I am PINK!!!

 No, I'm not declaring that I am Pink the pop artist. Although she IS extremely talented and beautiful, I will let her be her and I will be me. Although, she is, in a way, inspirational in what I am about to write. 

I am currently reading a book, The Artisan Soul, [crafting your life into a work of ART] by Erwin McManus. (here is a link to his website http://erwinmcmanus.com/) He has been one of my favorite writers and teachers for a long time. The way he writes and puts thoughts and images together just speaks to my heart....almost as if he knew exactly what I needed to read. If you have read my other posts, you know that my word of the year is CREATE and I had been looking for a book to read that really spoke into this. When I found out that he was releasing this book this year, I knew it was the one I had been looking for and I wasn't disappointed. I literally am only about 50 pages into this book and it has already changed me...and almost dried up my highlighter. 

The other morning I was reading and a particular passage really stuck out to me. I read and reread it. I highlighted it, took a picture of it, texted the picture to a couple people, and then sat there with tears streaming down my face. One simple phrase stuck out. "I AM PINK". Writing that even now made tears come into my eyes. Let me explain....

Erwin tells about an exercise that he has done in Leadership Development groups. He starts by putting the group of strangers(anywhere from 50-500 people) into groups of 8-10...creating a little culture of their own and they are asked to determine a "culture color" for their group. Each person is asked to write down their primary favorite color and then their secondary favorite color. [At this point, he asks the reader to think of theirs. Mine? Pink and Green. What are yours?] The participants go around the table and each share their primary favorite color. If there is a consensus on the favorites, the group will choose that as the culture color, but if there is not, they are asked to each share their secondary color and try to come to a consensus with those color choices. Erwin describes the process as "rigorous" and "tumultuous". He also says that no matter where he has traveled and no matter what type of people make up the group, EVERY group lands on blue as their culture color. Guess what? He had already written the word "blue" on his hand before the session started. I was shocked, just like the participants he describes, that this happens in every group. Why is that when I know that for myself and several other friends that blue is not our favorite.

Blue table, blue sign, but PINK is the focus!
He goes on to say that half of the people surveyed claim blue as their favorite color and if it is not their favorite, many choose it as their secondary. [I will admit that my house is full of a lot of blue]Blue seems to be the unifying color on our "Blue Planet". But seriously? EVERY group chooses blue? I don't get it. Erwin explains that part of the learning process in this group exercise is for those participants, like me, who don't have blue as there top two colors to think about and put into words the feelings they felt when they compromised. When they sat there and didn't fight for their color. When they chose to follow the majority and didn't stand up for their uniqueness. The line that got me even more was the one in the picture above. Erwin says "...how it felt to have to stand up in a room and, instead of proudly saying I AM PINK, to join the majority in declaring blue."
Nearly exact photo of my "boombox" from my youth
That hit me like a ton of bricks. My favorite color has, and will always be, PINK. Not that I have ever been shy in saying that or having pink around me as you will see in some photos to come, I KNOW that if I was in the group, I would not have fought for pink. Especially if the group was predominantly male. Why? What about me would keep me from fighting or pushing for something that is so much a part of who I am? Something that, although shared by others, is part of my unique make up and something that has set me apart from others in the past. 

This question is one that has been in my head for awhile. Erwin's point in this story is that although this was just and exercise and each person was able to keep their color as their personal favorite, it all comes to this:
"We want to be accepted; we want to belong; we want to have things in common with those who's opinions we care about. But we also want to be yellow. We want to preserve our uniqueness, we want to be uncommon, We hope that in some small way we can be original."

Prom 1994...only hot pink dress there
Wow again. Yes, Erwin. You are right. This is the story of MY life and now I see that it is that of others. It is something that many of us struggled with as teenagers, but if we are honest, we struggle with as adults too. Yes, when I was a teenager, I did fight to be unique. I wore a hot pink prom dress when everyone else was wearing black, white, or red. I chose my little used car based on the fact that it had plaid interior and was different than everyone else's. I chose to be a theater girl even though my grades and IQ score said that I should be a chemist or a math instructor. I chose UNIQUE. But I also conformed. Look at my hair. It was just like my friends'. The music I listened to (well in public, I WAS a closet country fan in a hip hop school), the words I said, the parties I attended, the choices I made. All in the name of acceptance. 

