So I have this Etsy shop that holds a bunch of wildly colorful floral prints I made last year as I dealt with a long, stark, gardenless winter. My years in Mexico promoted in me a deep appreciation for abundant, screaming, joyous, expressive color. I am grateful for my time in that unusual space, that gave me permission to discover the wider world within a diverse palette and outside of my givens.
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to poke big holes into my comfort zone. To begin to understand magenta after a short lifetime of eggshell. Why would we need to understand magenta? Wasn’t my life OK without it? Perhaps, but magenta is out there, it is woven into the world we inhabit and might approach in tomorrow’s sunset or catch our eye in a bouquet of freesia in the supermarket. Best to get a feel for what it means.
Why do we need to understand diversity at all if we are all fine, thank you, right here in our comfortable space where everyone understands us and we know what to cook for dinner?
Why is there not enough vaccine for the yellow fever that threatens to pull down so many hearts in Africa and Asia? Why do we not change our Facebook profiles to the colors of Pakistan’s flag when so many are killed there by terrorists, just like in Belgium? Why do we not understand that people in prison are not all bad, though they may have done something bad? Why is it so hard to be a woman in so many parts of the world? Why is it so hard to care about those not us?
I think because so often, life is hard. It’s hard to get to work on time, hard to fit it all in, hard to navigate a relationship, hard to decide how to vote, hard to understand how we can be everything we expect ourselves to be. And hard to understand magenta if the daily palette we choose to comfort ourselves after our too-hard day is buttery beige.
I do believe, though, in the face of the world each day more colorful and complex (frightening and brutal), we owe it to ourselves and to our space in community to find whatever way works for us to draw close to magenta — or any of those colors, languages, creeds we do not understand that exist despite us and may surprise in in tomorrow’s sunset, in tomorrow’s news.