"I love the color pink. It makes a bold statement." –Samuel Larsen
I needed a dress and I was scampering the bottom of the piles. How could there be so many clothes but nothing that attracted my attention (life lesson for another time: what to do when everything out there is just stuff that really doesn’t have any purpose, doesn’t meet your needs, etc. – but that’s all there is? Go out and make your own!)
I’ve never been a pink type of girl (right now I’m wearing a boy’s graphic shirt – just cause I like the graphics and the colors) but during this shopping excursion, I found myself in the dressing room with not one but two pink dresses (and how did the fuchsia pants sneak in?)
But I was desperate so I tried them on. As I turned around and looked in the mirror, low and behold, the pink dresses looked light, fresh, and inspiring.
Now there are thousands of pink shades in this world. Perhaps I was averse to the stereotypical light pink used in baby nurseries (back in the day when neutral paint colors were not the “in” thing). The soft hues, almost translucent, of those baby nursery pinks seemed, to me, to blend too much in the background. As almost in their translucent nature, they quietly disappeared.
I associated the color too much with white clean shoes and little white gloves; a hushing color, a color for sitting still and going by unnoticed.
Those associations with the color pink have kept me away from that hue throughout my childhood and adult life. I’ve gravitated more towards colors that spoke of vibrancy and boldness; lime greens, Greek blues, chocolate browns, burnt oranges.
Yet in the dressing room, I found myself…transformed, both in a physical and mindset kind of way. I’m humbled in stating that as an artist, I know that there are many hues and shades of pink. I can rationalize that in my mind. But actually wearing these pink dresses, seeing the color itself reflected back in the mirror, I felt a sense of childhood revived.
The pinks, admittedly a shade darker than those extremely light baby nursery pinks, spoke of spring, of the awakening of the earth to new blooms and colors. The color itself felt light, and instead of priming me up, it gave me permission to just play, to have fun, to twirl.
Funny how a simple piece of clothing, or different color, can do that to a person.
The gravity of opting to try something just once and call it a day
There are many engrained experiences in our lives that shout “don’t repeat this ever!” or “I do not like that. Period.”
In looking at the pink dresses, and me in them, I’m finding out that perhaps, in a different season in our lives, it might be beneficial to give something another try.
(I’ll offer up this disclaimer before I keep going: If there is something that you’ve tried before that you know deep in your gut you hate, not just dislike, but hate, then by all means, don’t try it again.)
Whether it is the environment that we experienced the event in, the people we were with, or even the shade of pink that we wore, there are too many elements involved in the equation. We arrived at the result of “this is not for me” without thinking about changing just one of the variables. It was all or nothing.
And while we may have experienced a scalding hot chocolate, made with water not milk, in 6th grade and swore that we would never ever drink hot chocolate, ever – that one experience should not box us in and prevent us from actually trying new (old) things in a new way
Going back to the pink dresses – there are fabric shades available now that were not available to the mass market or even in production 40 years ago. The color pink has progresses – so why am I persisting in sticking to an old mindset?It’s almost as the situation where to be:
“Well, why don’t you like the color pink?”
“I don’t know, I just don’t like it.”
“But why not?”
“I don’t know, I just don’t.”
If we dug deeper into the question, we can learn to phrase our answer correctly, identifying the true reasons, i.e. pink doesn’t look good against my skin tone. Well, what pink color have you tried? Have you tried all pinks and can you really rule them all out and say you don’t like that color period? (For more reflection type exercises, including how to start identifying the "why" behind our purpose, check out this post.)
I detested math in middle and high school. Dragged myself through the classes because I had to to graduate. And if you were to ask me back then, I would have told you that I hated math, with a fury.
Talk to me about math now and I won’t be spewing off PhD level math theory, but I have learned that there is a particular way that I learn math. It’s not logical to anyone else but it makes perfect sense to me. And I only learned how to live with math, in my own terms, by recognizing that I love to see patterns in data, and for that I need to know and work with some math. The end product justifies the usage of something I used to detest.
The power of opting to try something not just once, but multiple times
Before we can truly put something to rest, to really honestly say something just isn’t for us, we need to give it some time.
Practice makes perfect. Well, not really, since nothing is perfect. Nevertheless, the sentiment is right: practice is necessary for something to become easier, more comfortable.
Practicing something, truly getting into a habit, situation, outfit, hand delivers us the opportunity to really test what we are made of and what we are capable of.
Yes, practice may provide us with evidence that we truly are not meant to drive a go-cart (that is definitely not my aptitude).
But that’s the beauty of trying multiple times multiple things. We can push outside our comfort zone and find new people, activities, food, interests, strengths, which we allowed to be previously dormant.
In our journey of self-discovery and personal development, trying – and making mistakes – is all part of the fun of living.
Try, try, try – and see what mirrors back
After purchasing one of the pink dresses and coming back home, I dropped my keys at the front door and look at a photo frame. In it, I see a posed picture of myself as a child – where I’m wearing a pink dress. I don’t see a quiet, neutral wallflower child – I see someone who has just a slight edge and quirkiness while still being female and girly. (Looking through snapshots of myself throughout different seasons of my life has proved essential to reconnecting with my best self.)
It reminds me that there are instances in life where we become resolute in averting something (food, clothes, people, adventure) because someone else made us dislike it.
For me, I can remember boys taunting me for looking too girly, too proper. It has taken me over 30 years to realize and acknowledge that I LOVE puffy skirts and flowing dresses. And yet those taunting voices hover over my decision of what to wear.
That’s why giving something (a new experience, hobby, location, person) another try, with an open mind, is also essential to personal development. It gives us the opportunity to try it with our own adult eyes, with no nagging voices or naysayers over our shoulders (and find out what we are missing out on).
Trying something again may land us right back where we were supposed to be.
What’s something you’ve tried again and found was a better fit the second time around? Chime in on the comments below – I’d love to hear how trying things has expanded your self-discovery journey.
Photo Source: https://stocksnap.io/
I love reflecting on purposeful, thought-provoking life experiences and turning them into life purposes. I am a writer dedicated to sharing life-lessons to empower women to attain their best life by turning experiences into passion-driven action.
When I'm not studying life, I'm intentionally living it. I enjoy art (admiring it and creating it), nature, and I'm a beginner sewer in the attempt to sew my own unique clothes.
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