Color Me Badd
By: Peggy Willms
(6 min read)
Perhaps you remember the band Color Me Badd – you know, “Tick Tock you don’t stop to the heart Tick Tock you don’t stop…” Okay, if you don’t, here is a quick brush-up. Four Oklahoma City R&B dudes popped onto the scene in 1985, screeching how they wanted to sex us up. Did you know they are still around? They took a hiatus for about a decade in the early 2000’s, but the Grammy winners are still harmonizing.
What does this have to do with anything I am chit-chatting about today – pretty much nothing except I am into colors. When I decided I wanted to blog about colors today, the band just flickered into my brain.
I coach multiple theme-based, virtual group series. I kick off each session a bit differently. I might start with 1) an intention 2) a breathing exercise 3) asking participants to run around their home or office and get an object that might remind them of why they have a particular goal 4) ask them to share a geographic scene that best represents their emotion for the day or perhaps 5) select an animal that matches their attitude in the moment. Lately, I am using colors.
Colors are interesting to me. I love them. So much so…I never have a straight answer when asked what my favorite color is? I have colors I favor, but the front-runner changes. For instance, I wouldn’t pick brown or gray as a fav, but I would have a preferred shade if ask what type of brown I like, or on some days, I might feel a bit brown or gray. It could be a day I love purple or a day I grab a bright orange blouse and think, “Damn, girl, why don’t you wear this color every day?” Does that then mean orange is my favorite color? No, but I have a piece of coral I love, and peaches remind me of my favorite pie. Oh, and orange reminds me of the Broncos. See, colors are not so straightforward.
I do know every time I ask my clients at the beginning of a session what color they are feeling, those who share a “dark, dreary” color jump by the end of the session to what some consider brighter colors. Their mood changed, or their minds became distracted from the source of their angst when we started our session. One hundred percent of the colors change from beginning to end one way or another.
If Jenna is feeling a blue shade, she may either change a tad or jack on up to yellow. I mean I have to give myself some credit and, of course, credit to the other participants. We have fun, learn lots, and I don’t think anyone leaves a session less motivated. There are times when someone might feel challenged, but they don’t leave a negative gray or black.
This week I went deeper and challenged the group further.
Jenna stated blue was the color she was feeling. She appeared happy and calm. I asked her, what shade of blue she was seeing or feeling such as cobalt blue, powder blue, or a baby blue? Her eyelids twerked – like a huh? Can eyelids twerk?
She responded, “I don’t know.” I responded with, “What shade of blue: light, medium, or dark blue are you feeling or seeing? She held a pause. I continued, “Like an ocean, a bluebird, your mother’s favorite sweater?” I had a point. I told her to sit in it for a minute.
Onto Elsa. “Girl, what color are you feeling or seeing today?” Her response was green. Here we go again. “Are you seeing an emerald, maybe a lime or an evergreen tree?” She quickly stated, just green. I paused again. No joke – I counted the seconds. At five seconds, she belted: “LIME.”
I asked, why a lime? “I remembered a favorite adventure with my husband…we drank way too many margaritas.” If I hadn’t pressed her, she may have swayed to a different shade of green such as a memory of sitting on a mountaintop looking over a Vermont field blanketed with poplars.
I should have given you a heads-up. This particular group may have been a bit tired. There were 11 in the group, and I was headed to the third person, and no one had caught on to my little game. So here we go again.
“Lydia, close your eyes and tell me what color you are seeing or feeling?” The answer came rapid fire, “Red.” I quickly replied, “Whoa. Fire-engine, Hot Tamale or pissed-off red?” “No, I am not pissed off. I had an apple before class.” She nearly had us all pissing our pants. If any of you have studied the “feelings” and “actions” of colors, red often means “control.” Lydia was in a “move-on-oh-my-God-you-guys-are-killing-me mood.”
See how diving deeper into colors can identify or change emotions, feelings, and memories. Colors can change experiences and interpretations of such. When you go deeper and deeper into the hex color code of a simple shade, it feels different. We can be so simplistic in our answers, yet we are more complex so why not have fun when we can, eh?! I love human behavior.
If you ask someone how they are doing, and they say sad, what if you respond with, “What color is your sad? Is it a deeeeeep navy blue, is your sad a raven black or maybe it is charcoal?” They might think you are cray, but you will learn a bunch, change the mood, and I suspect it will be fun.
Today, I experienced a vast array of colors. I felt navy blue which represented my deep quality sleep last night. I see pink grapefruit when I think about my workload because I am calmly but excitedly working on my To Do list. I saw garnet, which is my birthstone, because I saw earrings on my dresser, and it reminded me of the party when my friend gave them to me.
My point is you cannot always Color Me Badd. My Color Me Badd, may not be your “bad” color. Conversation, by definition, means: talk between two or more people in which news and ideas are exchanged. I challenge your conversations today. Go deeper on the responses you hear. Relate them to color. All energy has color, both physical and non-physical.
Take a deeper dive into this fun color game. It brings a new twist to sharing our experiences, and it changes interpretations. The next time you hear spoken words such as sad, pissed, elated, or depressed, ask what color they are feeling or what shade of an object they are thinking of, and eventually, you get to the experience. NOW THAT IS A FUN CONVERSATION.
I will end with this recent color conversation I had:
Me: “Hey, son, how are you feeling this morning?”
Son: “AHHH, tired.”
Me: “Like what color would be tired for you?
Son: Response with a double eye roll: “Mom, GAWD. I don’t know maybe a tan.”
Me: “Like sand or oatmeal tan?”
Son: “Mom, stop! Just tan.” GIGGLE. I bet he brightened up to pale apricot.
Color Me Yellow at this moment. Between Tuscany Sun Yellow and Honey Yellow. I am super happy, energized, and picturing myself eating a pastry drizzled with honey while sipping a java on a gentle, breezed balcony in a villa in Rome. See, I am really a happy “yellow.”