The word “pink” has a special place in my heart. My grandmother Moore called me “Pink Blossom” for years after my birth and into my adolescence. It goes without saying that I was presented into the world with everything “pink,” being the only girl born into my family with 2 older brothers. As I grew into my world I began to choose “pink” as my color of preference. I surrounded myself with “pink” from my bedroom walls to my carpet to my bedspread to my stuffed animals to my clothing to my first lipstick “Pink Cameo.” In middle school I sewed my first ever skirt and cummerbund…it was “pink”. I loved “pink”!
Yet something shifted for me shortly after this time. It was the recognition of a particular picture of myself. It was a portrait of me around the age of 5 where I am wearing a “pink” blouse hand sewn by my grandmother.
This picture hung in the upstairs hallway where I passed by daily going to and from my bedroom. As I grew older into my teen years and beyond I began to have more and more disdain for the little girl in that picture. I couldn’t put my finger on why, I just had snippets of memory surrounded in shame. These included a failed attempt at running away from home and no one came looking for me, to a figure pointing at me because of my failure to measure up, to my tears being laughed at. That little girl’s innocence began to feel immoral…her sweetness pathetic…her pose staged…her grin forced…her eyes distant. Who was she? I began to form judgments about her; I began to ignore her because she had no place in my life and certainly not my in heart. I left her hanging alone on the wall…I left “pink” behind.
Many years were to pass by before I looked at her again. Those years were full of looking at my story and revisiting those events that caused me shame.
I remember the day clearly as I was navigating life in my late 40’s when this picture caught my eye once again. Actually it was the little girl in the “pink” blouse that caused me to stop and to feel my heart skip, as I looked her in the eyes. You see I was making numerous trips up and down the stairs helping my dad pack his car for Florida. It was on one of those trips when I saw her. I decided instantly it was time for me to take her off the wall and give her a place in my heart once again.
Interestingly it felt risky for me to ask my dad for that picture…why? Because he played a significant part in why I felt so much hatred for her, to say nothing of the fact that picture had hung there for over 40 years. So with hesitancy I did ask and he gave me permission to take her off the wall. I did…the bright yellow paint behind the picture gave evidence of my history on that wall. It also spoke of how life had faded and been transformed around me.
Today that portrait has a significance place in my home. I had it enlarged from a 5×7 to 8×11 and have it beautifully framed. I love the fact that God has returned the little girl in “pink” back to me. I recognize her each day as I visit her in my heart. She gets my attention when I feel an urge to avoid my hurt or to silence my voice. I feel her fear in moments of change…I feel her sadness when misunderstood…I feel her loneliness when I buck up.
She is softening me and teaching me kindness. I believe she trusts me not to leave her again.
Yes my heart is open… I see goodness for all of me…I see “Pink Blossom” and remember…smiling!
*This post appeared on Red Tent Living originally on February 7, 2014.
Mary Jane Hamilton is one of our matriarchs, she is a founding regular contributor and has offered us her leadership, wisdom and love from our inception. She has largely retired from writing, but is still very much part of us and we remain deeply grateful for her continued presence in our community.
Mary Jane Hamilton loves her life living on Lake Michigan with her husband of 50+ years. It is her family that brings her the greatest joy especially her 6 grandchildren. MJ readily admits that she adores her dachshunds and rests in the comfort they provide. She smiles at life and “rolls with the punches”. MJ loves Jesus and beauty, MJ loves wind, waves and thunder, MJ loves fashion and good wine, MJ loves…&n
I really, really, really love this…it resonates so with my own story of (finally!) reframing my own “Little Missy.” MJ, you never fail to reach my heart…teaching, writing, in the hallways of The Journey…you are beloved.
Thank you, Melanye…your words to me touch my heart and encourage me on my journey. Keep on, dear one, you are a beloved one as well!
Precious and powerful, Mary Jane. We have all greatly benefited from you finding that little girl.
Thank you, Kay. I so appreciate you and the support you give to RTL. You are a real encouragement to me on my journey.
I remember you as a young girl but now I wonder if I ever really knew the real you. I do however remember the yards and yards of pink petticoats you had and thinking you must be the luckiest girl in the world. However I think as an adult I love you more now for how you have accepted and endured and come full circle. You have done some wonderful things with/in your life and are so brave to share so we can all learn from you and the Dachie on your lap. Thank you for being so open.
Thank you Cookie. It has been wonderful to reconnect with you after all these years. You were so much fun as a kid. I loved your mom and she loved me as I cleaned her kitchen. I believe your parents had the first convertible in Fremont….it was the envy of the town. I love reading your posts. You are. Real encouragement to me. Be safe and stay warm…!
Mary Jane “Pink Blossom” has become such a wonderful part of you! I see her and so love her tenderness.
Than you, Michelle….your kindness always blesses me!
I love this story and this very sweet child. I had to smile as I looked at that photograph and wondered if anyone had even an inkling of how that young girl would grow up to be such a woman of God, one that would go on to impact the hearts of so many others…in a way that only she could. Thank-you-
Thank you Kris….I had no idea of the journey she would take…it has been quite a road to travel. I am glad to be alive and know Jesus and you!
I am a stranger to you. Even so, your story rings true and connects me to the growing tenderness and kindness I am finding. You remind me that this journey is real and precious and filled with others as well; a reminder to be present in the fullness. Thank you.
Hi Elizabeth….I appreciate that you, too, are on a journey. Thank you for your kind words and journeying along with me….stay tuned!
Oh how I love your little self and how thankful I am for a glimpse of her honored on your wall and in your heart. She lives in the twinkle in your eyes when you smile and the deep tenderness with which you love. Thank you for taking her off that wall, enlarging her image, and surrounding her with substance and glory. She deserves every opportunity to bring you joy. Her heart lives so richly in you that she, too, is loved by all who know you. Many hugs and deep love to you! Christine
Ten months before my mother died unexpectedly of cancer, she and my dad gave each of us 5 adult children individual photo albums that captured, as best they could, each of our lives as military brats. Because family was always paramount as our only reliable affirmation, the albums are treasured gifts of memory of both the love shared, as well as the struggles we all endured. When I look at my childhood pictures, I embrace the girl I was, with all her innocence and faith. The night before we vacated our house in Texas, Dad overheard me singing to my transistor radio the Beatles’ song “Yesterday.” He bent over and whispered in my ear, “But I believe in tomorrow.” I never forgot those words, and they have carried me for 50 years. God’s mercies are new every morning.