Colouring outside the lines.
Recently, I traded in my iPad and PC laptop for a new iPad Pro- keyboard, pencil and all. I’m not using it to it’s full extent yet but last night after Izzy went to bed I decided to try colouring. I have always wanted to get into the adult colouring book fad and I enjoy drawing and painting so having all the tools I need on a tablet seemed almost too easy not to finally give it a go. It reminded me of my childhood. I have a few good colouring stories. When I was young, maybe 6 or 7, my grandparents were installing new flooring. While the old floors were torn up but the new ones hadn’t been installed yet, my grandparents were functioning on the underlying plywood. I remember my Grandpa allowing me and all my cousins to colour on the plywood. We made a sort of time capsule of memories that was covered up with new flooring. I wish we had taken some photos because a few years ago when my parents were laying new floors in the same house, the glue had destroyed our drawings so we couldn’t relive the memories. I have held on to the thrill it gave me then and will always cherish this memory.
My best memory involving colouring is with my Grandma Mary. She died a few years ago and I miss her dearly. I wish very much that my husband and daughter could have known her because she was one of the kindest, most loving women I have ever known. She was truly special to me and to anyone who knew her. I remember so many beautiful things about her when we were small but one of my favourite memories was colouring with her. I would have my picture and she would have hers. I remember that Grandma would colour slowly and would always press very softly. Her colouring was always perfectly within the lines. When I would colour, I would often disregard the lines. I would colour quickly and often break crayons from pressing too hard. My colouring was untamed. I remember one time in particular when I was colouring with her and she told me that I needed to be more careful to colour within the lines and she pointed to the black lines that together created the picture. I responded by saying, “Grandma, I am colouring in the lines. See?” I gestured with my finger tracing along the 4 lines around the edges that framed the picture, “I’m colouring inside these lines.” My Grandma smiled at me. I have always wondered what she thought of me then, when she smiled.
There was a time before she died when I went to visit her at the hospital. I didn’t know what to bring her because we had always had a funny relationship and I didn’t think it would be appropriate to bring her the traditional flowers. So I brought her a toy gorilla. I wish I could relive giving her that toy gorilla because she paid me a compliment that I think explained her smile that day so many years earlier. She told me that she adored me for being untamed. She allowed me to be everything I was- tenacious, strong-willed, stubborn, energetic, fearless, spunky, tough. I didn’t have the qualities expected of me as a woman, church-goer or someone from a small town. Sometimes I fear that I have lost some of these qualities since going to bible college, burning out at a job in a church, becoming a wife and mom, going into debt… I fear some of these have beaten me down more than I’d like to admit.
What would it look like to colour like I did as a child in my role as a Mom, partner or friend? To be untamed and create my own shapes and vision. What could I accomplish in my career if I thought outside the barriers of everyone else’s black lines? What new energy could I bring to my emotional and spiritual life if I got back to my fearless, strong-willed attitude that I had in my childhood? I mentioned in my last blog that Ben and I want to change culture. Truthfully- I had always thought that it was really Ben who would accomplish that, but what if I believed in my own tenacious and brave self to do it as well? I do not believe that any one of us is ordinary, so why have I accepted that for myself?