Learning to Love Yellow
a color I despised since childhood.
I never understood why it was so loud.
I never liked how it would hurt my sleepy eyes
or how it made me nauseous.
I just never liked yellow!
For the longest time,
all I did was look at the things about yellow that I hated.
I only focused on the aspects of yellow that defied me,
and I rarely acknowledged the aspects of yellow which relaxed me
like the Sun which brightened my day and hugged me with its warmth
or, the mustard fields in my Naani’s* farm which dressed our food, or treated ailments
I never looked at the similarities between me and yellow
until one of my best friends taught me to garden for the first time.
I attempted to garden as a child, but I never had a guide to help me understand plants.
I didn’t speak their language.
He helped me patiently listen to what the plants needed and treat them accordingly
he helped me overcome my fears
of misunderstanding the plants’ needs and potentially killing them
and soon I learned to grow bright yellow mustard plants
similar to the ones my Naani grew in her fields.
I never knew I could fall in love with my least favorite color
Just like I never knew I could be productive around people
who rarely shared the same ideologies as me.
As a child,
I spent a lot of time traveling
and never quite felt like I was part of the niche.
I never felt like I had a home,
a familiar place
with people who understood me
and people who I understood.
I always felt like the outsider
because those who were around me were rarely familiar with what I was talking about.
Even though I was a very social child, I felt very disconnected from people.
The older I got, the more I recognized my struggle to articulate my thoughts
in a clear and concise manner.
Sometimes, I couldn’t communicate at all with certain people.
More than that,
I always felt very uncomfortable with myself
because I couldn’t explain myself properly.
That’s the thing I always felt like I was trying to explain more than having a conversation.
But, I always found people like my best friend
who understood even the most disconnected phrases I would say.
They didn’t understand me because we were socially compatible by birth,
they understood me because they actively wanted to communicate with me
My friends always acknowledged me whenever I would retrieve to my cave
They would inquire about how I was feeling
to learn about me, to understand me, to be at home with me
Even though I still struggle to communicate clearly,
I learned that being reluctant about speaking
was my main obstacle.
When I stopped interacting with others because I thought they didn’t understand me,
my world became smaller and smaller.
In reality, I was only the outsider because I was turning others into the outsiders
by focusing on what made them different from me.
But, when I inquired more and exchanged dialogues with those around me,
I discovered, we had many things in common.
I discovered that we all are struggling with something in our lives
and we’re looking for better ways to persevere
Through our interactions,
my friends and I developed better strategies to cope with our challenges.
The more I spoke with different groups of people,
the better my ability to communicate became.
I was learning more about audience,
and my audience was learning more about me.
When it comes coping with the challenges of language differences,
I have found that learning about each others ways of living
makes for a more productive conversation
as opposed to arguing over whose methodologies are better.
Thus, I became compassionate for those I thought were different from me
and began to treat them as humans.
I began to treat myself as a human
I learned to love yellow,
I learned to love others,
and I learned to love myself.
Dedicated to the person who helped me discover the beauty in yellow
*Naani is the Bengali word for maternal grandmother