Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Learning to Love Yellow

Serendipitaz's picture

a color I despised since childhood.
I never understood why it was so loud.
I never liked how it would hurt my sleepy eyes
or how it made me nauseous.
I just never liked yellow!

For the longest time,
all I did was look at the things about yellow that I hated.
I only focused on the aspects of yellow that defied me,
and I rarely acknowledged the aspects of yellow which relaxed me
like the Sun which brightened my day and hugged me with its warmth
or, the mustard fields in my Naani’s* farm which dressed our food, or treated ailments

I never looked at the similarities between me and yellow
until one of my best friends taught me to garden for the first time.
I attempted to garden as a child, but I never had a guide to help me understand plants.
I didn’t speak their language.

He helped me patiently listen to what the plants needed and treat them accordingly
he helped me overcome my fears
of misunderstanding the plants’ needs and potentially killing them
and  soon I learned to grow bright yellow mustard plants
similar to the ones my Naani grew in her fields.

I never knew I could fall in love with my least favorite color
Just like I never knew I could be productive around people
who rarely shared the same ideologies as me.

As a child,
I spent a lot of time traveling
and never quite felt like I was part of the niche.
I never felt like I had a home,
a familiar place
with people who understood me
and people who I understood.

I always felt like the outsider
because those who were around me were rarely familiar with what I was talking about.
Even though I was a very social child, I felt very disconnected from people.
The older I got, the more I recognized my struggle to articulate my thoughts
in a clear and concise manner.
Sometimes, I couldn’t communicate at all with certain people.

More than that,
I always felt very uncomfortable with myself
because I couldn’t explain myself properly.
That’s the thing I always felt like I was trying to explain more than having a conversation.

But, I always found people like my best friend
who understood even the most disconnected phrases I would say.
They didn’t understand me because we were socially compatible by birth,
they understood me because they actively wanted to communicate with me
My friends always acknowledged me whenever I would retrieve to my cave
They would inquire about how I was feeling
to learn about me, to understand me, to be at home with me

Even though I still struggle to communicate clearly,
I learned that being reluctant about speaking
was my main obstacle.
When I stopped interacting with others because I thought they didn’t understand me,
my world became smaller and smaller.
In reality, I was only the outsider because I was turning others into the outsiders
by focusing on what made them different from me.

But, when I inquired more and exchanged dialogues with those around me,
I discovered, we had many things in common.
I discovered that we all are struggling with something in our lives
and we’re looking for better ways to persevere
Through our interactions,
my friends and I developed better strategies to cope with our challenges.

The more I spoke with different groups of people,
the better my ability to communicate became.
I was learning more about audience,
and my audience was learning more about me.
When it comes coping with the challenges of language differences,
I have found that learning about each others ways of living
makes for a more productive conversation
as opposed to arguing over whose methodologies are better.
Thus, I became compassionate for those I thought were different from me
and began to treat them as humans.
I began to treat myself as a human

I learned to love yellow,
I learned to love others,
and I learned to love myself.

Dedicated to the person who helped me discover the beauty in yellow

*Naani is the Bengali word for maternal grandmother


alesnick's picture

filtering/shining yellow

interested in where this color/identity/visibility/flower/power talk is going . . . 

Cathy's picture

Hey Taz,            I loved

Hey Taz,

           I loved your post. I don't know if you intended for this, but it's almost like yellow is a symbol for the oppressed. It's loud, not well recieved, and not well understood, but it's still there and it can be beautiful like it is in this flower. I have to admit, when I was little, like 3-5 I loved, LOVED the color yellow, and then as I grew up (6-10) I couldn't stand the color, and maybe I didn't like it for the same reasons your didn't. Maybe yellow was me accepting the parts of me I didn't like becuase they didn't fit in, but when I was younger and completely accpeting of almost everything as kids are, I loved it and I loved me, ever part of me. I think loud yellow is beautiful now. I love the sun, I love sunfowers, and I love how cheerful the color is, to the point where I can wear it now. For me, it's even a sign of my Latin heritage and wearing it, and feeling good in it, makes me feel like I can be comfortable with a lot more of who I am and where I've come from. Thank you for posting. 

Serendipitaz's picture

I totally agree with you

I totally agree with you Cathy. I am a cantankerous person and for a long time I always saw it as a failure. I always stand out in the crowd like the color yellow. But, the brightness doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can be a wake up call. These flowers always motivate me to get up and go in the morning. I can't stay in bed if I see such brightness in my room! We have a yellow aura and that's who we are. We do have to work on filtering ourselves, but filtering doesn't mean that our personality is just means we can still be ourselves but also be mindful of what's around us, we can still accept ourselves. The peson who taught about these flowers actually always used to tell me that I am "Yellow" before then I used to feel uncomfortable wearing yellow because I would feel like I would stick out in the crowd. Now, a LOT of my clothes have  little yellow. It's not even intentional!

jrlewis's picture

Lonely Yellow

I suspect that all the troubles of the color yellow can be solved by a change in context.  My house happens to have brigth yellow walls in the living room.  I mean BRIGHT. Initially, I was disturbed by what I perceived as a violent burst of color.  Too strong for the rest of the house, I thought.  What could possibly decorate such wild walls?  Then my friend gave me a beautiful photograph of Squam Swamp in the fall.  The green, orange, red, and yes yellow leaves in the photograph complemented the walls so well!  A short while later, my new housemate suggested replacing the beige rug with an orange one.  Again the orange rug, honey colored wood molding, and yellow walls worked together.  I love my yellow walls now that they are part of the color scheme of the room.  Yellow does not do well alone. 

lesaluna12's picture

I enjoyed...

your creativity! Its interesting that you posted a picture of yellow flowers where one of them are starting to wilt, to me it seemed like the proper reflection to your poem because you mention how you felt like you never fit in and in a way to me this picture looks like the flower that is wilting is doing so because it feels like an outcast thus reflecting that area in your life. However, the flowers in the back are pointing outwards, stadning high and tall thereby reflecting to other part in your poem where you discuss how you learn to love the color yellow and become more outgoing as you got older. I enjoyed reading your post!