‘Queerly Not Straight’: The Life Changing Magic of Adult Coloring

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.

You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t noticed the influx of adult coloring books.

From fairy’s to swear words, adult coloring books have become unique, funny, and available to anyone and everyone who likes…well…anything. A coloring book about Harambe? Got it. A coloring book about The CW’s Supernatural where you can color Sam Winchesters beautiful hair? Got it. A coloring book about fat cats with little clues hidden among the pages. Got it!

There’s a coloring book for everyone.

Keeping all that in mind, when adult coloring started to become popular I scoffed at it. I thought it was childish and for the uber meek and ultra dorks of this world. Who would want to spend hours upon hours coloring a page with a sweet looking corpse straight out a Tomb Raider game? I had no time for it or those who bothered wasting their hard earned cash on adult coloring books.


Then Teen Wolf happened. I know, awesome connection. Stay with me. It’ll make sense.

A couple of years ago I attended New York Comic Con for Teen Wolf‘s final appearance. I love wolves, monsters, and hot people tearing off their shirts so of course I was going to go. While there I was given a coloring book with A) a shirtless Scott McCall and B) drawings of the rest of my favorite characters. This time…I didn’t throw it all away. I didn’t ignore the adult coloring book. I didn’t scoff at it or wonder who the fuck would want to color this.


Because I wanted to color this! I wanted to color in Allison’s eye color and Stiles dorky ass face. I cared for them, had been given the utensils to color the pages in, and so I did it. Simple, to the point, and exactly what I needed in my life at that moment. I just didn’t know it and a part of me was still ehhhh about letting anyone know what I was doing.

That I…was…COLORING!

Once I left New York City and visited a Barnes & Noble, I rethought everything I knew about coloring. Every expectation, every prejudice that I had against the kind of person that would spend their precious time coloring, said “Adios. See you later. I’m busy coloring!” And I went with it. I didn’t hesitate, I didn’t try to pull back and act all cool like I didn’t just spend an hour coloring a fat ol’ owl.

I was the kind of person that enjoyed coloring and I bet that you would too.

Besides the obvious, badass books from every genre you can think of and a bunch you never thought possible, getting into the adult coloring book game has been life changing when it comes to my mental health. It’s an avenue for creativity, no doubt about it, but it’s also an avenue to channel your anger, pain, or disappointment at the world in general. Adult coloring is a safe medium where you are the deciding factor of how something turns out.


Be it markers, crayons, or pencils, you create the world on these pages. You bring them to life. You decide when to stop, when to keep going, or if you just want to tear it apart and never see it again. It’s all up to you. And honestly, it’s rare to find that in life today without having consequences ready and waiting. With adult coloring I can tear the page into bits and there will be no consequences besides cleaning up the bits I’ve created.

Having this small bit of control in my life has been life changing, not just for my wallet and bookshelves because those bad boys are full of adult coloring books, but for my sense of ease and strength. If I need to recharge and regroup my mind, I color. If I need to stop an epic spiral full of panic attacks, mania, and hyperventilating, I color. Adult coloring has become the calm in the storm known as my brain, my life, and I am forever grateful for it.

I’m also hella pissed off that it took me this long to get into it. I worried too much about what people thought about it and what they would think of me if they knew I had an adult coloring book. Now, I don’t care. Now this is me. And I want to save you countless hours, days, weeks, or just the rest of your life from thinking that adult coloring books are silly.

Adult coloring books have been that nightly free therapy for me. It’s been a friend when I’m all alone. And I know I can come to it in a moments notice when my world turns tits up. I have this. And if you’re still ready, I want you to have this as well.

So hit up Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Etsy, or your local Walmart. I don’t care which you pick as long as you go out there and try something new, something calming, something life changing like adult coloring books!

Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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