All the Colors
The other day, someone told me: “Everyone at Cornell dresses the same.” In the morning, we wake up and, like ducklings in a row, march to class. There’s always someone faster who restlessly speed-walks around me and someone slower who I always manage to get stuck behind in pedestrian traffic. But I wonder if someone saw us, would we all look the same? All in some combination of a T-shirt and jeans. I see a few anomalies: a group of penguins in their suit and tie, next to zombies who just rolled out of bed, chilling in the classic sweatpants choice. Overall, though, few deviate from the safe choice of shirt, jeans, and sneakers.
At least that’s what I believed in winter (i.e. last week during that snowstorm in mid-April), but now the sun’s come out. These blissful days, sundresses, shorts, and sandals are out in the open, magically retrieved from the abyss in our closets. Of course, Adidas Superstar and monochrome T-shirts are go-to’s, but there’s so much more. Sprawled out on the arts quad and soaking up the sun, I see people in baseball caps, khaki shorts, round sunglasses, and midi dresses. I see geometric and abstract patterns, but also vibrant solid colors. I see maroons, cerulean blues, neon greens, and peachy pinks.
I see all the colors.
RED: Red’s the color of strawberry fields and rosy cheeks. It’s the color of freshly spread jam, sangria, autumn leaves, and roses. When I think of Red, I imagine a little black dress and grungy flannel, paired with fishnet socks and Dr. Marten’s. To me, Red is the girl who’s never without her Lokai Bracelet, containing elements from Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, and the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. She’s a photographer and a visionary. My memories of Red are ditching class and driving ‘round after curfew, blasting rap and pop music. Sriracha and burritos are her best friends. She’s social and a bit of a flake, but I love her anyway. Red’s a fire and a feeling of love and passion. She’s bold, brave, and brilliant.
ORANGE: Orange is underrated. It’s the color of beloved apple cider, baked sweet potatoes, and goldfish. It’s as sweet as tangerines but majestic and wild like tiger. Orange complements blue. He wipes away the sad and loves human beings and nature with every fiber in his being. He’s an artist who carries an orange Hydro flask covered by stickers supporting environmental and LGBTQ+ movements, and he wears so much Patagonia that he might as well sponsor them. Ultimately, I know he’ll be the first one to see through my mask, for his heart breaks for the suffering.
YELLOW: There’s no better reason to love yellow than it’s the color of sunshine. It’s tropical and earthy, tinting pineapples, canaries, bumblebees, and dandelions. The boy who’s like sunshine wears dapper sweater pullovers and collared shirts. He sports all-white sneakers everyday but only because he’s worn out the rest of his other casual shoes. Not only does he look smart, he is. He knows everything, from the stars and bars method to the fact that bananas are curved because they grow toward the sun. Plus, he’s never lost a game of Bananagrams. Having mastered the art of timing, he’s hilarious and knows how to ensure everyone around him has a good time. Yellow is the color of sunshine, humor, and happiness.
GREEN: I’m so lucky to have green in my life. It’s a four-leaf-clover, mint, an emerald. Green makes me picture the girl who loves pistachio macaroons and wears a turtle-shell backpack. Together, we eat late-night cookie dough and have deep talks. Most of the time, she wears the same sweatshirt, Chelsea boots, and her grandmother’s necklace. Casual and affordable are all she knows, but she’s a beauty in everything she wears. Her laugh is as carefree and natural as pine trees and blades of grass.
BLUE: Blue is beautiful like the Aegean Sea and the sky on a cloudless day. A girl who dresses in blue is cool enough to rock denim on denim: a Sherpa trucker jacket and ripped boyfriend jeans. Even though there’s something about her that’s blue, she tries to make the world around her to smile. She brought me chocolates and tea from India when I was awfully sick, and I know I can call her when it’s 2am and I need someone to talk to. She’s always down to split blue raspberry ice cream and take spontaneous trips to the beach, where we’ll gaze out at the blue ocean and watch color burst into the sky at sunset.
It was Maya Angelou who said, at the end of the day, you’ll be remembered for how you made others feel. Every color is the way someone made me feel, what it’s like to be with them whether we’re driving on the freeway with the windows down or drinking hot chocolate after a prelim. No color is quite like another, nor do any of them dress the same. After a late night, we might all roll up in joggers the next morning, and jeans will forever be a favorite. We’re tied together in these ways, but ultimately, each of us has our own style. Everyone is their own individual, shining through their appearance and everything they do. The colors and clothes we wear is just another way we express ourselves.
Now, when my friend explained to me that everyone at Cornell dressed the same, he meant most people dress awfully similar. At the time, we were sitting at the top of the Slope, so he pointed out the other students around us. They were all wearing a shirt and jeans with a black winter coat. There was a lack of creativity, of self-expression. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter what you wear, whether you blend in or stand. It wouldn’t hurt to sprinkle in a few unique, risk-taking outfits here and there. But at the end of the day, you are how you make others feel. When I look at someone I know, I don’t see what they’re wearing. I see an explosion of color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. I see passion, empathy, sunshine, humor, beauty and kindness. I see good times spent together and what they mean to me.
I see all the colors. And damn are they beautiful.
[Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is NOT purely coincidental. These are all based on the people that color my life. I pray your life is painted by the same colors, beautiful and unique in their own shades and qualities]