Coloring to Calm by Abigail Herbst

Everyone has different ways to deal with stress. Some people write, some exercise, others eat their feelings; I color. As a creative person with an extremely limited artistic ability, I have found that coloring the intricate black and white pictures in adult coloring books to be the perfect median to relieve my emotions. Sitting cross legged on my floor, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a vanilla scented candle lit beside me, with acoustic music playing from across the room and a colored pencil in my hand, I feel control and calm. The pressure of whatever was stressing me has been long forgotten as I add color to the page in front of me. I found coloring to be a cure to anything that was upsetting me. Stressed out? Color! Feeling overwhelmed? Sad? Nervous? Color! No problem could not be solved by adding color to a blank page. I colored when I was happy, and excited as well, I was constantly coloring. I loved to do it, and the art always put me in a better mood.
Tonight, I finished my first coloring book ever. The newly completed book, titled “Secret Paris”, was an impulse buy from Barnes and Noble two summers ago. It quickly became my favorite coloring book of my collection, and I spent all of my stressful and emotional moments of the past couple years adding color to the blank pages. The book, previously consisting of dull white pages displaying the fashion, food, and architecture of Paris now filled with bright colors.
A strange feeling washed over me as I realized that an image of a food truck serving crepes, methodically colored with a pastel color scheme, was the last page I would color in the book. I had dedicated so much time into each page of the book, some pages taking me weeks to complete, and I had finally finished. I felt a strange mix of satisfaction and sadness, as I would never get to color in this book I enjoyed so much again. The book encompassed my life, every page telling a story of where I was and how I was feeling when it was worked on, like a journal.
This  marks the end of the “Secret Paris” era. It’s time for a new coloring book and I will continue to transform my stress and emotions into a beautiful picture in whatever coloring book is next.

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