I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.

― Mahatma Gandhi

first amendment freedom of expression wall_opt

The First Amendment Monument in Charlottesville, Virginia


What would you write on this monument?

Me?  I got creative and wrote my name.

And continuing the theme of relaying the obvious, I wrote:

 freedom slate monument_opt


Maybe it wasn’t as colorful (or cathartic) as the citizen who wrote RYAN IS A TOOL, but that’s okay.  The 108 feet of slate writing space exists to express our views on well, whatever.


I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

― Oscar Wilde


 Because freedom of expression is one of our rights in America.

art on first amendment monument_opt

This one makes me smile.


Whether we doodle on slate, express our political or religious views or write best-selling books, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said that part of the significance of our freedom of expression is to “assure self-fulfillment for each individual.”

Expression = Self-fulfillment

Maybe not right away, but having the ability to express yourself can help you find purpose, passion and meaning in your life.  And there are so many ways to do it.

For example,I express myself in this blog, in my fiction writing and by wearing sparkly shoes.

 converse sequin


Maybe I color my hair blue, paint, or do DIY projects. .



Even my lunch tells a story about me and what I want for myself.

grilled tofu salad_opt

This is a very delicious grilled tofu salad. Not that I’m trying to convince anyone (because of freedom and all that).


Plus I like to bake and experiment with recipes.  I planned on showing you a picture of the gluten-free spice cupcakes I made for this weekend.  But sadly, they are all gone.


empty platter_opt


But cupcake or no cupcake, every day is another opportunity to show the world an expression that is uniquely our own.  Because each of us have a JOY looking for a voice.


You are joy, looking for a way to express.  

It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy-frolicking and eager.

That’s who you are.

― Esther Hicks


So, here’s to FROLICKING ENERGY and the unfettered freedom to find meaning.

What would you write on the Freedom of Expression monument?  How do you express yourself?  

I love it when you comment 🙂

Have an awesome week!

61 thoughts on “The Freedom to Express Our Frolicking Energy

  1. Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2)

    That wall is awesome, Coleen! I’d write . . . hmm . . . gotta think on that. I guess I express myself so freely in so many ways (*hubby groans*) that I’m not desperate to say anything in particular! And what I also love about this is all your pictures, with writing and arrows added – PicMonkey? or something else?

    OK, what I would write:
    Jen <3 Blaik
    Books trump housework anytime.
    Life: be all that you can be.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Books trump housework–I want to write that one on the walls of my house! 🙂
      And yes, I rely on Picmonkey for all my photo editing!
      Thanks Jennifer.

  2. Alicia Street

    What you made me realize is that even though I love reading graffiti, I’ve never written on a public wall. I guess I feel more comfortable putting it into art forms or letters to my representatives.

    Fantastic post, Coleen! You always manage to write posts that go straight to the heart. Bet your fiction is fabulous.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Maybe that’s why I was so hesitant when I had the opportunity to write on the wall–all those years of being told graffiti is bad! Ha ha.
      And thanks for your kind words Alicia 🙂

  3. August McLaughlin

    Awesome post, Coleen. And I love those shoes! 🙂 I would probably doodle a quote, a dog and some music notes—unless something profound struck me with chalk in hand. Hmm…

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Thanks August!
      I wanted to write a quote–but even after all the quoting I’ve done here on this blog, I could not think of one while standing there. Go figure. 🙂

  4. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    A thing named “Freedom of Expression Momument” represents a lot of pressure. I’d want to write something zingy or witty but probably wouldn’t come up with anything but “Hi.” Right now, our forefathers are slapping their heads and saying, “We risked our lives so she could write, ‘Hi?’ Tell King George we were wrong. Some people don’t deserve independence.”

