You’re An Adult, Put Down The Coloring Books

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You're An Adult, Put Down The Coloring Books

It was Sunday afternoon. The night prior, I had declined plans to have dinner and drinks with some friends for fear that we’d parlay our reservation into going to bar after bar after bar, which would only lead to a hangover and some serious regret over how much money I’d spent throughout the course of my Saturday. In lieu of heading out, I stayed in and drank half-a-bottle of wine while watching “A Trip To Italy” on Netflix. But even though I slid a cabernet-induced slumber that lasted until 8 o’clock the next morning, my Sunday still managed to transform itself into that of a Scary Sunday.

And there I sat, stressing with no avenue to let off some steam. I brainstormed, racking my brain for things to do to distract myself from the real life stresses that seem to bog me down on a weekly basis. “Take a walk, go play nine holes, go for a drive.” I wasn’t taken by anything. But when I took to Snapchat to distract myself, I saw something that would only elevate my angst — “Sunday Funday” on a college friend’s story, with her right hand coloring in what appeared to be a trippy flower on the page of something I just simply can’t get behind: an adult coloring book.

All the research in the world is pointing to adult coloring books as being cathartic, stress-reducing, and expressive for people who otherwise lack any or all creative abilities. But me? I’m seeing these things as a means of wasting time and hard-earned money. My four-hour $42 round of golf? At least I’m building relationships with others. My $35 bar tab that I ran up over the course of an afternoon? Chalk that up as networking. But the two hours you spent coloring in that overly-detailed pirate ship from a book you bought from a paper store for $25? What a fucking waste.

If someone saw me playing with my old Ninja Turtle action figures, they’d think I was a fucking lunatic. But, for some reason, it’s acceptable for people to buy “adult coloring books” that just lead them to creating something you’d hang at your campsite at Bonnaroo because it looks cool when you’re on a designer drug that your sketchy friend brought. Like, what an amazing 8.5″ x 11″ psychedelic paint-by-numbers sketch of a hummingbird! You must be so proud of yourself that you dedicated the better part of your Sunday to doing the same thing as my 4-year-old cousin!

My coloring phase? Yeah, that ended when I was twelve when I finally had the hand-eye coordination and cognitive ability to do something spectacular — draw.

Draw?” you ask. Yeah, bro. Draw. You know, like a free-hand sketch of something using a pencil instead of just staying between the lines. Or maybe get next-level and create a watercolor, or an oil painting. I don’t know, man, the world is your oyster. I mean, two years ago, I lost power for three days and had nothing to do at night but listen to music on my iPhone in the candlelight. So what did I do? I went out, bought a sketchbook, and I applied myself. The results? They were remarkable.

Will deFries is a once-in-a-generation artist.

A photo posted by @willdefries on

Just look at that fucking bird. I didn’t need help from some big box retailer who mass-produces art that everyone’s passing off as their own accomplishment. I dug deep and created a multi-colored waterfowl that got 47 likes on Instagram. How’s that for ingenuity and relaxation? It’s amazing what we as humans can do when they think outside the lines.

I’m pretty sure the only reason coloring books were created in the first place was for toddlers who were unable to color between the lines. Because after their incessant and unrecognizable scribbling, there was still a figure or setting in the background that somewhat resembled something tangible when hung on the fridge. But guess what? That same validation those toddlers are getting? That’s the validation you’re getting now as a 29-year-old woman with a career, mortgage, and fully-developed brain. Kind of embarrassing, no?

“But it relaxes me,” they’ll say. And while I can understand how mindlessly zoning out while scribbling on a pre-drawn piece of paper could be relaxing for someone, there are also a million other things one could do to calm the nerves. Like, oh, I don’t know — burning some calories by taking a walk, reading a classic, learning to cook a new dish, calling a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Really just doing anything that takes a substantial amount of care and skill, and not something that parents use to distract their three-year-old who won’t stop crying their dick off because they can’t watch Frozen for the millionth fucking time.

Just do yourself a favor and put down the adult coloring book. It’s time to grow up.

Image via Lea Latumahina / Creative Commons

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