Pink is your typical hot girl color, and 'the neighborhood' trap lord’s tailor choice. But in my most recent years, pink has become an obsession. Purple is my favorite color; and has been my favorite color for years, but it isn’t until I struck adulthood that my obsession spiked. I've heard that we choose our favorite colors based on how we're guiding through our lives. Pink was my sister's favorite color, and since her death my closet has stacked pink purses, pink raincoats, pink furs, various scarves in different pink shades, pink clothing for my daughter, and now even hot pink UGGS. I don’t even wear UGGS! I can’t get the color out of my head. I don’t know why I openly disdain the color as an overrated, overused, and extremely saturated color, but the color’s aura is magnetic. My partner claims that I’m in denial of pink being my favorite color. Looking at my closet, I’m starting to think I am too. I decided to do a little soul searching and retrace my steps to see where this mania started.
Mommy always pushed the color pink on my sister, Raven, and I as girls. It was almost as if she wanted to make the color our favorite. Raven ironically loved the color, but personally, I couldn’t stand it. I thought it looked like Pepto Bismuth splatter. It was too icky for me. Who wouldn’t grow up disdaining the color though? From birth, pink is the assigned gender role color for girls. People just think girls love the color pink because it is seen as delicate and feminine. Mommy would dress me and Raven in matching pink outfits. All of the Cabbage Patches she gave us for Christmas wore different monochromes of pink. One time we had even come home from school and our entire room was painted in pink and blue hues: with giant Strawberry Shortcake displays on my side of the room, pink curtains and wall trimmings throughout, and creepy Disney princess cut-outs on Raven’s side. Personally, I couldn’t stand it, but it didn’t seem like it bothered my sister much since she never complained about our room feng shui as much as I did. She had even gone along with the pink material assets acquiring a pink canopy and pink comforter to match her side’s feng shui. Her pink materials didn’t start to come down until she became a teenager and wanted to have a more “mature” look for her room. Little did I know, her love for the color pink was fleeting from our childhood bedroom, but little did I know, mines lay dormant waiting to fester.
A color that I could stand as a pre-teen was purple. I can’t recall why I chose this color as my favorite, but I remember the interesting things I would read about it. My oldest sister used to check-out witchcraft books from her school’s library, and buy red, pink & purple candles to burn. There was this one little pink spell book she bought that I could I tell was her favorite --therefore I had my little nose in it all the time too. In the first few pages of the book, it gave a description of the powers of each of the ROYGBIV colors that one could harness. Purple was described as the most powerful color because it represented royalty, luxury, and grandeur. I didn’t necessarily harness these royal powers, but I still carried it’s legacy donning the purple throughout my middle school years. I wore purple mostly because my family knew the color was my favorite, and they would get me different assortments of gifts in violet. One year for Christmas, my oldest sister gave everyone in our immediate family gifts from a retail store called AJ Wright in Belvedere Plaza. She told me before Christmas came she put all of our gifts on lay-away, but she just knew that I was going to love my gift when I got it. The gift bag was purple and silver, and inside of it were different outfits styled in purples and grays. Over the span of my middle school years I can recall donning the color in so many different fashions. I received purple gifts from left to right. Skinny jeans were in style in middle school, so I had various pairs of purple skinny jeans. I had a rich eggplant colored pair of skinny jeans that had small soft rips in them (of course with patches underneath since no skin could be shown). I had a violet pair of skinny jeans with a splash of pink acid wash going down the middle. One Christmas, Mommy gifted me with a purple peacoat with pink plaid stripes, and a black pleather belt that cinched across the waste. This white woman even knitted me a purple and white yarn scarf, because I had told her it was my favorite color. I never denied the gifts they gave me, until one day --I just stopped liking how I looked in purple. I wore small stuff in purple like purple scarves with pink small fringes here and there. But as I grew older, whenever I looked in the mirror while I was wearing purple, all I saw was a child. It’s almost as if the color looked kiddy on me, and represented my adolescent clothing phase. So after 8th grade, I never really wore purple again.
