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.
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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!