I remember phases of my life by color. As a child, I was quite taken up with red. It was the color of life and I found myself going through a succession of red shoes. In fact I can effortlessly fall back to my six-year-old mindset where I had made plans of buying the same red boots in bigger sizes for as long as I reached adulthood. (And then, of course, the same pair would suffice.)
Red: energetic, carefree, bold, daring,
I believe it was my tenth birthday when a red shirt found itself wrapped and presented to me that I discovered my dislike of the hue. I, in effect, put a ban on the color and found myself wearing blues and greens. But I couldn’t answer to, “What is your favorite color?” and that saddened me because as a kid, the response was so telling of a person – my lack of answer left me feeling incomplete. As an emerging adult, I find the question of color has taken a back seat, but it’s one I inevitably come to if I want to know you.
As I settled into teenage doubt I decided it was high time for me to have a favorite color, to color in my identity it would seem. It seemed ridiculous that at 13 I didn’t have a shade to claim. I knew red wasn’t an option, green/blue seemed bleh… and seeing as pink was up and coming, I was already a tad bit non-conformist but not so much that I wanted to be too far from the norm, and so I settled for a compromise in purple.
I believe the shade the royals once owned dominated most of my high school years, and almost all gifts bought for me ranged from lavender to violet. I forcefully made the color my own, but somehow I knew it wasn’t the right fit.
Purple: unique, somehow unaccepted, conflicted, difficult to coordinate, forced,
Somewhere in college, after years of shade-shifting, I stumbled upon the most beautiful color of all and besides the time I clomped around in red boots with teddy bears, I could proudly and truthfully exclaim my favorite color: emerald green.
Emerald just gleamed to me and though my closet could be matched to a jumbo box of crayons, I was precarious of purchasing emerald. For some reason the color was special and so brilliant that it couldn’t be brought down to being common and splashed on just anything.
Emerald, I saved. Emerald, I savored. Emerald, I cared for and cradled. Emerald, I love.
Emerald: vibrant, confident, fitting, uncommon
Though in love with a color so deep and rich, I found my closet dominated by grays, browns, whites, and blacks. At one point I had toyed with the idea of them as “favorite” colors, but they always fell on “safe” and “staples”. They ended up being the base colors on my hangers and the re-welcomed red, the special greens, and a touch of blues and purples found themselves in scarves, shoes, and jewelry: my essential accessories.
Two years since I’ve been ‘home’ I find the contents of my shelves are faded remains of brighter outfits and the conservative outer self I become for the streets of Kathmandu is left feeling rather unsatisfied.
I’m trying to remember, but numbers don’t come easy, I’ve been wearing black straight for how many days exactly? And so here I am, my clothes have blended into the mix of all color or lack of color (depends on how you look at it), and I fight it because ‘black’ has eternally been my mother’s. (Am I shifting to being more of her? More of her daughter? More color in the illusion it garners?)
Black: comfortable, flexible, manageable, workable, satisfactory, encompassing
What color is next? And what will that say about me?
In the words of Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock, “I can’t change, I’m like a chameleon: always a lizard.”