Friday, May 16, 2008
The color purple
A few years ago I started knitting a purple sweater (and I've yet to finish it, but that's another story). It was a breakthrough of sorts. I have had a prejudice against this color (almost) my entire life.
My mother loved purple. The clothing store that she owned had walls covered with yards and yards of purple cloth. She also seemed to carry more than the usual amount of purple clothes. I hated those walls and I hated purple clothing. Until a few years ago I wouldn't have worn purple or owned anything purple unless one paid me a good deal of money.
I hate that poem that starts with the line, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. . ."
Yes, it's just great to finally realize that what others think of you isn't all that important and one is more free than one thinks. But is it always an invitation to be a kook?
I used that word in the last post and I use it again, for the entire concept of being a kook just gets under my skin. It assumes a type of normalcy that is drab and boring and a type of non-normalcy that is "colorful" (a synonym for kook) and fun.
There are plenty of non-normative people who wear gray suits or jeans and a tee shirt. Are they just repressing their inner kook? I think not!
So, I refused to wear purple. Just because other people think I'm weird doesn't mean I have to wear purple. What makes me weird, anyway?
My nine year old neighbor told me I was weird because I wasn't interested in trying a four-wheeler. I said "I don't like being outdoors in things that make a lot of noise" and she said "You're weird". When I was nine myself, all the other kids said I was weird, but there wasn't anything as obvious as not liking noisy outdoor activities. It was subtle and I still don't know what it was (or is).
I did notice today, in a room full of other women, that I was indeed the most colorfully dressed person there. Right now I'm wearing red socks, a red headband, and a red turtleneck with a flowing sweater of red, pinks and orange designs. My watchband is red, too. However, I do have a pair of jeans and brown shoes on. My hair is a terrible mess, which I happen to like. Is this "my purple"? Hmmm.
For years I only wore black, or blue jeans and white, black or blue t-shirts with denim jackets or shirts over them (except for work or dressy occasions). Is my preoccupation with what I'm wearing when it's so ordinary a sign of weirdness?
Hold on - I'm going to look up the word weird. It's rather bugging me that I am sure that it is not what it seems (or I've forgotten its real meaning). Here, from Merriam Webster's Dictionary:
adj. weird·er, weird·est
1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.
2. Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange.
3. Archaic Of or relating to fate or the Fates.
That didn't help much. Strikingly odd is a bit much. I also thought weird just meant different. As in "I like four wheelers and so do my friends and family. If you don't, you must be weird."
Purple is the color that tells others "I'm weird and I'm proud." I hate that. There's something so ordinary about picking the same color as every other weirdo. What's more, it's conformist.
And how 'bout the "sick and weird", those people who like purple and clowns?
I am going to try to reign myself in here. The subject of conformity is one that I have much to say about and my thoughts are quite scattered this evening. But I figured I'd start the dialog on weirdness and introduce conformity (hey, pleased to me you, conformity!). What other things besides the color purple denote weirdness? There are many. If you can think of one, leave a comment.
Photo note: I now enjoy purple quite a bit, especially since I enjoy dyeing wool. This photo is from my abandoned blog and under it is this paragraph:
"In an earlier entry, I mentioned that I used to abhor purple. I don't think I owned anything purple until a few years ago. I finally got over my prejudice. Because it's a secondary color it's got a zillion possibilities. Anyway, I am finally starting to do something besides crochet bags. Here's some yarn I dyed up this winter; purples, lilacs, blues and mauves. Oh, you can see that, can't you? Silly me!"
Ah, I'm still struggling with this color, aren't I?