If you ever see a dog with a yellow ribbon on its leash, give it some space. Perhaps it was traumatized, or perhaps its old and sick, but no matter the reason, if you see a yellow ribbon on the dog’s leash, give him a little space. He needs fresh air and sunshine, but for whatever reason, he’s not likely to enjoy the head pats you want to give him. He can’t tell you himself, so the yellow ribbon is a message so the owner doesn’t have to be quite so diligent in protecting the dog’s boundaries.
Sometimes I wish we humans had signals that we could wear, too.
Some days I’m really, really super happy. When I’m super happy, I wear pink. Pink has become my favorite color. If you want someone to sing show tunes with you on the walkway between the office building and the courthouse and I’m wearing one of my pink blazers, you can bet I’m game. If I’m wearing pink, and you need cheering up, I have extra smiles to give away that day. I’ll listen to your worst jokes and laugh. Sometimes I’ll even wear my pink raincoat. Not even the rain can bring me down when I’m wearing my pink raincoat and carrying my rainbow umbrella.
I’m not always happy. I try my very best to keep a smile on my face, but sometimes I’m really sad and my heart hurts. I don’t have a dress code for sad, but I suppose if I’m wearing my green blazer (the drab one – not the lime green leather one with ruffles), I’m probably somewhere on the sad end of the spectrum.
In centuries past, we wore black to show that we were in mourning. A widow grived anywhere from a year and a day to two and a half years! Black was the color of mourning. I gave that some thought this morning. I thought perhaps that wearing the black was to remind people that you had suffered a loss – to remind them to give you some space, but it seems that perhaps it was to keep the grieving widow from finding her happiness too quickly.
I’m not very good at asking for what I need from other people. I’m not quick to say, “I’m hurting today,” or “I can’t believe my good fortune today, I want to celebrate!” Sometimes I wish I could let people know how I feel just by choosing a shirt.
Imagine if a gray tie / shirt / jacket meant, “I’m really busy today. I wish I had time to chat, but I really need to get this project done,” and people would just smile and nod and let you get your work done without feeling badly.
Perhaps a blue dress / scarf / blouse would mean, “I’m feeling blue – I’m in need of a little cheering up,” and people would stop by my door just to check in. Perhaps they’d touch my shoulder when they talk to me, or drop a chocolate heart on my chair when I’m away from my desk.
Revisiting that “wearing black for mourning” might not be a bad thing. My mom has been gone for two years now. During those first months, there were days I couldn’t talk about anyone’s mom – or about death – or anything that reminded me of Mom, or death, or loss. I couldn’t communicate the need that I had on those days to talk about something else – anything else. I didn’t want people to stay away. I just wanted them to know that if they saw tears rolling down my face for no discernable reason, then maybe then could just hold some space for me. It’s hard to tell people, “I really, really want some company, but I cry when anything at all reminds me of my mom.”
Purple could be for problems we’d rather not discuss. Oh, dear. I think I’d run out of colors well before I run out of emotions.
I’ll still wear pink when I’m happy, but sometimes I cry a little on my way to work. Life’s complicated sometimes.