Loosen Up Lighten Up Day

After yesterday’s tragic events in Paris, it was difficult to “celebrate” another day for my project this month. I worried about what would be deemed appropriate and and then realized that’s exactly what the monsters among us want. They want us to stop living and start fearing. They want to see us changed. And there’s no way in hell I’m letting them win.

So today, we continue on by celebrating Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day, a day that encourages us to de-stress and unwind and seek balance in life. It’s a day of peace and hope, and one that reminds us that no matter what happens in this crazy world, we need to take a mental break and step back from a spiral of angst and fear.

The truth is, the majority of us are wonderful people, living lives of love. People who don’t use their faith to justify their own evil agenda, but use it to spread good things. Things all faiths can agree on. And because I know this is true, I never lose hope. Together, we can rise above it.

When I was a kid, I was a bit of geek and rather fat, though my mother says I was just chubby. The distinction was lost on a certain super popular boy who used to tease and bully me. As if I wasn’t fully aware that I wasn’t fit and didn’t do well in gym class, he felt the need to remind me at every turn. And it stressed me out.

I would do everything I could to avoid him at school, but he would somehow find me and start in with the taunting. I felt helpless as I couldn’t fight back. I didn’t know how to stop him. So, I would just leave school, happy to be heading back to the safety of my home and friends that didn’t make me feel like crap.

I’m not sure what happened, but one day, it occurred to me that this boy, the one who seemed to hate me, shouldn’t matter to me. So why was he allowed to be on my mind? Why was I letting him become so important to me? It was at that moment that I decided to let it all go.

The next day at school, he came up to me with his usual taunts and I just smiled. “Why are you smiling fat ass?” he asked, his expression changing to one of confusion. “I just realized you don’t matter,” I said and walked past him. I cringed thinking he would run up behind me, but he just stayed standing in the same spot. For the first time in likely ever, he felt powerless. And I felt great.

I’ve encountered other bullies as I’ve gone through life. They always seem to crop up again wearing new faces. Miserable people who never experienced true happiness and want to bring everyone else down to their level. But they don’t bother me anymore. They don’t matter.

What matters is focusing on all that’s good in life. Stress is just a mental bully that doesn’t deserve any more attention than a physical one. So today, I’m happily loosening up and lightening up and I invite you to join me. All you wonderful, beautiful, amazing people who deserve only the best and happiest moments life has to offer. This is your day. Spend it with someone you love.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

48 replies on “Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day

  1. Great post, Charlie! ❤️ Boys used to bully me in Jr. High because I looked different so I understand how painful this can be. Some adults do the same thing – ask insensitive questions but I also learned like you that if I don’t give them any power then what they say can’t hurt me. Amazing how well this works. Enjoy your day! 😊🎨🌈

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aww! Thanks for sharing this event in your life. Stay strong always in your faith. Thanks for thinking of Paris too. Got three foreign exchange students that live there and haven’t heard from them. God protect your children!!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful painting, it has a wonderful look of hope about its eyes and conveys a lovely sense of freedom of spirit. Thank you for the image painted with brush and the encouraging message painted with your words. You are certainly one of those people who has an inner light that keeps the darkness of the world at bay. Peace and /hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I agree that we can’t let the bullies dictate how we live our lives. Such a hard lesson for children who want to just fit in or for kids who want to be an outsider so badly that they end up being the stereotypical outsider.. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I like your image and continue to struggle to sort out how you manage to blend your colors so well. As to the story, I’m with you. I’ve noticed for a long time that when I run or cycle my mind often goes back to encounters with bullies and I replay them differently. Strange, isn’t it? I like the part of your story where you reframe it. That’s a wise and proper response to bullies.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing this with us, Charlie. I too struggled with the “is this appropriate” question. Of course, I rescheduled a post that was completely off the mark but leaving an empty space and not saying something seems wrong, too. I don’t live in a box, but rather, out there in the world so these events have the potential to affect me personally. I think we should get on with it but when we become focused and determined, it should be for building a better world. Art has the power to change lives for the better, to show compassion and present commentary. Please keep painting. We need beauty to overwhelm the ugliness in the world.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful post! It really helps me reading this, while I struggle pushing back my fears… You are right, bad and stupid people shouldn´t matter at all! Life is beautiful, most people are good and just want to live in peace and happiness. People picking on others just show how weak and disturbed they are on the inside. Today I have to go to a mall downtown, and I was afraid until now. But I won´t let them “pick” on me. I will go there and I´ll have fun! 😊 Oh, and beautiful painting of a dove!!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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