For Day 29 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Glorious Green,” I chose to make a little sketch of a frog. When I was a kid, green was my favorite color, most likely because of Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street. One of his signature songs, was “Bein’ Green” where he laments that it’s not easy being green since it “blends in with so many ordinary things.” Indeed, there’s lots of green things in the world, as it’s a color that nature favors. But, by the end of the song, Kermit is content just being himself and concludes that being green is “beautiful. And I think it’s what I want to be.” This song came out the year before I was born, and was quite popular, so I pretty much grew up with this message playing in the background. And it’s a lovely one indeed. Being happy and content just being ourselves seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world. Yet, even as a kid, I would wish I were taller, or braver, or several years older so I could drive a car. There’s always something more out there we could do to learn and grow, but we’ll always end up being the same person, in the end. And yes, that’s always beautiful!
And it’s true, frogs come in a range of colors, so being a green frog is indeed, still a bit ordinary. When you’re a kid, as I was way back then, you reach a point as you get older when you start to view yourself as others do. Or, at least how you think they might, which is always a troubling consideration. I was a nerdy and awkward child and I knew that was how I was viewed by the more popular kids. These were most often the kids that nature had gifted with some sort of visual perfection. A perfect body or perfect hair, for example. Some trait that was unusually amazing and made them immediately stand out from the crowd. If I had a physical trait like that at all back then, it was likely my blue eyes, but they were on a chubby face, and comically enlarged by thick glasses losing much of the allure. In truth, I was a visually ordinary child. I wasn’t particularly handsome or ugly and there was nothing striking that could set me apart from other children. But that’s just the cover of the book. The story inside was far different. Inside, I was spinning with new ideas of things to try and would actually try them, even if they weren’t something that could ever gain the approval of the popular kids. Those kids tended to only do what had already been done.
By the time I hit high school, I’d opted out of ever trying to be popular and focused instead on pursuing my own passions without worrying about what the cool kids might think. I’d decided I could never be one of them and I was fine with that. What I’d failed to notice is that a growth spurt over the summer before my freshman year had caused me to become thin, my face to grow more angular, and contacts had replaced the bulky glasses, revealing baby blue eyes. I remember a girl I knew telling me, “what happened to you? You where gone for a summer and you came back hot!” Apparently, I had transformed into something more visually appealing. But, by that point, I was happy just being me. I’d stopped longing to be one of the chosen and wanted to make my own choices instead. And, I remember how strange it all felt. I hadn’t actually changed at all, but suddenly people who hadn’t noticed me before took notice. There was a moment where I thought, wait, I could now actually be one of them. I finally had those surface attributes that would let me into that elite club. But, I liked that little kid they failed to notice before and I didn’t want to see him go. So he stayed with me then and through adulthood and though I never truly became one of the popular kids, I learned a very valuable lesson about the perks of being ordinary.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
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