“You know, Orange is not your color.”
I was caught completely off-guard. She was one of my favorite teachers in college and we would occasionally small talk after class, but she had never interrupted me to talk about what I was wearing.
I tried to laugh off her comment, but she shook her head, insistently, “No Courtney, you do not look good in orange.”
It’s amazing how one comment can build someone up, or plant a seed of insecurity. That comment stuck with me for days… I even mentioned it to a friend, “She told me ‘orange isn’t your color’…can you believe that?” My friend piped in, “Well, yeah. Orange doesn’t look great on your skin tone. Orange and yellow.”
Kiss. Of. Death.
I might as well have been told that I was walking around with a huge scarlet U on me. I had been told from TWO people that I was basically ugly wearing a quarter of the color spectrum and that was all the incentive I needed— I went through my whole wardrobe and got rid of anything that was yellow or orange. Period.
But let’s take a short walk down memory lane……
College Courtney was a bit of a paradox. I double majored in Music and Theatre and even though I had a lot of friends, college was one of the loneliest times of my life. I was surrounded by extremes and didn’t fit into any of them. I wanted to fit in with my Theatre major friends, but I just couldn’t compete with them… I was talented, but not competitive. I hated to audition. I didn’t drink or do drugs. I would go to their parties and just drift, aimlessly from room to room. They were funny and witty and always had a fast comeback. I learned to be very sarcastic, which unfortunately led most people to think I was a total bi-atch. I was also a Youth Leader and Praise and Worship leader at my church… and as you can imagine, those two did not mix well.
Ben, my husband, was a theatre major with me and we were friends for about 3 years in college, so I asked for his honest appraisal of me while we were in college. He told me that he always thought I was cute and funny, but I always seemed to be sarcastic and moody. He also emphasized SEVERAL times how beautiful I was and still am. 🙂 He’s a keeper!!
I feel like I could literally write a novel about my college experience, my insecurities, my downfalls… but it would be a gloomy novel and it’s not an era of my life I like to dwell in. I actually still get anxiety, thinking about it.
Life continued – my life continued. I made a few mistakes but I also made some good decisions. I became stronger. I married the wrong man, but I also had the courage to end it. I chose to create things instead of being self-destructive. I stepped outside my comfort zone with jobs. I moved. I did the best I could. And slowly but surely, I found my own voice and my own personality. I found that I had worth and beauty. I found that I was strong and that my opinion mattered, even if it wasn’t the same opinion as everyone else.
I don’t remember when I started buying orange clothes again, but a few weeks ago I looked in my color-coordinated closet (yeah, I know… nerd alert) and smiled to myself. It took me almost 10 years to include orange back in the my wardrobe (which is a SHAME, because I loooooove coral) but you know what? I’ll wear the colors I WANT to wear. I began to realize that the only reason my teachers opinion mattered at all, was because I let it. I let her comment affect my confidence and my whole wardrobe!
Our lives are too short to be concerned about silly things. I may not be over all of my issues but there are small victories everyday that I can take pride in. Little steps that make me feel empowered. Take pride in yourself and know that you are beautiful. Fly your personal “freak flag”. Enjoy the little things that make you uniquely you.
And I, for one, will always wear orange.
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