When I was a kid and used to color, while most of the crayons were still ¾ of their original size, the black one would be a little nub. This was because after filling in areas with red, blue, green, orange, purple, and yellow, I would outline everything in black.

I remember not liking the look of colors going outside the lines, and a thick black border solved that. In retrospect, some family boundary issues were probably at play, too. I never was really big on coloring—I preferred freestyling with a blank sheet of paper—but the coloring and the outlining satisfied some type of urge to keep things in their places.

I used to wonder why you couldn’t buy a box of just black crayons to keep all the colors even.

Yesterday, after another day of my messy life, I realized I still want that box of black crayons.

I’d outline my daughter’s room, making sure all the stuff bulging out of it was well within the lines. I know she is a different style, and I try to be reasonable, but the clutter is killing me!  I’d take my boss’s bitter gossipy speeches and draw a black circle around them so they couldn’t leak out and poison my optimism. I’d accept the hurt and anger that I feel from my marriage and know it is what it is—but encased in black.

I love black. It’s the “color” that absorbs all the other ones. He takes all the other colors into consideration, but then he means business.

I understand and care about everyone’s agendas. I need to start setting more limits.

Gimme a black crayon!