Plum

If you read my post on turquoise, you know colour perception can be subjective and ambiguous. I decided to make turquoise a separate Colour Theory category from both blue and green because of a particular dress I owned that turned out to be divisive in terms of what colour people perceived it to be. The exact same thing has happened with purple and burgundy, so I’ve created a board for plum.

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One day, at work, I wore the outfit pictured above. In my mind the main colour displayed was burgundy, but I got called “purple lady” and was accused of dressing like a grape. Interesting, I thought. Then, months later, as I was mentally preparing to write this blog post, I went in to work in an outfit that to my mind was decidedly purple, and another coworker commented that she liked my maroon outfit. Clearly there is a very fine line between purple and burgundy. You could argue that there is a fine line between any two colours that sit next to each other on the spectrum. The word spectrum itself defines a continuum. But I’ve chosen to write an entire post about plum because the line between purple and burgundy seems to be particularly fine. I’m not even sure the word “plum” is the right one to use. Unlike turquoise, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive name for the colour(s) between purple and burgundy. Fuschia and magenta could fall within this range, but they have more of a pink, rather than red influence, so for the purposes of this exercise, plum will have to do.

As I was creating my plum photo collage, I struggled to decide what belonged in the purple camp, what was more maroon, and what plum really meant. What do you think of my choices? Do you think plum even deserves its own category? If plum does, doesn’t indigo? After all, indigo (midway between blue and purple) is an actual colour on the spectrum, so why not give it equal treatment? Well, the answer, for me, is that no one’s ever accused me of wearing blue when I thought I was wearing purple, and vice versa.

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Interestingly, as I was scouring my neighbourhood for plum objects I discovered that a lot of foods fall into this colour range. Plums obviously, but also grapes, onions, beets, eggplant, and blueberries when smooshified. So perhaps plum, as a colour, is symbolically indicative of health and vitality, while also conveying depth, and brooding moodiness. It doesn’t really know what it wants to be, and refuses to be pinned down, but is also plentiful in nature. Plum: an enigma, wrapped in a smoothie.

 

Am I old, or just a hot mess?

So I totally wet the bed the other night.

I can’t even remember the last time I wet the bed. I don’t think I was ever a bed-wetter as a kid. I do, however, remember one time when I was a child and I woke up in the morning, had to pee, and rushed to the washroom only to find it occupied. So I did what any sensible human with a brain would do: I went back to my room and peed on the floor. I mean… ??? I don’t remember what my logic was, like why I didn’t simply go downstairs to the second bathroom. If memory serves, I went back to my room to wait for the bathroom but then it became urgent, a little pee escaped and I just went with it. Thankfully it wasn’t a deluge and I was able to clean it up myself, without having to involve my mother. In fact, to this day she probably has no idea I peed all over my bedroom floor. Thankfully by then the carpet had been removed.

It’s pretty common for me to have pee dreams. That is, dreams wherein I need to pee. It’s probably a common occurrence for everyone. Our dreams are telling us to wake the fuck up and go relieve ourselves in a toilet, rather than ruining our beds. Usually my pee dreams involve me desperately searching for a washroom. I’m often at school, or another public place, and I’m searching and searching to no avail. And then when I finally find a bathroom, it’s so disgustingly dirty that I can’t fathom using it. Finally, I’m so desperate that I decide I’ll use the overflowing/dirty toilet anyway and it’s at this point that I wake up. But the other night my dream wasn’t so elaborate. I was just having a conversation, then I sat on a toilet that magically appeared, and started to pee. Like, a Niagara falls pee.

Then I woke with a jolt, realising I was actually urinating for realsies!!! I rushed to the washroom, where indeed a Niagara falls pee took place. Panicked, and refusing to fully believe what had just happened, I tentatively felt my pyjama bottoms for evidence of an accident. Yup, they were wet. Holy shit! Did I actually just wet myself?! What the hell?! I hadn’t even drank an excessive amount of water that day. I was, however, sick. I’ve had a chest cold for about two weeks now, and the other day, when I came home from work, a cough attack overtook me. As I coughed a bit of urine squeezed out, and I thought, wow, I really have to pee, and wow, I hope I don’t wet the bed tonight, hahaha, as if I ever would. But then I did just that!!!

