The Perks Of Being Ordinary

Cute Frog Watercolor Illustration

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.

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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!
Cute Frog Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

 

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
40 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    It’s one of the most admirable traits to examine yourself and choose to be content with the results. In a world obsessed with keeping up with others, this is refreshing. You’re now motivated by being the best you you can be, and that’s turned out to be an inquisitive, exploratory human being.

    • Mireya 4 months ago

      yes well said. I am motivated to keep working on my art.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕It’s truly a tough world these days. It seems you’re only second best if you don’t DO exactly what everyone else is doing. In many ways, not much has changed from my high school days. Thankfully, I’ve remained basically unchanged. 😉

  2. Karen Fortier 4 months ago

    Great frog Charlie! I loved catching frogs and turtles in the summer. Just a bit of a tomboy back then.

  3. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    I think you show being content with yourself in your art – you paint the way that suits you and have made up your own techniques as you go. I’ve often thought that people try to find their style by doing what they’ve seen others do instead of doing what works for them.

    • Mireya 4 months ago

      yes and that’s a teriible habit to break

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 YES!!!! I a thousand percent agree with that! That’s why people got an Activity Book from me instead of a step by step tutorial. hehe…. I appreciate those kind of tutorials very much, but I really, really, really, want to help people discover their OWN special way to break the rules rather than just follow them. 😉

  4. Lisa 4 months ago

    Aww! Good for you! I’d have given my left arm to be one of the popular kids in high school. Mainly for the confidence that imbued. My beautiful thing has always been my hair. Even with all the silver coming in now, it still looks good.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yay to beautiful silver hair, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… yeah.. that perfect physical trait was always the thing to have. And it was wonderful to have it! Yet, it’s equally wonderful to be older now and realize there are other traits that can make an even bigger impact! 😉

  5. Mireya 4 months ago

    What a great post and you made me smile. This is so cute. I sure need the confidence booster.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Mireya! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! And thrilled it provided a confidence boost! We should always be confident… we are that cool and popular… if we’re confident, people will definitely notice!

  6. Robert J. Coleman 4 months ago

    Yep, we are so busy wishing we were something else that we don’t find the time to be ourselves. We are only truly happy when we find the person we really are. Your sharing of that moment at the start of your freshman year is so touching, so real, and so maturing as you realize that being ‘you’ for yourself is what happiness is all about. Even if the ‘you’ that shows up is an ordinary green frog; being green is only for the honest and real people.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yes to that, Bob! 😃💕 I don’t think we should spend a moment of our brief lives on this little green planet worrying about what others think. True happiness only comes from what we know and embrace about ourselves. And I’m thrilled to still be that little green frog! 😉

  7. Sharon Nolfi 4 months ago

    This post is wonderful and full of wisdom. I’ve always loved Kermit! Your little frog has an adorable expression.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 And so thrilled you enjoyed this story!

  8. Sandra Gilbert 4 months ago

    Lol, I doubt very much that you were ever “ordinary”, the so called popular kids were too blind to see how amazing you and your ideas were and are. You have created an amazing community and continue to inspire all of us to just show up and “DO” our own unique thing. That is rather extraordinary if you ask me. 😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww, thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 That’s so sweet of you to say! And here I am thinking the real extraordinary thing is all of you who DO! hehe… it’s so cool to watch as people show up and share their gift for art. And we all have this gift… it’s just a bit of unwrapping really. 😉

  9. SnehLata Maheshwari 4 months ago

    Boys are always like u, n doing funny . But the question of art its nice work done.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 Yes… boys will be boys! lol

  10. It’s always easier as we get older to admit we didn’t fit it and frankly don’t care anymore 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Francine! 😃💕And a big YAY to that right?? How beautiful life becomes when you don’t have to worry about fitting in anymore. 😉

  11. LoriCtoo 4 months ago

    What a cute little guy….both of you. 😉 Isn’t it nice that as we grow older we just don’t care what others think? We can weed out those people who don’t have the same interests, beliefs, etc. Life is too short to try to please everyone. And quite frankly, I don’t have the energy. Bahawaha! (I also received my second prize….thank you!)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yes!! It’s so true!! Although I sometimes wish I have more years ahead than behind me, I love that I see more clearly than I ever have before. That makes life right now so amazing!

  12. Jodi 4 months ago

    Such wisdom even as a teenager! For you to make that choice and that decision then was so wise and something so few teens can do! So glad you did! You are far from ordinary! You are EXTRAordinary! Love you Charlie! Sorry I haven’t had much time to write lately!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Love you back, Jodi!! 😃💕 Thank you SO much for all of your encouragement from Day 1 of my crazy journey! And can I just say that it’s extra cool that it came from someone from Mars? So fitting! ❤️Love you much and thanks for everything!!

  13. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    If only the world operated on the Kermit philosophy…how much happier everyone would be. I recently was told how nerdy I was when i was kid and it’s so funny because I never thought about being nerdy, or cool or popular or ugly or not…I just always was me. I grew up in a loving family and “labels” weren’t used so I guess I was very lucky indeed.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yay for being nerdy!! It’s synonymous with curiosity I’ve found and a very, very amazing trait indeed! And I grew up in the same family, thankfully. It’s wonderful when you can be yourself!

  14. Laura Kate 4 months ago

    Lovely post. On the subject of green, I disagree with Kermit. Most green things in the world are far from ordinary. They are full of life, energy and the potential to grow.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 hehe! And yay!! I agree with that! Yes, Kermit had a dismal view of what green things can be indeed. So much energy and potential there!

  15. memadtwo 4 months ago

    There’s definitely a value in being unnoticed. I think we have all experienced being suddenly perceived in a different way–strange, because we are still the same in our own view. Some animals value camouflage, and some like to spread their tails and strut! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      So true, Kerfe! 😃💕 I always encourage others to strut, but I always find it rather difficult. I like being the one in the background more… watching the amazing things happen!

  16. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 4 months ago

    I love love love your frog super cuteeeeeee. So funny I almost painted Kermit lol… and the song he sang that I love is the rainbow connection. I tend to feel we are all extraordinary. we are one of a kind and that makes us all special. All an important part of the puzzle of life. We all make the picture complete. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 And so true! I love rainbow connection as well. Kermit was just such a sage! We are indeed of a kind and that’s what makes life so amazing!

  17. June Hadaway 4 months ago

    It seems there is so much pressure to be popular in school. I admire you for wanting to just be yourself. I rather think frogs are cute. This one especially. Have you ever noticed how they always manage to smile? Lol 🐸🐸🐸🐸🐸

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 Yeah, I don’t think we should ever strive to be popular. It always pales in comparison to actually being loved. And yes, I think frogs always smile as well! But yeah, I always tend to make whatever creature I sketch smile also. hehe

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