What I Love… Color

Last November my mom came to visit me in Portland. Of course, what always ends up happening whenever I see her is that we go shopping.  I  love shopping, this is not new, but something happened on this particular shopping trip that  has stuck with me. At one of the stores we were at, I ended up picking out all neutral colored clothing: a gray sweater, gray and white plaid pajama bottoms, and a gray under-tee. Everything was gray. There was a moment when I realized that everything I was purchasing was gray, but I just thought it was coincidence. As I was checking out, the store clerk asked, “Are you afraid of color?” I can’t remember what else he said, but I remember being angry. “No,” was my answer. A short, simple and irritated response.

At first I didn’t know why I was angry. Sometimes, I have trouble determining what exactly made me angry. In that moment I had directed that anger at the store clerk. “How dare he say that? He was being pompous,” I remember thinking. Really, that was the word that came to my mind when he had said it. I felt that he was talking down to me and being snide. He may or may not have been, that’s just the story I told myself. After the initial anger wore off, I had to ask myself, why was I angry? I know that when I react out of anger there is always deeper meaning behind it.  I believe anger is an effect of deeper emotions that we are repressing. If we get to the root of that anger, it dissipates. I tend to ignore the cause and just shrug it off, but this was the beginning of many important lessons for me – it set in motion a chain reaction of realizations that have taken months to understand and even learn. Instead of shrugging it off, I had to get to the root of why I was angry and it might not have been until the past few weeks that I actually understood why.

I love color, I always have. Growing up, purple was my favorite color, then blue, and it was always changing. At some point, I think I just stopped thinking about it though. Somewhere along my teens, I started wearing gray and black. In college, I branched out and wore a lot of pinks and reds, but I would come in and out of phases where all I purchased were neutral toned clothing. Neutral tones are easy, they go with a lot of things. Even my jewelry was simple, either silver or gold, mostly silver hoops, because they go with almost anything. I was a broke college student and needed to maximize what accessories I did buy, but why did I carry that feeling with me? I think it goes back to being able to blend in easily. I don’t like to be noticed and feel self conscious when I am, which is really a ridiculous feeling, because people on average just walking down the street may see me, register me, but will eventually forget. The human brain only has so much capacity to recognize and store transient data, but I carried that feeling of wanting to hide from my childhood. I’m starting not to care anymore, but it was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me, when I realized that I even do it with my emotions: I neutralize my emotions. How boring is that! Let me tell you, it’s incredibly boring! It’s not that I don’t feel my emotions, I just don’t let them out and over time, these emotions kept building up as a form of anxiety and I felt trapped sometimes, until now.

A few weeks ago, I bought a gorgeous light green ring that I matched with my favorite dark plum finger nail polish and it was that moment how much I realized I do love color. I couldn’t stop staring at the combination and thinking about all the different ways I could replicate it. Then I bought this dress that is gorgeous, blue and orange. Two opposite colors, but when paired together, I love it. Is it just coincidence that I am now loving color and that I am now starting to own my emotions? Maybe, but I do think color can be a representation of emotion and I think it all has to do with this realization that I haven’t been myself for a long time. I have been lost for much longer than I had even wanted to admit and I was working incredibly hard to be someone I was not for years, seeking acceptance, love, and happiness from others. I had something really great recently and I lost it. I think that it was in losing it was the final push for me to address myself and get to know be better. I know it’s gone forever this thing that I lost, but I also know why it’s gone now – I can’t expect someone else to accept me, love me, and make me happy, when I wasn’t able to do that for myself. I believe what we create for ourselves expands to those around us and my hope is that these lessons I learn now will expand into my life and those around me. In losing myself, I have found pieces of me that I’d forgotten about.  I know that whatever happens along this journey is going to be great, because of this. Sometimes, we all need to get a little lost to find ourselves.

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