This has been a draft since October!
Today is my mom’s birthday. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read this blog, but I’ll write for her today whether she likes it or not! 😉 And then, I’ll call her.
When I was a kid, I thought that a person’s favourite colour was pretty indicative of who they were. It didn’t make much difference to me what the shade or tint was, I just categorized them into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and carefully (my parents being very educational types, and me being ultra receptive in this area) white and black. (whicharenotreallycoloursIknowbutjustshhhhhhhbecausetheystillcountinaboxofcrayolas)
I went to great pains to decide what my favourite colour was going to be. I abhorred pink, a girly colour that told me all I needed to know about someone who’s favourite colour was a shade of cotton candy. Red was also dismissed for being too masculine, too fire-truck-ish, too Calgary Flames. Yellow was the colour of sick people. Green … well … meh, it was pretty much everyone’s favourite colour, and how awful would it be to be like everyone else? Blue… kinda the same feelings towards it as green…
Now hold it. Purple. Even the name sounds strange. Puuuuuuuurrrrple. THAT’s a colour. Purple. Purple people are weird. They are separate from conventional people… they are royalty, they are twisted, they are ARTISTS. Purple, I deem thee “Favourite”.
And so my magnificent mother allowed me to sponge-paint my room with purple, rectangular sea-sponge marks over a pink (yeah, I know, but it matched, so shut your face) background. The house was not a favourite of any of our family (who moved pretty frequently), but it was a house that my mum allowed me to let loose in. I painted almost-accurate (but kind of warped) Looney Tunes characters in the room that held our TV. Maybe it was because she didn’t plan to stay there, or because she didn’t really, ultimately care what was on the walls, or maybe it was because she saw me eying the walls like blank canvasses.. But at the same time, Mum was busily painting the kitchen, the bathroom, the fireplace, and the whole house.
Mum as always been the biggest proponent of colour, and colour change. Every year or so, we’d see mom up on ladders, taping off edges, and freezing rollers full of paint for the second coat. Walls would go from light yellow to black, and then back to a tan. When she couldn’t invest in her home as a solid point on the grid, she made the choice to personalize it with colour. My mum enveloped us with a rainbow.
So, you’ll notice I didn’t mention orange… well, heck… orange is my mum’s favourite colour, so that was immediately a Don’t Pass Go. Like polka dots, which I used to HATE because Mum loved them. Like my hands and feet, which are exactly like Mum’s, and she liked, so I immediately hated… orange was black-barred. Instantly. Unequivocally. Completely. … NO.
My mum likes orange. For her, it is a signal of season – wide swatches of orange cover the mountains in the fall, various shades of orange leaves arch over streets and walkways, drift down and make crunchy carpets. It’s vibrant enough to be alive and grabs attention. When I close my eyes and think of Mum, orange is on the back side of my eyelids.
I still believe in colour as a register of people, but in different degrees; some people chose to make their homes up of cool whites, a calm, clean environment, and some people like firey reds, bright corals, a dynamic environment. My mother has a thousand different, vibrant, and beautiful personalities splashed across my memory in the form of paint. But mostly, she is orange.