I’ve recently had to admit I’ve been mostly hiding in black clothing for the past few years: black leggings, hoodies, t-shirts, shoes and purses. Black had become my go-to neutral. It wasn’t always this way. As I review my journey with color and the clothes that went with them, I realize it reflected my stage in life.
High school was full of black and baggy clothes as I tried to process childhood trauma. Early in my corporate career, I wore fitted business suits in just about every color of the rainbow: bright yellow, lime green, magenta, pumpkin, brown, buttery beige and black pinstripes. After my daughter was born in 2000, I opened a women’s fitness center franchise and wore comfy, muted tracksuits – prepared for working out, cleaning up, looking the part and motherhood.
When I started in finance, I was back in corporate suits, this time with less color: mostly black, grays, beiges and browns. When I moved to the banking sector, the uniform got even more constrained with simple black, navy or gray suits.
I was barely in that container at all. There was nearly no “me” left.
Toni Morrison said, “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
When I started working for myself, I had to figure out what to wear. I only knew variations of the corporate uniform. I was having fun with harem pants… then the pandemic hit. I was home alone in yoga pants and hoodies on my best days and pajamas on many others. Now, I’m a happiness expert and Chief Happiness Officer of my own company, so what’s the uniform?
As Black women, sometimes we’re so good at the struggle, we don’t know how to arrive. In other words, I’m free now, so exactly what am I gonna do with my freed self?
The colors we wear tell a story.
They may say we’re bold or daring. They may say we are part of a team. They may say we are in mourning or we don’t want to be noticed.
The colors we see impact our emotions.
They may be breathtakingly beautiful like a sunset, dazzling like a clear blue sky, or entrancing like the golden glow of a harvest moon.
Colors have meaning.
I realize black clothes allow me to hide. Plus they’re slimming and practical, right?
It’s made me think about other ways women hide: sometimes we don’t say what we mean or ask for what we really want. Sometimes we simmer in self-doubt or don’t feel deserving.
Today, I encourage you to flip through the colors in your life. Notice how they make you feel. And, ask yourself the question, Am I hiding?
If the answer is yes, ask, What am I hiding from?
When loving, creative and intelligent people hide, the global community is destined for failure. We see it in the current global conditions, from environmental destruction to the wealth gap and from war to poverty. I want you to join me out of the shadows and step into your life with both feet, a big heart and full color.
Let’s do this together.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is that beautiful Toni Morrison quote. She’s such an inspiration. If you find yourself wanting to step into life more fully and completely as your best self, I encourage you to join me for my Black Vegan Life™ Women’s Day Retreat on Sunday, May 30. We will relax, rejuvenate and step into our lives in full color.