For as far back as I can remember, my favorite color has always been the rainbow. As soon as I was able to dress myself as a child, my dad let me pick out my own clothes to wear and I’d always picked the loudest and brightest things I owned. I wanted to wear them all at once.
If you ask my mother, she would tell you that from birth I’ve always loved color. She would also tell you some embarrassing story, I’m sure, about shitting on my aunt as an infant. But first, she would tell you how color was the way to win my heart.
It’s always been this way. I love how color can light up a room. How it can make me feel at home. I love how it blends and I love how sharp contrasts feel. Color can say a lot about a person and their space. Even how someone feels about themselves. To say I enjoy the rainbow is an understatement.
In fourth grade, my teacher had some ludicrous idea about creating a “Self” book. It was supposed to be all about ourselves, like a snapshot in time. I’d bet money my mother has this somewhere, hidden away. The cover was supposed to be our favorite color. The cover is made of construction paper and rainbow wasn’t an option. As my teacher walked around the room passing out various colors, I grew more anxious. What would I say when he got to me? I didn’t love any one color. I loved them all. Most of the girls picked pink or purple. There was the occasional yellow. Most of the boys picked blue, black, and red. Only a single quite boy in the back picked green. I felt conflicted.
If there was one thing I never was as a child, it was a rule breaker. I was too embarrassed and awkward to say I loved all color. It was breaking the “rules” after all. My teacher wasn’t going to let create a rainbow cover and he didn’t have rainbow construction paper. What he did have was blue, black, red, green, pink, purple, and yellow.
For the first time in school, I felt forced to lie. I thought about what all the other kids picked. I thought about how much I hated feeling like a lemming. I may not have know what a lemming was, but the sentiment was there from a young age. As a teenager, my friends loved big blockbuster movies and I would rent from the classics section. They’d find some new hit and I’d rent Casablanca, The Postman Always Rings Twice, or something equally as wonderful. They’d roll they’re eyes and I’d usually end up watching black and whites alone. But I didn’t care. I still loved them.
I thought about color again. My teacher hovering over my desk. “Miranda, what’s your favorite color?” he says as he fans out the limited construction paper. I hesitated, “Green?” It came out a question but really it was a lie. Embarrassment pinkened my cheeks and I couldn’t say rainbow. I couldn’t fight the good fight. I couldn’t be honest. Green felt lonely. Only one other person liked such a glorious color. I was sad for green, to be so excluded. I knew how that felt and green didn’t deserve that.
Little did I know, people would think green was my favorite color for the next twenty years. They would buy presents of green, they would at one point assume because I drove a 1969 lime green Volkswagon Beetle that lime green specifically was my favorite color. Because god forbid the fact that it was a $200 car and color had no barring on the purchase be something to consider. At one point in time, I made a passing comment about liking frogs and because they are green, I would be given an insane amount of frog things. For the record, I only like frogs, I don’t love them. I do love jellyfish and elephants and ravens and mermaids and octopuses (or are they called octopi?). You know, just since I’m clearing the air and all.
I spent many years never really owning my likes or dislikes. I think somehow I felt shamed by them. Like it snowballed at a young age and I learned to wear masks. Always fearing if I wasn’t exactly what someone else wanted, then they wouldn’t want to be around me. It took many years to learn I had that backward. If someone doesn’t like who I am, for me, then I don’t want to be around them. I’ve spent the last decade really sorting out who I am. I think I hid so many parts of me for so long, I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t.
For the record, I still love old movies. I still shy form whatever the rest of the world wants me to love only now, I really do dance to my own drum beat. I openly love the color rainbow and last year I even had a rainbow themed birthday party. It was amazing. There isn’t a single frog in my vicinity. I openly show off my love of geeky things, including Star Wars, Superman, Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Space, Stars, the Ocean, and anything I deem beautiful. Which to be fair, is a lot. I wear a Ravenclaw lanyard at work and in the summer it hangs on my keys. I have a Deathly Hallows tattoo and Hamilton quote across my arm. I love whiskey and wine. I want to try all the new food things I can. I love road trips. I hate the snow. I’m a cranky person when I’m hot. I love Apple products. Ask me about my book collection. I love to paint but don’t do it often enough. I no longer walk around fearing people won’t like me for me. I don’t worry that liking the rainbow means I’ll be judged by it. Because you know what? I do love it and I don’t give a damn. I love who I am. I’m amazing.