I’ve always been someone who thinks a little outside of the box. One of my favorite real life illustrations of this happened when I was in 11th grade and…Lord…I pissed Mrs. Tatum off. Mrs. Tatum was my AP Lit teacher. She assigned us a paper…
“What Color Are You and Why?”
Of course, most kids stuck to what was expected. “I’m green, because I love nature.” “I’m blue because I’m calm and tranquil.” Those who had studied more psych might have thrown a slight curveball with, “I’m orange, because I’m really hungry right now.”
And then there was me…
“I’m Hazel. Because I change consistently. ”
I remember Mrs. Tatum reading my first draft and telling me I couldn’t be Hazel because it wasn’t a real color.
“They put it on driver’s licenses as an eye color. It’s a LEGAL color.”
After sputtering and mumbling she let it go. (I should probably mention this was the same teacher that nominated me for English Governors Honors…and then told me that my poetry submission had a childish rhythm…at which point I told her (and proved) that I wrote with the same style as Emily Dickenson…one of history’s greatest poets…who’s every poem could be sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme song…Mrs. Tatum didn’t like me.)
Anyway, I digress. After shushing her arguments…I wrote my paper. Two pages on why I refused to assign myself as only one color.
Some days I’m happy.
Some days I’m sad.
Some days I’m angry.
Some days I’m shy and some days I won’t shut up.
Some days I dream of adventure and some days I dream of hiding away from the world.
I am not blue. I am not green. I am not even white (the presence of all colors).
I am Hazel. I change. Every day. We all do. We are ALL multifaceted.
Which is why I have always hated when people use the words, “You’ve changed”.
First, let me start by saying…the words, “You’ve changed” are never meant as a positive. When people mean it as a positive they say, “You’ve grown”. When people say, “You’ve changed,” what they really mean is, “You’re not being the person that I am comfortable with and I wish you’d go back.” In other words, “You’re orange lately and I really don’t like the way orange makes me feel, so I really hope you’ll stop being orange so I can be comfortable again.”
But it doesn’t work like that.
Some days the experiences we’re “wearing” change our Hazel to blue.
Some days we’re wearing the struggle of self doubt and envy and we take on a tinge of green.
Some days the only clothes we can find are the epitome of life being shitty…and our Hazel looks brown.
But it hasn’t changed the fact that we’re still Hazel. We’re going to be all those colors again. We change with life’s wardrobe, and that’s ok. That’s HUMAN.
So…the next time you think that your loved one has changed…maybe instead of saying that to them (which sounds like they’re failing you)…maybe look at their wardrobe…and decide if it’s just their outfit of the day…or if maybe they could use a little help finding something new to wear. Be the person who adds more color to their life instead of someone who insists on eradicating the colors that make them feel uncomfortable.
And maybe they’ll do the same for the Hazel in you.