That summer before I officially became a high schooler, I wanted to officially rid myself of the childish pink museum Mommy would not let us let go of. I had finally done our bedroom in, and shredded every piece of pink in front of me. I had a fight with Mommy and decided to test her patience by tearing down all of the pink curtains, Strawberry Shortcake posters, and creepy Disney Princess cut-outs. She came home from work and yelled at me to put everything back up on the wall like it was. Tragically, the pink curtains were well on their way to crossing from window skirts to shorts with a few more stitches, and Strawberry Shortcake had become dumpster scrap fragments. My sister and I contemplated various times taking down all of our childhood assets that were just too “cute” for our age. She gave me a nod for how bold I was to do what I know she wanted to do a long time ago --way before her senior year of high school. But I did it, and never looked back on it. Raven graduated high school and was gifted with a peach-pink Steve Madden purse at her graduation party. She started college that fall and I started high school. I received my first pink gift outside of my mama my junior year.
Her name was Rosa, my friend who gave me bags of vintage clothes from her mother’s closet my junior year of high school. I considered it a consignment refinery, especially since I was known for being economically stylish. One of the gifts she gave me was a pair of flowy neon pink shorts. I accepted them solely because they were cute, and I had none like it. I never wore the shorts because they were a little too short and airy for school, plus we had begun to wear uniforms the following year so I never got to wear them for my own leisure. Mommy never really let us out of the house in our teenage years either, but even if she did, I still had nothing to match the neon shorts.
Raven was in college when she began to take notice of my style. She would ask me what was my inspiration behind my style, and why I dressed the way that I did. Honestly, a lot of people in high school asked me that same question, but I could never put a concrete answer to it. Raven and I both had Twitter, so she would repost pictures of me posing in my uniquely styled uniforms with captions that praised my swag. That same year was the year Raven and I had fallen out. Our family gatherings weren’t so giddy anymore. There was unspoken tension that clouded the room and made me more unsettled withholding my rage. We sat at polar opposite sides of the room. We lived our lives individually in the family. She graduated from college 2015. I graduated high school the same year, and was gifted with a blush pink sling purse from DSW. Neither of us attended each other’s graduation.
It was in fashion magazines, or perhaps thrifting, that I truly found my love for pink. I had my first thrift haul at ½ Off Wednesday’s and found various shades of pink in blouses and blazers. All of which were on my back-to-school shopping list of course, but this could be where the obsession started. The pink beast that lay dormant in me waiting to fester. I remember it so clearly because my hand had never touched so much pink before that day. I had just finished assorting my fashion palette for that fall, and different hues of pink were included in almost every outfit. The fashion collage included pieces that made pink look high-class, egocentric, and out of my league. I wanted those styles. I strode along Value Village’s aisles dragging my fingers along pastel pink silk blouses, blush ruffled oxford tops I’m certain Prince would have worn. I remember my first pink blazer. It was an INC double breasted bubblegum pink blazer. A pink blazer that reminded me of the pastel version of Katy Perry’s in my fashion palette. I had finally found my neon pink shorts match.
I wore my pink assets intermittently throughout my first semester of school. My outfits weren’t that eccentric, but looking back they were all still so memorable. I would tuck my pink satin blouses with the button cuffs into my neon pink shorts. I’d strut the promenade in my brown chunky-heeled oxfords, pink bubblegum blazer and dark denim skinny jeans. I would wear my oversized baby pink blouse with the smocked cuffs over a pair of black tights, bottomed with black heeled oxfords. I can recall more outfits, but I see where I unknowingly began to fall in love with pink on my chocolate skin.
