The World as a Spectrum
Dani, 12th- Oakland, CA
My mom always told me that her favorite color was white.
The purity reminded her of everything Holy and of everything that is right with the world. The white fluorescent glare removed stains of suffering, loss, fear and harm. All things that she tries escaping as a Mexican mother living in Neverland. But let us bless God for the endeavors and successes obtained in the gray world. White reminds her of the doors in her impossible house. It excites her when looking at pillowcases and soft blankets that keep her warm during cold winters and rainy days. And she asks me, “How can you not desire being surrounded in all things white? The white doors, the white sweaters, they’ve led us to where we are now.”
But even with beauty in all forms of white, I cannot imagine living in the selective world that’s white. She frowns.
My father always told me that his favorite color was black. It rejuvenated him to think of the black oil stains he got when fixing a car. It reminded him of Sundays when he picked up a black pen and designed drawings that fascinated his daughters. Without a sale for such beautiful creations, my father traded those moments for a gray world, but in return, earned more black pens with limited use. My dad couldn’t be bothered by any other color in the world, perhaps gray, but the color itself brought him luxuries of hard-work, desire and success. Leaving the gray world in Mexico felt like a win because the home he lives in now allows for much more. My father did not realize that they were the same gray regions with different stamps. So then he tells me, “Mija, this black world is what I came here for.”
But even with all the luxuries in all forms of black, I stop myself from succumbing to an exploited black world. He frowns.
I always tell my mom and dad that I do not have a preference in color. I tell them that the majority of gems are not one, but are multiple colors. I explain to them that it couldn’t be possible to fall in love with a single color of the world. I am reminded of the places I go and the liberties that hold every color from a paint palette.
And so I tell them, “How can you live in a bland world when all the colors of the world make up true beauty and true happiness?”
But even with grandeur, I am their radical daughter wanting more than one colored world. I frown. Then I realize that my eagerness of redirection could be frightening. The lives lived by my parents weren’t socially, emotionally or systematically wired for rainbows, but for a sole color. Their compliance to a black and white world was programmed. So, I reassure them that no matter how deflective I get or how eager I am to splash color onto their canvasses, I will respect their worlds. Because just like my parents did, I also have to learn to accept the gray world and find ways to paint its canvas with all the colors I have.
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Students 6th-12th Grades