My sister loved yellow as a child…I wonder if she still does?
She was much more of a girlie girl than I was, most of the time.
She really loved yellow and everything had to be yellow – even her favourite food, fried eggs, were yellow. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe that’s really why she loved them so much? I don’t know. I didn’t much like fried eggs – we had them for tea all the time or so it seemed – and I didn’t much like yellow either. As she was such a girlie girl, so I saw yellow as a girlie colour and avoided it as much as possible. I thought it a bit insipid, is that ok to admit? Yellow, yuck, what’s the point of yellow, it’s for babies, and made even worse by the fact that when people choose it, it’s quite often because they don’t want to commit to pink or blue, it’s an on the fence colour. Yellow is safe, unthreatening, bland. Bleurgh.
But then I changed my mind, I had a yellow epiphany! Yes really.
I visited a new friend’s house, she had an upstairs flat reached by a stair case with a small window. The whole stairwell was painted in the brightest yellow imaginable, truly nuclear yellow, and the light from the window shone on it and made it seem like it was alive. As a welcome it was incredible…as you ascended the stairs you felt…I’m not sure – like something magical was going to happen. I was so affected by the colour, I was gobsmacked that something could be so yellow and so fabulous, its effect was so lifting. It was a colour onslaught, a revelation. Incredibly, I had all my previous misconceptions of the colour reset by simply walking into someone’s flat. Now I get it, as a colour in the correct tone and saturation it’s alive, it’s magical, fresh and exhilarating. It’s gorgeous, glorious, the colour of sunshine and warmth, and it’s just so goddam pretty. Now I can appreciate it in its many variations, for all the reasons I didn’t realize my sister liked it. The question now is how can I have grown up in the same house as her and not noticed yellow in that light before? How blinkered must I have been?
I find it constantly amazing how a colour and our perception of it can be so tied up in our childhood, that our upbringing can truly affect our choice of colours for the rest of our life.
I think now that yellow might have been tied up in my perceptions of food – if you could taste it, it would be rich and warm, yet somehow the lovely rich coldness of vanilla ice cream matches it even better. I now realize it has so much life, not like a fried egg that’s been sat there for ages because I refused to eat it, and now I have to look at it for hours ‘cos I’m not allowed to leave the table and I have to go without pudding (again) but who cares anyway ‘cos it’s either blancmange – vanilla, natch – or sodding bananas and custard, because of course it’s the seventies. Although incidentally that’s now one of my favourite puddings, perhaps I only discovered comfort food as an adult, as a parent, and now realizing that I’m mourning my own childhood. Oooh, what therapy yellow turned out to be.
I was a bit stuck with the yellow brief but it’s as if I’ve made progress finally by writing about yellow and find that now it’s all unleashed suddenly – so I also find that I’ve made progress on other things that I’ve been putting off for ages. With a spot of colour therapy, I seem to have unlocked something, just in the way that the olfactory sense can bring back your childhood all at once. I can see the yellow colourscape of several years unfolding across my childhood and adolescence. Now I’ve magically unblocked my January block, unleashed my mojo, all due to remembering my childhood perceptions of yellow and my sister. Maybe now what I’ve found is a realization of the fact that my own childhood perceptions are just that – I don’t like or dislike a colour, I just like or dislike it then. I now see that I can unlock my motivation with colour, now why didn’t I already know that?
Maybe I should go back and revisit another favourite of my sister’s?
What else ya got? Oooh Advocat, I could get used to this yellow lark.
Perhaps if I can learn to love yellow, she might learn to love nuts.
Leonie…this one’s for you. I love yellow – there, I said it! You make me think of yellow, and yellow makes me think of you.