After my first experience with sexual abuse, I was so hurt, angry and confused. I was a child and didn’t understand what an “outlet” was and I certainly didn’t know how to ask for help. But even as a child I was able to develop a tool, although at the time I didn’t quite understand its meaning.
But it was no surprise to me that coloring books for adults has become kind of a big thing. So, when I was younger and had this mishmash of emotions that caused internal chaos, I used scribbling as a tool. Allow me to explain.
I took a blank piece of paper and a pencil and scribbled fast and hard all over the paper, frantically scribbling my emotions out. When I looked at it, it looked like a tangled web of crap. But I felt a bit better.
So then I took all different colored crayons and I started coloring in each little scribble, changing colors often. It actually took me a long time to finish because as you can see from the picture, when you scribble like that, you make many little squiggles to color in. When I finally finished, I felt proud because it honestly looked pretty to me. (Refer back to the featured picture. It shows the progression)
Looking back it helped me in several ways and even to do this day, I do a variation of it.
Some of the major benefits I got out of it were:
- It helped get negativity out when I couldn’t find words
- It taught me to focus and the benefits of finishing something
- It taught me the concept of turning a negative into a positive
Unfortunately I stopped doing it after childhood and didn’t pick it back up until years later, when I finally took an active role in coping in healthy ways.
I think this is a really good tool for anyone that has trouble controlling their emotions. If you think about what it doesn’t take to do it, which is no artistic skill whatsoever and what it offers from a therapy perspective, a safe outlet of expression, the technique could be used from children to the elderly and a lot of people in between.
So, next time you’re feeling frustrated or angry, scribble it out and color it in 🙂