Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Did I Pick the Color, or Did the Color Make Me?


Try as I might, I cannot recall how green became my favorite color. Not just any green, but bright hues such as lime, chartreuse, and neon/electric green. Once upon a time, I actually hated green, and orange, too, preferring more regal colors to these garish secondaries. And then I suddenly found myself collecting things that were green. Maybe it was because Christen had zeroed in on teal while my best friend favored pink (another color I never cared for). As crafters, we were always hanging out together, and so, to distinguish our tools and supplies from each other’s, we would often buy matching things in different colors. It seemed like there was always pink, teal (or blue), and green. So, green became my thing. And later, when we designed new logos for our business, Crafty Neighbor, we incorporated those colors to represent the three of us. Those are the same colors in the logo today.

As I mentioned, green hasn’t always been my favorite color. When I was in high school, my mother and sister had a pair of Volkswagen Beetles – one was orange and the other was green. I thought they were the most hideously painted cars on the face of the earth. Back then, my favorite color was purple. Any shade of purple…from grape to lavender, and eggplant to lilac. I think I picked up that color because my favorite rock star, Paul Stanley of Kiss, used that color on his solo album. From that moment on, the color grape was my jam, and I collected everything I could in that color.

That wasn’t the only reason I loved purple, though. It was also special because it reminded me of my grandfather. When I was younger, my grandparents had a house with three bedrooms, and one of them had the most lovely white bedroom set covered in purple and lavender linens. There was also a purple velvet chair, and I think the curtains were purple, too. My “Ma’am-ma” had even collected Moon and Stars glass in purple shades that she displayed in that room. It was the room where I stayed when we slept over (if I didn’t sleep between her and my Gran-gran). When my grandfather died of leukemia in 1972, I was only 7, but his death hit me hard – he was perhaps my favorite person in the whole world. And when my grandmother sold her home the next year and bought a mobile home with only two bedrooms, the purple bedroom was no more. 

Many years later, after I married, became a mom, and then divorced, I found I had outgrown my passion for purple and had moved on to a love of modern and contemporary design with clean lines and a minimalist approach. Inspired by Italian furniture designs, I fell in love with the look of black and white (mostly white) and allowed only small pops of candy-apple red in my design aspirations.  Of course, as a single mother of a toddler with hand-me-down furniture and a budget that could barely pay the bills, my house looked nothing like that, but that was what I loved, and wherever I could manage to control the color scheme, that’s what I went for. I don’t know if you could say it was my favorite color, though, because it really only applied to decor, and I wasn’t specifically drawn to any one color again until I discovered my love for green.

There was one other color that was my favorite from my earliest childhood, and it was less something I chose and more something that was thrust upon me, but it became my color nonetheless.  That was blue – pale, light, baby blue. It was the color of my birthstone, which is often listed as blue topaz or blue zircon. It was the color that everyone gave me so as to distinguish my things from those of my sister, who always got everything in pale pink – the color of her birthstone, which was alexandrite, or sometimes called light amethyst. And the sibling rivalry between us, as well as the pointed differentiation of pink versus blue, taught me to hate the color pink, and so I did until I became involved in breast cancer fundraising and found myself wearing pink all the time. It’s still not my favorite color, but at least I don’t hate it anymore.

So what do all these color choices say about me? Those who believe in the psychology of color note that certain colors evoke specific emotions, and some even suggest that a person’s choice of color says something about their personality. For instance, Big Chill claims that people who love purple are “artistic and unique” individuals, who are “often very intuitive and deeply interested in spirituality.” If this was true of me when that was my favorite color, does that mean I am not those things now that it is not my favorite color? Am I drawn to green because I am “down to earth and aware of what other people think” of me or that I “feel a deep need to feel safe and secure?” Or am I all those things because I surround myself with those colors? Which came first, the color or the personality? 

I don’t know when my tastes changed. I don’t know why. I don’t even know if a person’s favorite color says anything at all about personality. I do know that the descriptions for each of those colors were mostly accurate and that the other colors are fairly descriptive of some people I know who love them. And whether the personality chooses the color, or the color molds our personality, we may never know, but I like my bold, vibrant green, and other people recognize it as me, so I guess I’ll just go with that.

Do you have a favorite color? Did you pick it, or did it pick you? Tell us all about it in the comments below or join the conversation over on our Facebook group, MMC Chat.

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