Before there were 12 options for coloring books ranging from cute elephants to soul opening chakras at every hipster store you walk into, I would sit with my 64 pack of Crayola crayons (sharpener on the back of the box and all). My summer vacations were marked by how many colorful Minnies, Goofies, and my least favorite, Winnie the Poohs I could bring to life on the otherwise dull white pages of coloring books. To Pooh’s his defense, I only disliked him because “Pooh” is so close to “pum” which means fart in Portuguese.
He always seemed like such a wimp. As airy as a fart. I was a tough kid, so that never meshed well with my personal motto.
Anyways, in my escapades coloring from the months of June until August throughout my childhood, I learned three things that even my quarter-of-a-life-lived self can appreciate.
You can always fix the mess you make
People will always try to veer you off path
Little by little, persistence pays off
While growing up, I had (and still slightly have) this complex: I felt like I had no natural talent. From ages six to eight, I learned quickly that of all three children that my mom had, I was seemingly the defected one. There was nothing actually wrong with me, I just didn’t have some prodigy-like powers my brother and sister displayed at a young age.
My sister: could sing circles around the Whitney Houston types before, during, and after puberty. She has the kind of voice that you wished you had, fully knowing it could carry you to stardom. Beyoncé level stardom.
My brother: has been drawing masterpieces since the age of three. Nobody knows how, why, or where the creations he can translate from his brain onto paper come from, but he’s always been the kind of talent you can’t teach.
In fact, they were both so talented, it was hard to fit in.
So as young as six years old, I was on a quest to find out what my superpower was. I wanted to be known for “that one thing” I was naturally better at than everyone else.
Nights were spent with tears swelled up in my eyes to the point I realized I needed glasses (I literally found out I had bad eyesight one night while crying, wondering why everything looked clearer with tears in my eyes).
Ok, yes I was an extremely emotional Cancerian child who would cry so much at nothing, they nicknamed me “butta” because I would melt at any sign of sadness. But still, that shit was sad.
Somehow, coloring cleared somethings up that helped me get over my sadness and start getting smart.
Lesson 1: You can always fix your mistakes
My quest for my natural talent led me to this one particular afternoon as my seven year old self. My sister and I were coloring these intricate Mandalas, because I am afterall, the daughter of Brazilian hippies. Despite my best efforts to color within the lines, I smudged (probably because my older sister pushed my arms, which I’ll get to in the next lesson), but regardless of how it happened, the damage was done.
What came after the mess? You guessed it, I was on the verge of tears about it. Ugh I was such a sappy ass kid.
I immediately ran over to my mom to show that I had messed up this Mandala I had been working on for days. She looked at me, smiled, and said, “It’s ok if you mess up, you’ve always been good at making things better even when you mess up.”