I have a big family, and I live in a bedroom with my four sisters. There’s not much extra space, but I guess we make it work.
Earlier this year, my younger sister, Anna, suggested we paint the room. Our room has been baby pink for at least a decade, when we added an upstairs to our house. We wanted something a little softer than the hot pink in our old room. Enter, baby pink! It was a really pretty color, exactly what we wanted at the time. But as we grew up many of us had pink bedding, and the invasion continued until an overload of pink choked the room.
Changing the color could really freshen up the room, especially if we chose something other than pink. 😉
A couple months went by after Anna’s suggestion before we finally picked up some samples of the purple-ish grey we wanted. My youngest sister, Julia, prodded me until I found a night after work when we could paint the samples on the walls. After I laid out the tarp and found a spotlight, we each grabbed two brushes and picked two colors, and set to work.
When the paint hits the wall…
We opened the cans and started to paint over the baby pink. The light, serene tones of purple glistened on the walls, we were laughing and chatting, and Anna came up to check on our progress. All of us were excited.
But then something happened I hadn’t prepared for.
I broke down.
Now if you don’t know this about me, let me tell ya: I am (arguably) the most sensitive person in my household. I am voted most likely to cry at random things and the polar opposite to my brother Grandt, who has been known to claim he has no emotions whatsoever.
So the fact that I let tears fall over a few paint strokes might not be that surprising to my siblings.
As much as my family might be prepared though, sometimes my tears can catch me off guard. I really didn’t expect the feelings I was wrestling with inside to bubble up.
But as the paint started to dry, I suddenly realized the significance of my tears. This was my childhood room that I was painting, without my parents’ direct involvement, and once the room was fully painted, we could never go back to pink again. Anna helpfully told me that we could just repaint it, which I claimed was beside the point. Because this was about way more than just pink for me.
What the Pink Signifies
All my life, my parents have loved me, cherished me, did as they thought best to protect me, and I’ve trusted their provision. I have never been too cold to sleep, never worried where my next meal would come from, and never lacked anything I needed. There’s a big part of me that wants to move out, but I’m scared I won’t be able to provide for myself. I picture myself kicked out of my apartment, standing in the rain with a wet carboard box at my feet, the sad evidence of my failure. Pretty depressing, right?
My parents were allowing us to change our room color without their direct supervision. Before, whenever we painted a room in our house, my Mom would lead the project, limiting the risks and bearing the brunt of the work. But that night, she wasn’t there. I still felt if I needed anything I could ask (and I did), but there was a real difference in my parents’ approach this time. I would have to seek their help, as opposed to me helping with a project they were overseeing. By their attitude they showed they weren’t afraid of me screwing up. They trusted me.
I love the new color. Don’t get me wrong. I love it, and I think the elegant hue better suits our season of life right now. But have you ever missed what you had? I’m afraid I’ll miss the pink- the feeling of safety, being provided for, having space to feel, etc. I’m afraid I need those things, and if I move out, I’ll be on my own. I’m terrified I can’t provide for myself. I’m not really sure I’m capable of all that entails. It’s not that I don’t want to move out. I do. I’m just…scared.
My parents showed me that maybe I actually can move out.
I was doing something I’d never done, and they stepped back and showed me I could do it!
Here’s the deal. I’m looking at this calming purple, and it’s so much better than it was before. It wasn’t easy, emotionally or physically, but the “re-branding” of the room turned out beautifully. It’s what we, my sisters and I, need right now. I might not have been ready for moving out, but I surely didn’t seem ready for the new wall color as my tears flowed along with the first few strokes. But I am growing into the new color now, and maybe I’m getting ready for moving out now. And I think I just might be able to do it, too.