My Color is Love

Brick by Brick

The other day my nine-year-old asked me with all sincerity as if she’d been thinking about this for a while: “I wonder what it feels like to kiss a boy.” Inside I turned my head up to the sky, clinched my fists and yelled, “Noooooo!” But to her I casually tilted my head and said, “Sweetie, you won’t have to worry about that for a very, very, very long time.”

“Oh. How long?”

Was she kidding me? Where are you Veggie Tale cds? Go! Do a sing-a-long!

She’s not the kind of kid that does well with being blown off. She remembers stuff you wish she’d forget. So I casually tried to explain to her in simple fourth grade terms that you don’t just kiss a boy. So much happens between two people before an actual kiss (or at least it’s supposed to) transpires.

It seems nine-year-old girls and even 40-year-old women prefer to skip to the good parts; you know the part that feels looks and tastes the best. The embryonic stage of a thing seems trite, rather boring, often frustrating. We’d rather skip to the part where we are skilled and experienced. You know that stage when we’re a seasoned professional receiving awards and accolades for our work and sometimes the word, ‘genius’ is thrown around offhandedly in our presence.

We look at others and their stories of success, while rather noble and inspiring they don’t usually reflect the real pangs of achieving success. In one short interview, or sound bite it is impossible to sum up the trials and hard times experienced before triumph rears its pretty head.

Who can properly describe the pangs of building or creating something from a dream or vision, and then to developing it, nurturing and watching it grow and yield results? It is impossible, I believe, to properly convey it into words just as no one can really describe the woes of childbirth. To say it is painful does it no justice. Or even the way you feel holding your baby for the first time. No words. It must be experienced.

Likewise who can describe the loneliness or weariness that comes from working on a thing so long you feel absolutely lost in it? Or the frustration of failing repeatedly, wanting to pull out your hair strand by strand, wondering where you’ve gone wrong?

Oh, but then, when it happens, when it finally happens; you’re tired and your body aches and you’ve been up all night. You’ve had very little sleep for days. But you finally got it and now you know you’re on your way--the proper words to express what’s going on inside, completely escape you. 

I don’t believe in overnight success. Even if you do achieve certain goals suddenly or quickly, nothing takes the place of the experiences you will undoubtedly have to face to maintain, to grow internally and adjust to your new space. Nothing negates that which is developed over time. No matter how big of a house you’re building, it does not go up cartoon-style—a few quick frames and voila--but rather, brick by brick.

Author Dee Graham’s

additional musings can be found at: The Writers' Journey - Dorcas Graham

Written by My Color is Love — May 03, 2013

Out of the Box

There’s a crayon manufacturer that’s got the edge on hues with their multicultural 8 pack of skin tone colors:  apricot, black, burnt sienna, mahogany, peach, sepia, tan and white. Quite a variation from the single “flesh”, aka beige, that I grew up with in the 70’s. It just goes to show you that cultural diversity is everywhere, from our board rooms to our crayon boxes. But does diversity bring us together or set us apart?

Our family resembles this 8 pack. There are eight of us with varying shades of skin tone, but I hesitate to designate one color per person. Well, my husband would definitely be crayon white – that’s easy…or is he more peach? Perhaps I’m apricot or sepia? Our daughter favors my coloring and our three boys would necessitate a blending tool to create their color. We also have two foster children that bring in a splash of black and white, one being more black in skin tone, the other more white – which I’m pretty sure blends into gray, but there’s a problem because there’s no such color in the box.

Or, perhaps, it’s the box that’s the problem. We tend to put things in boxes – like skin toned crayons, or boxes that designate our ethnicity, our nationality, our religious preference. We like to box things, it keeps things neat. It separates things with walls and gives us permission to use those proverbial walls to build a diversity driven world that is divisive instead of unified. But what happens when we unbox what is boxed and let it run wild? When sepia bleeds into black and apricot and burnt sienna blend into a beautiful sunset? We discover some amazing new colors!

We rarely talk about the color of our skin in our family. We have worked hard not to build walls that create boxes and are constantly striving to see beyond what is on the surface.  The definition of color is “the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light.” I hope that the light we reflect off of our color produces a sensation of vibrancy, hope and unity, because our color isn’t boxed into an eight pack. Our color is love.

- Mary

Written by My Color is Love — February 18, 2013

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