Rethinking Pink

Posted on September 13, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

pink glasses

I just bought a new pair of running shoes. Bright purple Asics. Very unlike me. I’ve always hated purple.

A year ago I would have balked at the purchase, told the salesperson to take them back, thank you very much, I’d rather have a pair of shoes that maybe didn’t fit quite so well but that weren’t so, well, purple.

But that was a year ago. Times have changed—at least since I bought a pair of bright pink reading glasses.

I’ve always hated pink even more.

When I say hate, I mean loathe. I mean face-squinching, stomach-churning abhorrence. Growing up, my sister and I inevitably received the exact same gift for birthdays and holidays. Exactly the same, that is, with one exception. Whatever the gift was, she got blue. I got pink.

No one ever asked me what my favorite color was. (Decidedly not pink.) No one bothered. They simply bought every article of clothing, bedding, bathing accessory in pink. And you know how it is. Pink begets pink. When one relative saw me with All Things Pink, others made wild assumptions and purchased even more pink. I was forced to live in a Box of Pink.

When I left home for college, I quickly and thoroughly cleansed my world of All Things Pink. I did not purchase one even remotely pink thing until I was well into my 30s:  One sweater, a beautiful cardigan with pearlized buttons that the store did not have in black. It sat in my closet, tags dangling, for nearly a year before I wore it—and then, only because laundry was weeks overdue.

Yet just about a year ago when I decided it was time to quit fighting the fact that I need reading glasses, I found myself standing in front of a rack handling a pair of bright pink frames. Pink? I shuddered, yet turned them over in my hands, tried them on, tested them on a label I’d been struggling with in aisle 3. I replaced them on the rack and loitered in the antacids aisle.

Pink glasses. Pink? I paced the aisle, completely dismayed that I was considering buying them. Why, dear God, why would the thought even cross my mind? These glasses couldn’t sit in a drawer for a year. I would need them daily to help me see clearly the very intricacies of life, the things that were right in front of my face.

Then it struck me. Pink. A primary color of Girls on the Run.

Since becoming council director, I’ve faced some of the most challenging days of my life. There’s not a day that goes by where I have to do something I can’t do. Maybe I don’t know how to do it, I don’t have the skill set. Maybe I don’t enjoy doing it and I simply don’t want to. Maybe it’s not my strength. Or, maybe, I feel incapable. Inadequate. That if I do this thing, whatever it is, surely I will fail.

But then I do it anyway. Because it must be done.

And because, as it turns out, I can.

Girls on the Run may be about the girls—empowering them to live outside the Girl Box and to reach their full potential—but along the way, serving them has altered the way I see the world. Inevitably, what I see differently is me.

So I put back the Alka Seltzer, Rolaids, and Tums and walked out of the store with pink glasses, a daily reminder that there is another way to see.

Last year, pink glasses. This year, purple shoes. I figure a new vision won’t get me very far unless I’m willing to take it to the street, give it a good run.

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[…] never been a “girlie” girl. Until quite recently, I refused to wear pink. I’ve never been big on dresses or diamonds or bling. Other than a couple of unfortunate teen […]

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