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Pat you are cracking me up. I didn’t even go so far as to make that connection. That is just too funny. You’re so right–and we better make sure they don’t see what we are expressing on the television!
      Thanks for the smiles Pat 🙂

  5. Debra Kristi

    LOVE your shoes! Showing your bling. You go! That is awesome. I would probably write something like, “Be yourself and never feel pressured to be something you’re not.” But it might depend on my mood. I might simply feel like writing, “Homework sucks!” LOL Because I thought I was done with it and detest having more than an hour to deal with it every day. Ugh! Your inspiration posts are fantastic.

  6. Emily R. King

    Great post, Coleen! I enjoyed the pictures a lot.

    I’d write, “Love One Another” because it more thoroughly describes how we can have peace in the world. A peace sign is great, but THAT brings peace to us all.


  7. Julie Glover

    I would probably want to come up with some amazing quote of great significance and wisdom…and then my sarcasm would take over: I’d probably end up drawing that famous face over the wall and writing “Kilroy was here.” I love that wall and that Oscar Wilde quote is AWESOME–exactly how I feel.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      That’s funny you say that, because I think that “Kilroy was here” was on that wall–I can’t see it in the photo, but I remember thinking I was going to say something to G, but then realized he wouldn’t know what I was taking about!
      Domo Arigato Julie 🙂

  8. Patricia

    I don’t know how it got started, but my best friend in high school and I used to sign evrything “love and lolipops.” It just so happens that I recently looked through my high school year books, and there was that silly expression. A lot of our friends would sign our books with our motto because they thought it was so corny and they never wanted us to forget it. Well guess what? It’s been 30 years people – I forgot it! Until I skimmed through the old year books.

    I love that we have the freedom to make up and say silly things like that. Today I’d probably write something wiser like “mean people suck,” but it would really depend on the moment.

    Love the cupcake picture. You really have to use your imagination and that’s what makes it so cool. I actually had to formulate a picture in my mind of what the cupcakes looked like. I love that we can even do that. Wonder if dogs do that? But, I digress.

    Love and lolipops!

    Patrica Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Love & lollipops–that is just perfect! Now I’m sitting here thinking of different greetings like that.
      Cheers & cupcakes!
      Doesn’t quite have the same ring, I’m going to have think about this.
      Thanks Patricia!

  9. Paul (8teen39)

    At first I questions why slate and chalk, but if not, I guess you’d run out of room real fast. This post made me smile. Can’t exactly say why. just accept it!

  10. Patricia Titon

    Very thought-provoking post Coleen. It mad me smile too. Chalk and slate. Love the freedom of speech on the wall. I think I’d write “Live in the moment.”

  11. Kristy Shen

    “once upon a time there was a cup cake”

    Hahaha…you’re hilarious. Once again you’ve mesmerized me with your deep and meaningful writing. You need to be published — like right the hell now!

  12. Tameri Etherton

    I love this post. Your pictures are awesome (made me laugh on the cupcake one), and the slate wall is fabulous. You’re so creative! By the way, I have sparkly pink shoes. We totally are sisters separated at birth. Now I want the silver ones, too. 😉 I’m going to go out and be creative today, your post has inspired me!

  13. Reetta Raitanen

    What a wonderful way to use the freedom of expression monument. I would be at loss what to write to it, though. Maybe I’d just doodle something, like a smiley face or a sun. Julie’s “Kilroy was here” comment cracked me up 🙂

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      It’s so funny how we writers almost have a stage fright thing about the slate–I guess like I said to Louise, maybe we are saving all our good words for our books. 🙂
      Thanks Reetta!

  14. Stacy S. Jensen

    Very nice wall. I like the idea that it encourages words. I never understand why people write their name on historic sites, etc. Just to muck up the place. Sometimes it’s very distracting. (OK, so that’s my I’m an old lady being grumpy rant). I made a “mixed media” project with a commentary about Facebook for one of my summer classes. I tried to convey how we self-censor ourselves on this “social media” site. It’s sort of funny and sorta sad. At least at this wall, one could say what they want and move on (sort of like a journal).

