coloring books are a thing, and no, they do not feature empty line drawings of
couples in various coital positions. The trend started in France in 2012, when book
publisher Hachette released "Art-Thérapie:
100 Coloriages Anti-Stress," an assortment of mandala-like designs that
has since sold more than two million copies. (A mandala is a repetitive doily-esque
used for spiritual and meditative purposes in Hindu and Buddhist cultures.)
It seemed like an
extension of the adult BYOB painting studios that have popped up everywhere,
and the reviews on amazon were highly motivating.
One woman wrote, "When I'm tense or unhappy, I can sit down and lose myself in
coloring the patterns with pencil or ink, or crayon. I become absorbed in the
rhythms of the line, and in how to enhance them with color."
I could practically taste the Xanax on my tongue.
Another gushed, "The kids are in bed,
and I'm coloring by myself. No one is stealing my crayons or coloring on my
pages. My thoughts are wandering wherever they want to go. It is soooo quiet.
Ahhhhh ... Bliss." Once our LOs are in bed, we still have a crap ton of
necessary activities to squeeze in (dinner, work emails, "Bachelor in Paradise") so I knew I'd have to find time for art during daylight hours.
So one afternoon last week, while the girls (ages 3.5 and 1)
were happily entertaining themselves, I pulled out my "Art-therapie Sagesse D'Asie: 100 Colorages Anti-Stress." The title promised to instill in me both wisdom from Asia as well as a strong-but-legal dose of anxiety-relief; far more than "Caillou" has ever offered.
Flipping through the book on the kitchen island, I settled on a
Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu deity. I swear I instantly felt more relaxed
just looking at him, his elaborate headdress and kind eyes beckoning me to fill
them in with my miscapped Crayola Washable Markers. I picked up the purple marker
and began drawing, imagining waves of stress relief washing over me. I could
practically taste the Xanax on my tongue.