After taking off my wet pyjamas and cleaning myself up I went back to the bedroom to inspect the bed. I felt around and immediately found the wet spot. Seriously?! I couldn’t believe it. I’m only 40 years old! Isn’t bed-wetting the purview of toddlers and geriatrics?! I was beginning to accept the reality of the situation but I was unsure of what to do. I debated simply putting down a towel and going back to sleep, but since I hadn’t turned the light on yet I couldn’t really tell how bad the damage was. I looked over to my boyfriend, still sleeping soundly and again debated my options. I obviously couldn’t change the sheets with him still in bed so I decided to wake him. I calmly explained the situation and he got up to help without a word of complaint. This was a pleasant surprise since he’s usually very grumpy when he gets woken unexpectedly, but he also tends to jump into action whenever he’s given an opportunity to help me. So we turned on the light and inspected the situation. The wet spot was embarrassingly large but not devastatingly so. Peeling back the mattress protector revealed that it had expertly done its job, and no urine had soaked through to the mattress! What a relief. So we changed the sheets, threw the soiled ones into the washing machine and went back to bed, where I stared at the ceiling and wondered what the fuck.

Would this have happened if I hadn’t been sick? Can I blame something like this on a cold, or am I just getting old? It’s not like having a sore throat could be linked to bladder control. A little intertron research tells me that adult incontinence is very common, but also more of a problem for women who’ve suffered the trauma of childbirth, and for those over 60, and I don’t have either of those excuses. And even then sleep pissing nocturnal enuresis is usually related to an underlying illness. So I guess I’m dying.

I suppose there’s nothing to be done but to wait and see if it happens again. In the meantime I can limit how much water I drink before bed or perhaps stop ingesting liquids altogether and become a dehydrated, shrivelled mess.

Still though, not as bad as the time I shit myself in public.

Purple

Purple is the colour of royalty because it is rare in nature and was once quite expensive to create as a dye. It evokes luxury and decadence, and therefore also pomposity and conceit. During the Roman era, Emperors wore purple. There is a similar association in Japan, where the colour is linked to wealth and position. I wouldn’t say I feel particular opulent when wearing purple, but now that I think of it, it’s not really a colour that can fade into the background, the way some other colours on the cool end of the spectrum can.

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I’ve learned it’s a rather divisive colour, and people either love it or hate it. It’s difficult for me, as someone who loves all colours, to understand anyone hating a particular hue, but I have a coworker who absolutely despises purple, to the point where it’s practically one of her defining characteristics, which is perhaps ironic since she’s the most “blingy” person I know.

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Purple is also considered a girly colour nowadays, I guess because of lavender and violet’s proximity to pink. But this is sort of weird, since purple is equal parts red and blue, so it could just as easily be labelled a masculine colour. Whatever, modern toy marketers, your gender biases are arbitrary and detrimental. That having been said, my favourite pony is Twilight Sparkle, but that’s not because of her colour scheme.

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When I was a child we had a lilac tree in our front yard. There was something very romantic about that tree to me, and it made me feel like I belonged in the same world as Anne of Green Gables. Unfortunately this feeling was always brief, since the tree’s bloom only lasted a few weeks, but perhaps its ephemeral nature was part of the appeal.

May 28, 1991

I am so tired I could die. I wrote this in English class and am now transferring it to my diary. We did the Endurance run today. 2nd period and boy am I tired. Even now that it’s 4th period I’m still tired. At least I’m not sweating like was in ITT (3rd period). I walked a lot of it but still we had to go around 6 times. I finished after the bell rang. It was pretty embarrassing. I collapsed when I was done and started crying ’cause I couldn’t take it. And I’m not even sure how many times I went around.

                                           I vividly remember this. I’ve even written about it before on this blog, without realizing a first-hand account lay hidden within the pages of my old diary.

I often wish I wasn’t anemic. I wish I had energy and I wish I was a fast runner and good in sports and an all around good athlete. I wish I didn’t get eye infections. I really wish I had 20/20 vision. Sometimes I wish my skin wasn’t so pale (but sometimes I like it because it makes me different). I wish I was pretty. I wish my fat was in the right places (ahem). I wish I wasn’t so shy. I wish boys liked me. But I like myself, if I had the chance (except for having 20/20 vision and not being fat, I’d stay the same except for the skin rashes).

