformity” ultimately creates a picture where the colours match up(the sky must be blue) and the colours don’t cross over those tiny lines that define the shapes on the page. The result is a picture that all can see and recognize what it is.
Remember though, as a toddler, when starting to colour there were no rules. There was nothing to confine or restrict the crayon crashing across the page in the colouring book.
Did you care? NO!
You were simply being you; being who you are; having fun and living life. You were creating a masterpiece.
But at some ripe age as an adult or even a bit earlier, the mindset of “colouring between the lines” can take us down a variety of different rocky/tree root strewn and foot catching stumbling paths:
- do what’s safe or easy
- don’t be unique or really different
- be perfect
- don’t bend the rules
- keep your creativity in check; no individuality
- don’t make a scene
- stay in your comfort zone; take no risks
If that’s where we’ve ended because we’ve been herded into “colouring within the lines,” we can often find ourselves saying, “trying that won’t work” instead of actually seeing if it will work. Or “it has always been done that way” as the only reason to not try and do things differently.
“Colouring between the lines” can bring us to be a near-perfect rule follower, not willing to step out and “bend the rules” a bit. You’re afraid to take or make a path of your own.
You study and become an accountant(not to disparage accountants), but deep within you; your soul aches and your heart cries and screams that you need to be a writer; an actor, or make pottery. And you know it’s true because you feel and live the ache of your soul and the scream of your heart each and every day.
But how often do you simply end up living life – “painting by numbers.” Number 5 is blue; number 7 is green.
Rigidly colouring within the lines leaves you afraid to be who you are, cut off from your creativity, resourcefulness, and genius.
Source – Unknown
You see, each of us(and that includes you) was born to create a masterpiece.
And that “masterpiece” is us as an individual.
But in order to create that masterpiece, we need to at times and often all the time “colour outside the lines.”
Life may or may not be a “big wonderful and yummy bowl of cherries,” but it certainly is a big box full of brightly colour crayons.
Regardless of what people around you or even what society says, it is okay to “colour outside the lines” and along with that, it is also okay to use every colour in the crayon box.
In fact, to create “your masterpiece” you’ll need to use each colour; mix them up a bit(make the sky green), and to say “to hell with the lines on the page.”
Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
~ Albert Einstein
Now is the time to open back up that box of crayons that have been put away over the years.
Get out there and colour with “child-like freedom.” Use the brightest and wildest colour schemes you can think of.
Bring perspective to life and things that only you can bring.
You are different, unique, original.
Be you – the world needs your masterpiece.
— with love —
— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —
Photo Credits: Pixabay and Google Images