    1. Coleen Patrick

      I get the self-censoring thing. I felt it standing at the wall, that moment when you want to write something, but find yourself looking over your shoulder. Confronting the possibility of judgment can be a scary thing. That’s when we got to muster some confidence 🙂

  15. trish Curran

    Love this post as I’ve loved them all and I read the comments and think–that’s exactly what I was going to say. I thought so many of those same thoughts–like I write all the time but would be trying to come up with some brilliant and original statement which of course would be soon covered over by “Jake or whoever is a tool”
    But one thing no one commented on is your homesewn outfit. Being very tall myself and loving to get a bargain–often at a thrift store somewhere– I have often been faced with the realization that I just bought high waters Now I have just the solution!!!.

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill

    Excellent post! Love the sparkly shoes! and you are talented with a needle and thread – who knew? and your cupcakes look delicious! 🙂 I would write live, laugh, love because I think it’s good advice, or irish wristwatch which I just read on Ruth’s blog because it’s an excellent tongue twister, or hey Coleen what’s the recipe for those cupcakes? 🙂

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I couldn’t say irish wristwatch once either. And invisible cupcakes are VERY easy to make. Maybe even easier than your new donuts you’ve been showcasing on the blog. 🙂

  17. Ruth Schiffmann

    Expression = Self fulfillment, that is so true. I remember the deep-down sense of satisfaction I discovered when I learned to express myself through the written word. It’s powerful stuff, for sure!
    Wow, you cook, write, AND sew?! I won’t tell my husband. He’ll think I’m underachieving 😉

  18. Sophia Chang

    That is so cool! Is the first amendment wall true to form or do they discourage swearing? Knowing me I’d probably write something inappropriate…:P

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Apparently whatever is protected by the 1st amendment is okay. They hose it down twice a week apparently, but when we were there someone had written, “POOP.”
      Whatever gets you going, right? 🙂

  19. BornBookish

    I don’t think I would be able to think of anything to write in the moment either. I’m so bad when I get put on the spot! I absolutely love your sparkly shoes! My best friend actually had everyone at her wedding wear converse and hers were white and sparkly =) Mine don’t have sparkles but they are multi-layered a low top inside of a hightop one hot pink one bright blue.

  20. Alarna Rose Gray

    Sorry to be so late in commenting…I’ve been chewed up by software monsters this week.

    But it’s weird isn’t it? When given the opportunity to speak, one freezes. And at all other times, one is dying to be heard. Irony. Maybe that’s what I would write, I don’t know… 🙂

  21. Alison Miller

    That wall IS awesome. And I have NO idea what I would write. Maybe a math equation. Or a Lombardi quote. But I’d definitely write on it. And yes, there is a great deal of fulfillment in self-expression. Loved this post!

    1. Coleen Patrick

      Oh a math equation would be awesome! Makes me think–What would Sheldon (from the Big Bang Theory) write? Other than Live Long and Prosper!
      Thanks Alison!

  22. Clay

    letting my hair grow, writing, being myself, and not worrying what others think about me, how I look, or what I think… I used to spend far too much energy worrying what others thought about who I was and I what I stood for… now I worry less and have more fun. I have learned that doing what is right, is far more important than conformity. Thanks – like the sparkly shoes!

  23. 4amWriter

    I want a pair of those sparkly shoes!
    Great post. Freedom of expression, speech, the whole nine yards is a privilege, not just a right, and we need to always remember how blessed we are that we live in such a great country. Of course, there is room for improvement (well, a lot of improvement) but at least we have the capability to improve.

    1. Coleen Patrick

      Aren’t those shoes cool? The only thing is now those shoes make me want to express myself in many kinds of shoes–like red converse, vintage cowboy boots or a pair of periwinkle Uggs sneakers that I saw that are well, ridiculously expensive. Freedom of expression isn’t exactly free–LOL. I guess I will just have to get creative.
      Thanks Kate!

  24. Chris Edgar

    You gave me a chuckle when you talked about the grilled tofu salad — you can try to convince me of its goodness all you like without worrying about robbing me of my freedom of choice, although I probably won’t need much convincing, because I do live in Northern CA after all. 🙂

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