I just feel like "me" in pink
This struggle has continued into my adulthood and I know that I am not the only one. I live in a world of cubicles. Polo shirts. Khakis. Honda Accords. Minivans. Mass produced home decor. Etc. Etc. Etc. None of these things are bad. But they symbolize to me the forced "uniform" of conformity. Do these things, wear these things, display these things in your home and you will be just like everyone else and everyone will accept you. And I fell into this trap for many, many years. But guess what?? I wasn't always accepted. I wasn't always liked. And I sure as heck was not happy. Sooooo, I bought a car that looks like a toaster. And then I bought another that looks like a 1950's Suburban. I have made it a point to only hang original art work in my home and to only have furniture pieces that have character. I gave away my khakis, my polos, my button downs, and bought dresses and heels that made me feel....well like ME.

I cut my hair off, let it grow, cut it again, then ultimately colored part of it pink. I've been asked why several times lately. To which I have responded "Because I wanted to." Not out of rebellion, not out of a need to make a big statement or to throw something in someone's face. But purely out of the need and desire to wear my uniqueness on the outside for awhile and to not hide it anymore. And I have never felt more "ME" than I do right now. 

I would so live here
I am not advocating mass chaos and crazy pushes for total "self expression." No togas,hairy toes in flip flops, or band t-shirts for work attire. I have heard that some people fear that we will have total anarchy if everyone is given the freedom of self expression. I am not calling for that. I do believe that there are social norms and policies that are there for a reason and should be adhered to. I will not break dress code at work just to prove a point, but I also won't dress like everyone else. I won't allow my children to get in trouble at school for colored hair or other things just because I don't agree with the rules, but when they are not at school there is much more freedom in wardrobe and hair choices. 

What am I doing then? I am pushing myself and you lovelies to rethink the WHYS of your habits, music taste, choices in wardrobe, hairstyle, car make/model, home decor. Do you choose based on the "normal" things that people like? Do you wear the clothes that everyone else is wearing? Do you cut your hair just like everyone else? Do you read the same books, write the same Facebook posts, eat the same foods, etc. as everyone around you?? I do it too! But ask yourself "WHY???". Do you choose those things because you actually like them?? For example, I love Mumford and Sons. Love them. I was listening to them before they became popular. And I still listen to them. Not because everyone else is, but because I truly like them. Or are you choosing them because it will make you accepted?

A few of my pink items in my cube
You may be surprised by your answers. You may feel a little wonky because you don't really know WHAT you like. That's ok. It's progress. The next step is to figure out what your unique taste, style, and preferences are. 

Or maybe you are saying "Chrissy, I don't know what you are talking about! I wear khakis because I like them, a polo because it's comfortable, and drive a minivan because it's practical." GOOD!!! That makes me happy! But I guarantee you that there is something in your life that you are blindly conforming on that is making you unhappy or dissatisfied. All I am asking you to do is think about it.

Just like Erwin, I am thinking about what would happen if each of us said "I am yellow" "I am blue" "I am silver" "I am green" "I love all colors and I won't choose a favorite". Would our own lives be changed? Would our group culture be changed? Would we start loving ourselves a little more when we start embracing what is unique about us and stop trying to fight our differences and specialness. I don't know, but I'm ready to give it a shot!!!

Whew. This was a hard post for me to write...took me forever and every word was agonizing. Maybe because I feel passionate about it...maybe because I am still working out my own thoughts and feelings.

I'd love to hear from you, lovelies. What is your color? Who are you? What is your unique thing?? Think about it and leave me a comment :)

Until next time my friends!

Peace, love, and PINK!

Page from my journal/smash book this week


  1. My color would be yellow, but now I want it to be pink!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts