THEORY: Outside The Lines

It frustrates and disappoints me how one change can make me hate something I actually like. It brings frustration to a whole new level because it not only adds up to the things that bring me ugly feelings, it also robs me of a source of joy!

Let's use coloring as an example. Let's say you like coloring. You look forward to doing it because you feel you are actually pretty good at it and you feel satisfaction in seeing your own work finished. And even if it stresses you out sometimes, when you can't get that shade of blue just right, you carry on. Because that stress actually gives you motivation to try again and do better.

But one day someone tells you that you need to color a certain way. You followed, of course, because you are eager to learn how to improve your coloring and how to better the experience. You give this new way a shot but then you realize something isn't right. You are doing the same thing you love, coloring, but you don't feel happy at all. You stress out as well but you aren't motivated to correct the source of stress.

You then realize you now dread having to color. You want to avoid the activity in the anticipation of horrible feelings that come with the activity. It feels as though you are being forced to color with your left hand when you are right handed - so unnatural. And what's even worse is that you get spanked in the hand for coloring outside the lines (even by accident). When you think of it, yes, coloring outside the lines is wrong and should be corrected but if you think about it some more, it's just a result of having to do something in a way that isn't natural to you. It is inevitable that a right handed person make a mess when she is forced to use her left.

You tolerate the spanking and tell yourself to stop f*cking up. You not only feel the physical pain of spanking but also suffer the mental torture of never being quite good enough. After a while, you realize you need to take a step back and ask yourself, "How has it come to this?"

Then you realize that though using the left hand to color can be learned, it will never feel as nafural... and you will never be as happy. In the end, you either just learn to live with the spanking and accept the fact that coloring will no longer be in the list of your destressing activities or stand up and say, "I'll have to do things my way"

Of course you can't just say that so you just say it in your head. You say it every time you see a picture you are asked to color. You say it every time you imagine how you would have colored the picture differently if given the chance, no, freedom. You say it in private or during the sneaky chances you actually get away with coloring with your right hand again. You say it and dream it to be true and for a while you're as happy as you were again.

Then you get caught and are told to put that crayon back to your left hand and you carry on. You color outside those lines and you get spanked and you get numb. You color and color and continue to wonder if you will ever get that shade of blue just right then realize it just doesn't matter anymore. You just need to keep your colors inside those darn lines.

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