Raven’s style had been maturing since she graduated from high school. She began to wear oversized gray and noir cardigans. She wore knee length dresses with flats or chic business casual heels. I remember one fall family outing we had in Decatur. Raven wore a knee length mustard dress with caramel brown Moccasins that met right in the middle of her knee. She, of course, also had on a cardigan. Scarves, cardigans, and a nice shoe were all my sister’s “things.” Throughout her grown and chic palette of clothing, I had rarely seen her spice it up with pink. Maybe it’s because we barely hung around each other. We became close again my freshman year of college. We began to talk more frequently on the phone as I made grocery runs to Walmart alone. We went out together for my 19th birthday to Atlantic Station where she took me on a shopping spree. She knew about my tattoos and recommended my artist to her friends. She saved me and a friend from being stranded at Lenox mall, and she even took me to see Beyoncé. My mother never brought up how we became close again, but I knew she was happy.
Raven died at the end of my first year of college and she was buried in a rose gold casket. I was gifted with a hot pink Furla bag from my cousin Gierra after she left Raven’s service to go back to St. Louis. I can’t recall why she did, but it was a generous asset to add to my back to pink collection. I was about to start my sophomore year of college, but my sister had just died. I couldn’t watch as Jullian and Pops brought in her things from her apartment. She had loads of shoes, clothes, nail polishes etc., and now it was all stored in Mommy’s basement. It was perhaps four weeks prior to the semester starting that she died, and two weeks after death that I took a peak in the basement to see Raven. Jullian came in there with me since I asked, and we just went through her things like nosy kids do. I would pick up then put down some things, because I couldn’t help but swell up. She kept a pink & purple manicure set Mommy bought for us both. The whole set was there. I couldn’t even start to recall where mines had gone. She kept a pink & purple pillow that Mommy had also bought for us both. I used to carry mine in 7th grade to sleep in class, with my MP3 player stashed in a little break of the pillow’s thread. I saw the peach-pink Michael Kors purse she was gifted with at her graduation party smushed underneath other designer leather bags. I saw pink, pink, pink. I thought she had fallen out of love with the color all of the years as her style matured. I hadn’t even made it to the other side of the basement, yet my hands touched so much of her pink things. I had never been in her more recent apartments. I began to wonder what they had looked like. The cheetah and pink decorations my mother would rave about in her home that I now would never be able to see. Had we grown so distant? My mind lingered with many what-ifs and regrets. It was while I was peeling through my sister’s belongings that I found an unopened pink yoga mat. I looked at the label’s picture which showed the mat laid out with the words, “Pray Continually, Be Joyful, Give Thanks Always” printed across.
The semester following my sister’s death I returned to school having barely spoken a word about the huge losses I suffered that summer. I had been hospitalized for depression and anxiety, I lost my significant other, and to top it all off —my sister passed away. I still attended school despite the emotionally tumultuous summer I had had. I made plenty of friends based off of my fashion my sophomore year of college. My style was mature, eclectic, but still screamed conviction and demeanor. As my style grew, so did my closet of pink assets. I began to get more and more comfortable with how I looked in pink, so every store visit my hand touched something pink. On Valentine’s Day, I wore my high waisted neon pink shorts with a blush pink blouse that buttoned all the way to the nape of my neck. The cuffs were belled then buttoned, and they peaked out from the sleeves of my bubblegum INC blazer. I strode around campus that day in my white stockings and snakeskin egg-shell heels with a red lollipop in my mouth. I even remember a pink dish set that my mother gifted me with. A friend in an art club I was a part of came over to my dorm one night for a movie. I told him to wash my dishes out after he used them and I walked out of the kitchen back to my room. When I returned, he was scrubbing away with my pink dish loofah. Mind you, there were at least two other dish sets to choose from which were my roommates. I asked him how he knew which one was mine and he said, “I don’t know, I just figured it looked like you.”
By now I had acquired a baby pink oversized fur coat, a pink cropped fur jacket, pink raincoat, blush pink curtains, and had an entire bedroom styled in only baby pinks with sexy bubblegum colored rugs. My life began to get consumed by the color that I couldn’t separate myself from incorporating it in everything, even in the smallest things. I remember the second Christmas that came without Raven being present. I bought my family three gifts each, and the third gift was small, but special. It was the second Christmas my boyfriend and I were together and he had been teaching me about crystals. The third gift that I bought for all of my family was a rose quartz crystal necklace that I stored inside individual pink suede gift boxes. I bought them from a friend from the tribe, and had him custom wrap their crystals. We took a picture together on my polaroid camera after he was done. I told them to unwrap this last gift together when it was time to give out my gifts. I remember everyone being excited about them, but I specifically watched for Mommy’s face. I didn’t get her a crystal necklace like everyone else’s since I knew she wouldn’t like it. So I bought her a rose quartz bracelet.