                                         This last part was scratched out and then rewritten elsewhere on the page. I can’t tell what I’d originally written. But I can tell you that none of those wishes ever came true. My sight began to weaken when I was about four years old; too young to be able to express what was going on. My mother thought I was going crazy because I told her I could see angels. Turns out I was trying to tell her I could see halos, i.e. lens flares. Eventually she figured it out and brought me to an optometrist and I got glasses. My sight continued to deteriorate so I had to get new glasses every year. When I was about ten I got contacts and when I was fourteen or fifteen I got my first eye infection so it was back to the glasses. I finally sought out eye surgery when I was thirty-three, but my vision was too poor to be a candidate for lasik so I got intraocular lens implant surgery, which is a whole other story for another time. The skin rash I refer to is eczema, and that also merits its own post because it relates to my distrust of doctors.

What I really wish is that I lived in a place just like Star Trek: The Next Generation. With all the people, just like in the show. But I’d settle for being a regular on the show. Oh life is so depressing! If they do the Endurance run at BHS I will try to get out of it somehow!

                                         I was obsessed with TNG, and I fantasized about living on the Enterprise all the time, but I was also realistic enough to know such a thing could never be, so in an effort to make my fantasies more attainable I fantasized about being an actor on the show. So, about 1% more attainable. Really, I just wanted any escape from my life, but it would take at least another decade for me to learn that I really wanted to escape myself, and still another decade to learn that what I actually needed was self-acceptance. The good news is that my next school, BHS, did not, in fact, enforce the endurance run.

 

Blue

No offence blue, but you’re the most basic colour. Don’t get me wrong, I love you blue, you’re my boo, but you basic. By this I mean you are the most popular colour. It’s no wonder you’re associated with masculinity, though this wasn’t always the case, because in our modern society masculine is considered the baseline, and you blue, are the baseline. You’re the “safe” choice. In fact, blue, you’re so basic that navy is considered a neutral, and so are blue jeans, and blue suits are as innocuous and ubiquitous as those in actual neutrals, and everybody likes to write with blue pens.

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Fortunately, you are also capable of pizzazz. Azure is a bright, vibrant colour, and there’s even a hue called electric blue! I like wearing you blue, because you accentuate the colour of my eyes. I feel comfortable with you and get compliments whenever I wear you. The dress above is flirty enough that it could be worn as a party dress, and yet the restrained tones mean it’s also professional enough to wear at the office, which I have. I wore this exact outfit (with the addition of a shrug) to an office party, so two birds, one stone!

Apparently you have been historically elusive, which certainly makes you fascinating. You are the colour of the sky, and of the ocean (which makes your ancient lack of acknowledgement all the more confusing) but are otherwise rare in nature.

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I trust you blue. You never let me down. You are comforting, reliable, and tranquil. Cool, even sometimes cold, but always accessible. You can be rather somber, and feeling blue means to feel sad, and yet the term “blue-blooded” means you are aristocratic. So cheer up, blue, you’re rich and important, and everybody likes you.

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Am I a bitch?

I’ve already explored whether or not I’m a hater and concluded that I must be an asshole if people perceive me as such. So I’m certainly a bitch in the sense that people have called me a bitch, and many people think of me as a cold-hearted Wednesday Addams type.

But is it fair to refer to me as a bitch? What have I done that is so bitchy? What does bitch even mean? Literally it means a female dog, and apparently, back in the 14th century, it meant a woman with high sexual desire, as in a “bitch in heat”. Today it tends to be used as an all purpose insult for women. Any woman who is bossy, or uppity, or assertive, or daring to behave in ways that are traditionally considered masculine, is called a bitch. And those sexist connotations are why I take such issue with the word. Calling a woman a bitch means she’s acting like a man in a way that is unacceptable in mainstream society, and calling a man a bitch is calling him a woman, which is, of course, the gravest of insults.

So I do bristle when I’m called a bitch, even if it’s usually meant jokingly, perhaps because it is meant jokingly. Why is it funny to call a woman a bitch? But there’s also a part of me that embraces the label, as many feminists do, in a “taking it back” kind of way, because a bitch is a woman in control of her life, and bitches get stuff done.

