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 48+ 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