Their gifts were physically small, but it was the cherry on top for all of their gifts because of
what the crystal meant: love, partnership, and compassion, but on top of that top --it’s color is pink. I chose the stone to symbolize our Raven always watching over us. My brother lets his dangle from his rearview mirror in his Nissan Maxima, Monette. My nephew’s crystal turned translucent after overwearing it. I never saw my oldest sister nor my dad wear theirs, but Mommy told me verbally that she liked her bracelet --although I had never seen her wear hers either.
My partner and I had just finished watching the remake of the movie Witches, and I was struck by Anne Hathaway’s purple ensembles which did the original film justice. The best
description I can give of her looks in the film are Devil Wears Prada meets modern day evil Disney queens. Her looks were truly stunning, but it was one specific outfit that took the cake. It was the scene where the witches revealed their bald heads. Anne Hathaway was the head witch, so she wore the finest garments. This bubblegum pink peacoat with the giant bow screamed head chick in charge, but it was when she dropped the peacoat to the floor that we really got busy. She was wearing a royal purple dress that was adorned with a jeweled snake that wrapped around the frame of the dress and tailed at the end. It was so striking that my eyes popped. I went to sleep with the jaw dropping ensemble still on my mind, but what woke me up wasn’t as pleasant. I thought about Anne Hathway’s pink & purple ensemble, but this thought catalyzed something that I guess already lay dormant in me. It was in the middle of my slumber when I realized that all of my favorite things, my most prized possessions —were all pink & purple. I jerked up from my sleep in awe as my eyes searched around the dark room and spotted pastel pink and lavender bushels of flowers, rich violet and hot pink clothes palettes, blush curtains with cotton lilacs and brown stems draping through the holes. For God’s sake my entire room is pink & purple! My last apartment’s room was monochromatic pink with lavender colored Asian ornaments. What is wrong with me? My mind searched the room for more and more pinks & purples. Did I really live my life so vicariously that I hadn’t realized I immersed myself in pinks & purples?
Since my epiphany, now everywhere I turn the colors stand out to me like a sore thumb. I catch the two colors out of the corner of my eye —almost as if they are watching over me. A friend of mine went out to eat with me at Mangoes on Edgewood Ave. for my 24th birthday. She brought me a bouquet of fuchsia pink roses alongside a bottle of Pink Moscato. In a week and some change --the roses began to fade into an ombre pink with a deep violet hue.
I catch the two colors out of the corner of my eye —almost as if they are watching over me.
My father gifted me this Christmas with a long purple robe, and while on my Christmas vacay, I noticed a large number of women in New Orleans donning purple. My partner’s mother adorns herself in purple constantly since it’s her favorite color, but this year was my first time acknowledging how royal the color made her bathroom look. It was an ordinary dalmatian tile bathroom, but the color took its design to a more graceful level with the purple hand towels and silver and purple complementary ornaments. She made the color fit her “klass.”
I can even recall one Mother’s Day when his mother glided across the floor of the church in a magenta satin button down evening dress, while wearing large jeweled studs that complimented the dress’ shade. When we returned from New Orleans on New Years Eve, we decided to grab Gut Busters for breakfast. As I sat in front of the Gut Busters on New Years Eve contemplating my goals for the new year, I noticed a pink & purple neon ‘open’ sign blinking letter by letter behind a potbellied Santa Claus eating a po’boy sandwich. I pointed out to my partner later that night how I never noticed the colors in my face --always dangling like a carrot in front of me. He responded, “So what are you going to do with those colors?”
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