there was a time i would only buy white shirts. white shirt + jeans (or overalls) was my uniform. then i moved on to black (cause i kept spilling food on all my whites, probably!) but a slight shift in clothing choices turned to an all-encompassing shift in me (or, most likely, a shift in me turned to a shift in clothing choices….). eventually everything i owned was black, brown, or grey…basically i lacked color in a big, big way. i didn’t realized it then, but my lack of color was a little more profound than simple wardrobe choices. i had lost my color in other facets of my life too. maybe i smiled & laughed less frequently, less easily. people who were close to me noticed this shift, but i, of course, did not. apparently my clothing choices were mirroring my overall mood. choosing non-colors was easier than standing out, being bright, feeling cheerful when i was very much in a dark place.
in high school my nicknames included “smiley” and “goofy”. 10 years later, those words seemed far from my list of personality traits. my mom used to nag (yes, nag!) me all the time to wear color. she was convinced this would elevate my mood, change my outlook. at one point i was searching for a car and she showed up in california in a bright yellow dodge neon. (she bought it, drove it from ohio to santa cruz, changed the tags/ title/bank info to my name and…i had my new car, just like that) i was actually pretty annoyed. yellow? i didn’t choose this car! i didn’t want yellow! it was so loud & bright….so cheery!
flash forward 6+ years later…that little yellow neon is sitting in my driveway, smiling at me (it now belongs to my mom, but i’m borrowing it for a few months.). not only do i now appreciate the gesture of my mom forcing a bright-ass yellow car on me years ago (because in some weird way, she just knew it would help), but i appreciate the pop of color everyday. yellow is now my favorite color. color is a part of my daily wardrobe. “smiley” and “goofy” have made it back onto my list of personality traits. sure, a car didn’t cure me in any way, but i am positive that getting into a bight yellow car everyday for years has altered something in my brain (how can it not!?). by forcing color on me, my mom shifted my focus from the dark to the bright, light, cheerful colors of life.
*obviously, there are and were many, many other supports and factors that aided my “shift” in outlook/mood/emotional well-being. i am not recommending yellow cars as a cure for depression, though, really it couldn’t hurt!*