Hi, my name is Allyssa and I love to color.
Nope, I am not an artist. I don’t sketch and then color in my own work.
What I’m talking about here is the pure joy of 5 Below or Dollar Store coloring books. For children. Or big kids. Or adults who just need a little relaxation and fun.
As children, we colored for entertainment and to work on our fine motor skills.
As college aged kids, we were all told by older friends that coloring books would be essential dorm room staples. I never understood why until I got to Drew. First of all, Drew, I love ya, but wow did I get restless there. Somehow, the best way to pass time and get to know your new floormates was by pulling out a slightly questionable dollar store coloring book and writing your own captions and stories on the images. Then we would decorate each other’s doors with the pages and giggle for days.
One time, my friend Kristin and I had nothing to do all afternoon. We kept hearing Angry Andrew (a Holloway 2nd favorite character) yelling in his room, so we decided to make some new door decs for him. We printed out 5 or so Neopets coloring pages, made them gorgeous, and then put them on his door.
To add a little background exposition here: None of us on the floor spoke to Angry Andrew – he was not in our year and he was very involved with his video games – and he didn’t know who put the Neopets on his door, but they remained on the door for the rest of the year. Mission accomplished.
After all of that, we were less stressed. We had made our own fun, and through that we were not thinking about papers, exams, questionable friendships or unnecessary drama. We were just relaxing.
That brings me back to adult coloring.
On Saturday, backstage at Dracula, I was just starting to read A Storm of Swords when another crew member/employee was looking for cards or something for us to do. Then she just decided that, well, we had crayons, so why shouldn’t we color?
So we did. She printed out pages that she found on Google and we got down to business. Eventually, a few cast members joined us in between their scenes. Soon after, I was getting requests for me to bring in my coloring books.
So yesterday I brought in my Lisa Frank coloring book. So many cast members got involved! It was amazing. Half of the cast seems to be around my age, while the other half is older. So many of us were coloring that we couldn’t even all fit around the table! The director couldn’t stop laughing, slightly puzzled by our crayon wielding party.
Then we realized it. We were coloring not only for fun, but because it was relaxing. I wasn’t thinking about work, the actors weren’t worrying about their lines or next scene change, and everyone sitting around that table was in a moment of Zen.
Best of all, coloring kept us quiet in the green room, which we sometimes struggle to do.
For me, I also enjoy that coloring literally keeps my hands and mind busy. Due to the fibromyalgia, there are days when I cannot focus or keep my mind straight. Brain fog! Each night of the show, I do the makeup on the actor who plays Dracula. Yesterday, I kept forgetting pieces of the routine and he had to remind me that I was forgetting to shade his temples, put circles under his eyes, etc. However, when I was coloring, it was as if I was hitting the reset button my brain. My focus improved and the fatigue and stress of life, which worsens my brain fog, had lifted.
Sometimes, my hands feel tense and stiff, and I look for something to squeeze or hold to help remove the tension. I was just thinking about buying some Silly Putty or a stress ball to keep in my purse so that I can have it backstage, when I realized that grasping the crayons would do that same job.
Everyone could use a stress reduction. Would you color to remove stress from your life? Maybe you don’t necessarily want to use a Lisa Frank or dinosaur (next week’s green room coloring theme at Dracula) coloring book, but there are dozens of options out there for the “adult coloring artist.” Such as these two, found on Amazon.
Coloring: yea or nay? Definitely yea!