Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Color Codes

I love color. Always have. When I was little I remember vibrant purple-and-orange curtains. When I married, I chose peacock blue for my bridesmaids dresses because it was the only vibrant color available that season amidst a sea of pastels. I wasn't thinking blue--that was just the prettiest color I found. In college, I hung out with guys--a lot. When we played softball, their bats were always too long for me. So I bought my own, scaled to someone my height. It was also bright, neon pink, which made the guys laugh. Since I was often the lone female, or at least one of a minority, pink became something of a signature--the comment that, hey, this one of the guys is really a girl. That running joke continued after my marriage and my children were born. I'm still the lone girl in my household. Even the dogs and the iguana are male. So I have a lot of pink. My phone cover, my wallet, my laptop case, my business card case--all pink. Also my swim suit, aqua shoes, and beach bag. I have pink and brown luggage. You get the point.

When I went to get a tattoo for my 49th birthday, I told the man I wanted pink somewhere in the design. I was adamant on this. So my Celtic knot dragons, which are otherwise all black, have bright pink eyes. The artist who did the work was very understanding. Of course, he said, he'd add the touch of pink. Was I a breast cancer survivor or was it in honor of someone else? My mom, or sister or something?

Huh. This floored me. I mean, I KNOW pink often denotes charitable campaigns for breast cancer. But really? Is that the ONLY reason for pink? Of course not, as one of my lesbian friends reminds me. Pink is also something of a symbol to her.

Huh. Not lesbian. Not a cancer survivor. Both causes I strongly support, mind you, but neither particularly applicable to me. Can't I just like pink?

Likewise, a yellow hair ribbon says something. Red means heart health. There were all the green ribbons at the Oscars in memory of the school shooting. But green also means environmentally friendly. So many colors are being used to define a particular cause, that it can become something of a minefield.

So here's my plea, folks. Support your causes. I honor and respect that. But let us have our colors. There's only so many of those to go around.

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