Friday, October 7, 2016

Finding True Colors

I'm wearing this while editing, not while trying to sleep.
So, when my body is demanding sleep 20 hours out of every 24, why are my most alert hours from midnight to 4 am? I’ve been lying awake writing the blog in my brain for a couple hours now and have finally given up and crept into the next room to start typing.

Part of the purpose of this blog, and of this phase of my life, is to figure out who I am outside of the classroom and past the stage of full-time momming. (Momming—sorry spellcheck—is a full time job for almost all who take it on, whether we also take on the full time job of running a household or leave the household to chaos and work elsewhere.) 

Discovering our identities is supposed to be the work of youth, and even though my youth was spent before there were handy quizzes on-line, I did take tests to guide me. 
Two sorted everyone by color. The one I learned about first was arguably the most superficial. One of the great eighties fashion trends (right up there with brightly painted-on cheekbones) was color seasons. 

Classes were taught by various experts in make-up or clothing, who would figure out which color season one volunteer belonged in, then hope others would pay for the service later.

I was never officially tested, but I knew which season I wanted. All my favorite colors to wear are in Autumn. 

 I love the colors of dirt and rocks and trees. Orange is my absolute favorite, followed closely by olive green.

Almost three years ago now. Of course, we have only grown more beautiful.
 Notice that we are all wearing olive green in the family picture. Partly it is because we look good in it, but largely it’s because we all own plenty of it. I buy the clothes in this household. 

This looks totally natural. Right?

Notice, my hair is also starting to match the olive green theme. I like to think of it as “sloth green.” They earn status as the only green mammal by sleeping enough to grow moss and lichen in their hair. I’m not quite that bad yet, so I have to rely on artificial coloring.

I admit to liking the grays and the option of silver jewelry.

The colors I “should” be wearing are the pinks and blues of summer. I’m wearing more blue lately because it makes my husband happy. But when I dress to make me happy, it’s orange. When I dress to feel comfortable or comforted, it’s brown.

Less superficial is “The Color Code”  which divides people into personalities based on their primary motivation and uses colors as shorthand for the four main categories:


My test results categorize me as very, very white. I hate conflict and love independence.  I won’t bother you, please don’t bother me, and we’ll get along fine. I’m also supposed to value order and quiet, which I do, but I don’t create it. 

My poor husband will testify that I turn on a radio every time I enter a room and leave a pile of belongings behind whenever I exit.

This is much shorter than the office version.
The only test I get to play with these days is the depression/anxiety index they give at my doctor’s office. I think everybody games that test. Too much is at stake not to. If I try to answer “honestly” I have emotional reactions to the questions and cry though the test. But If I seem too happy, maybe the meds that are helping me seem that way will be cut back. So I aim for the middle. How sad do I need to be to get my drugs without ending up on suicide watch somewhere?

 I’ve been tempted to answer a bit over the top to see if anyone actually reads my test or if my drugs will be renewed automatically forever and the test is just given for my or my insurance company’s benefit. But I’m a white. I hate to make a fuss.

But all of these tests, even the first depression one, were taken before my RA diagnosis, long before fibromyalgia and the rapid slide into disability. I’m not the young woman who took those tests. I’m not sure I put any more credence in them than I do the BuzzFeed quizzes that show which century I really belong in or which Disney heroine I most resemble. 

I don’t know who I am now, who I want to be, or why I am still so upset that my patronus is a hyena. (Tell me your Hogwarts house and Patronus. If you also end up traumatized, we can start a support group.) 

Does this look like a species that just likes to get along with everybody? 

I do know that true self-discovery comes through work, work through therapy, study, prayer. But generating the physical strength to shower, generating the mental clarity to fill out insurance forms—My “lazy” daily life is a lot of work. 

Not bad for a selfie
That may be why I keep returning to the superficial, physical aspects of identity. I can color my hair, wear brightly-colored skirts and too many rings. It makes me feel a little more alive, a little less invisible.


What I really need to do is let go of my anger over this illness. I need to stop letting that anger separate me from God. I need to start reading scriptures again. Which again brings me to work. But at the very least, I can start to listen more. 

It is hard to photograph the top of my head. I kept missing and getting trees

We'll pretend this is a picture of me on a very good day.

I’m still working on the Iba sweater. I found the pattern through
and the yarn is Madelinetosh Classic in Aries. I’m pretending to be a cool famous knitter and calling it my Rheinbeck sweater. 
I tried dyeing Icelandic wool again on Monday. Using the right dye really helped. The turquoise turned out very bright, even when I cooked two exhaust batches, the color stayed quite vibrant.
Seasons experts claim everyone looks good in turquoise, so I should be able to find homes for the stuff I make from all the merino lace-weight I also threw in the pot. 

Feeling accomplished, I even managed to make dinner while dying wool in my kitchen. Amazingly, none of the bread looked  blue. 

I also managed to spin a little. I like these colors, but I don’t have enough for much more than a little cowl, so I am going to process a mix of brown merino and alpaca and spin it, then ply the two together, I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Hey, I’ve started Christmas shopping. Have you? There are some easy options in my shop.

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