I just colored a picture for my mom. It seems to have become a thing that happens on occasion, especially if the library has any cute Halloween pictures up for grabs. Coloring a picture is therapeutic to me. It is, in part, an artistic expression, but with semi-mindlessness because someone else drew the lines. I like drawing my own lines in life, for the most part, but once in a while, it’s nice to follow a path laid out by someone else. They show you the parameters and you zone into filling in the spaces with whatever creative fancy strikes you, or just as boring as you please. It’s all fine, and I tend to try to stay inside the lines.
There are so many other things in life, everything from religion to laws of the land to acceptable work place behavior to even etiquette, where the lines are there because someone randomly put them there ages ago and no one questioned it. This is the way something is because it’s the way we were told it is. There may have been a reason, but probably no one remembers what it is anymore. I’m not talking about the big things like don’t murder someone, don’t burn your house down, don’t go to work naked (strippers are excluded), and don’t fling your spaghetti at the waiter. Some things just make sense. Some things don’t. Why is there a dinner fork and a salad fork, doesn’t that just create extra dishes? Who says you can’t wear dusty sandals to church, cause isn’t that what Jesus wore all the time? And apparently there has been an issue with people whistling under water… to the point that someone had to pass a law so they wouldn’t do it anymore! There are rules everywhere we look and they are so ingrained in our lives that we don’t often realize that there may not be a valid reason for us to follow some of them.
Who decided which foods were breakfast foods? Who decided you had to eat your dinner before you could have your dessert? Who gets to say how a person of a certain age should act and why do we feel the need to tell people to act their ages? Who says your socks have to match each other? Or anything else in your wardrobe? Why do we feel guilty or rebellious or attempt to justify breaking free from some of these customs? Isn’t it enough to say, I’m an adult and I can make up my own mind about what I want to do and when and how?
My best friend and I have been discussing lately how abnormal our relationship is. We are two incredibly not-normal people. So, why should our friendship make sense to others who are trying so hard to be normal? I don’t want a friendship that makes sense to everyone else. It is ours and we are happy. The same goes with my mom, my other best friend. I’ve noticed a lot of people claim that their mom is their best friend, but their relationships never look like ours. Ours is very special and very weird and very deep. I wonder who drew the lines that said friends are like this, best friends are like that, etc. These two women aren’t just people I value, need, trust, and they aren’t just people I enjoy being around more than I enjoy being around others. They are part of my soul, part of who I am. We often find that we can complete each others’ sentences, even if we just randomly jumped tracks in our trains of thought. I hope we never really make sense to everyone else. What a boring life that would be.
By the same token, I want a romantic relationship that colors outside the lines. I don’t want the violins and three dozen roses and proposal with a big diamond ring. I don’t want the fancy restaurant dates or the weekly dinner and a movie. I’d rather bake cookies in our pajamas and have a Harry Potter marathon while debating the merits of Lyle Lovett’s songwriting abilities, if that is what makes us happy. I want whatever happens in that relationship to be representative of the two unusual people who love each other more because of their quirks, not in spite of them. I’m sure there will be some normal things, too; but I will always most value the moments that aren’t just like everyone else’s. We will always aspire to be us, whatever that is or looks like, whatever is found within the lines that we draw for our shared world. And I hope that as we change and grow and evolve through our lives, or even if we ever just get a little bored, we won’t be afraid to get creative and color outside of our own lines… as long as we’re coloring together.
So, go. Go have ice cream for dinner. Go attempt to whistle under water. (*disclaimer: author assumes no responsibility for any injury, humiliation, or death that results from such ventures) Go mismatch your socks. Whatever it is that makes your life yours, find ways to do it that make you happy. There are enough rules that we all have to follow. When we can, we shouldn’t be afraid to color outside the lines.