But there’s also the concern that people are calling me a bitch because they think I’m mean. As I’ve discussed, I often come across more negatively than I intend. But once again, I’m forced to wonder if a man behaving in similar ways would be judged so harshly for such behaviour. When a man acts dismissively, it’s the other person’s fault for wasting his time, but when I do it I’m not being open to other people’s opinions. When a man looks at his phone instead of chatting with people, he’s considered busy, but when I do it I’m unfriendly. Could I stand to be more empathetic to others? Sure. But so could most men who have swallowed our society’s programming on how to be successfully male. Why don’t we have a nasty word for men who are bossy, assertive, aggressive, dismissive, and unfriendly? I guess there’s the word “dick”, which is often used as an insult towards men. And that word is indeed problematic because it implies that penises are inherently bad. I take similar issue with the word “cunt” being used as an insult. And I’m especially offended by the word “pussy” being used to mean weak, while “balls” denote courage. How does that make sense? When men are kicked in the testicles they act as though the world has ended, while vaginas regularly excrete one’s uterine lining in a rather painful process, and women just get on with it. And yet women are the weak ones? Ridiculous.

Now allow me to return to the word “bitch”, and its casual overuse. I especially hate the insult “son of a bitch” because it doesn’t insult the person it’s meant to be insulting. Instead it insults his mother. I still, for reasons we won’t go into here, watch Supernatural, even though it is deeply problematic in its treatment of both women and men (I think largely due to poor writing resulting from ignorant sexism, rather than malevolent misogyny), but they throw around the term “son of a bitch” like it’s a meaningless adjective. But it’s a very loaded term. It implies that the person at fault is the mother of the villain, rather than the villain himself. It lets men off the hook entirely and places all blame on women. If you think I’m overeating to a simple word, then you’ve probably used that word before, without fully considering how hurtful it can be. Or you knew exactly how hurtful it would be and your intention was to hurt, in which case you’re the bitch big ol’ meany pants.

 

*I rarely get political but I’m just going to add on this footnote: This post seems especially relevant in the wake of Hitler’s Trump’s win of the US presidential election. Is a demagogue really more acceptable to Americans than an authoritative woman? I agree with Danielle Moodie-Mills that this election is proof of white supremacy’s last stand, but I think she underestimates how much misogyny also played a part in America’s choice.

Turquoise & Teal

Turquoise is both a gemstone and a colour, with the latter named after the former. As a colour, it is a mixture of blue and green and to my eyes has always veered more towards blue. In fact, I’ve just now looked it up and according to the internet turquoise is 70% blue and 30% green. Teal is a colour named after a bird, which is also a mix of blue and green, and to my eyes it skews green. I love all colours, but if forced to choose a favourite I would definitely choose something in the turquoise/teal range. Interestingly, I’ve just read the symbology of turquoise and in some parts it reads like a description of my personality, although I suppose one could read such a thing into any colour’s meaning, the same way we all manage to find ourselves perfectly described by our horoscopes.

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But why, you might ask, in my Colour Theory colour wheel am I introducing an entire colour board for an in-between colour? Is it simply because this shade is my fave? No, in truth, it’s all because of this dress.

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I see this dress as green. It’s not even ambiguously teal to me. It’s straight up green. But everyone else who’s ever noted the dress has called it blue, and this has always thrown me for a loop. Yes, I suppose it technically falls into the turquoise spectrum but come on, it’s really more green than blue, isn’t it? To take this picture I stood in front of a wall that to my eyes is definitively in the blue range of turquoise, but once the green dress and the blue wall are right next to each other, they appear pretty much the same. Forced to confront the subjectivity of colour perception, I’ve decided turquoise/teal deserve separate representation from both blue and green.

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As I carried on with my colour board photo shoots, I took great care to separate out the turquoise items in my home from the blue, but of course, colour is a spectrum, and I found several things that could skew either way. Do you agree with my choices? Is everything in this board truly turquoise, or do you see anything here as blue, or even perhaps, as green? And what of the dress above? What colour is it, to your eyes?

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Usually the paintings depicted in Colour Theory are my own, but quick shout out to my friend Caroline Ostiguy, who painted the painting above (the pic to the left is a closeup of a larger piece).