Brown is a safety color. Because, generally, it coordinates with anything. I committed to the color because it looks great against my skin. Plus, it’s an easy color – no real thinking or creativity involved when constructing outfits.
Like my wardrobe, I realized my life was becoming brown. No real movement or flow of color – just the same, safe repetitious source. The stagnated idea of living cemented itself in the town I hate to love.
Sooner or later continuing to wear and live the same color becomes dangerous. Before you realize it, you’re dressing for your own funeral.
As one Jax native put it to me, “It’s like the frog and the boiling water. If you put the frog in the water first, then slowly increase the heat, it won’t know its being cooked. Like the people in this town – they’re being cooked and they don’t even realize it. They are dying and they don’t even know it.”
I needed to jump out the pot before I was cooked. My closet was missing color. So I left my comfortable space I created in Jax to live in a small camper in the middle of some South Carolina woods.
Why people remain in the pot to become internally dead perplexes me. I’ve come to the conclusion that complacency makes you forget the true meaning of happiness. People get distracted into thinking they have to maintain a certain standard of living – and the possessions they acquire will somehow lead to fulfillment.
Eventually, many of us become little mice chasing the cheese, lost in the never-ending maze of illusions. Stuck. Confined to one color.
At what point does the cost outweigh the perceived benefits?
Does it finally become ‘not worth it’ when you realize you don’t know anything about your children because you’ve been working so hard to pay for your oceanfront view? Or when you notice your soul has died from years spent at a profession that sucks the life from you?
Making the first steps toward change is an inevitably hard process. But those steps are necessary to avoid being captive of your environment. It all comes down to creating your own direction and style – and rejecting the one society inundates us with.
Just because there’s a McDonald’s on every other street corner, doesn’t mean you have to eat it or feed it to your kids. Take initiative to do something truly beneficial for yourself. Welcome the idea of new colors you have ignored.
Don’t be afraid to take a leap because sometimes the best knowing is the unknown. Often, when something feels like a safe bet, it means it’s easy and usually inhibits growth. Just like sticking with a single color.
My friend recently took a job doing something she is passionate about. The only problem is that the job interfered with her last couple semesters of college. So she had to put her degree on hold. But she took a major leap to create her own path – not the one her parents want or society desires.
This girl is vividly alive now, immersed in a colorful existence – because she broke from brown.
I encourage you to challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Since the bastardization of the holiday season is around the corner – start there.
If you usually go in debt or break yourself because you’ve bought a plethora of gifts for friends and family – find another route. This time of year is about coming together, not fragmenting ourselves through stress induced paranoia.
Offer your time to loved ones this holiday season instead. Help family with yard maintenance or a project they’ve wanted to complete. Ask a friend to volunteer with you at a homeless shelter or humane society in-lieu-of gifts for each other. Visit a thrift store and find a treasure that was foolishly discarded.
Don’t get sucked into the mainstream idea of exorbitant gift buying. Resist the expectation that the ‘perfect gift’ means you’re a caring person. A compassionate person is measured by their actions to help other people, not by things they buy. In other words, add flare to your wardrobe.
As I’ve stepped outside my repetitious life, shirts and dresses of every color pour out my closet. Finally I see brown isn’t the only color.