I painted my bedroom walls red last week. Gypsy Red. Actually I didn’t do the painting. I hired a painter, because my husband forbids me to lift a paint brush after the fiasco in 2001 when I spilt a gallon of trim paint on the carpet. (At least it was latex, and white, unlike the prior trim that was cotton candy pink. What was I thinking? But that was in 1996 and the era of mauve and teal.)
(I say “the husband” because they have never crossed paths. This multiday house painting project has been between Bill and me. And the three cats who skulk around the house while he works.) His tone hinted of fear that my husband might have had a negative reaction and considered the painter and I in cahoots to coat my most private walls crimson. I also got the impression my painter didn’t paint many bedrooms red.)
“He never says much but if he hated it I’d know,” I said – the truth, for anyone who knows my husband. “But I think it gives the room great character. I think it is perfect.” For those wondering the red is growing on Shawn.
Everyone needs their own red wall. My red wall speaks to my Id- for those who didn’t study psychology, the instinctive, brash essence of your persona where passion dwells. The part that is unconventional. The part that the superego and ego do their darnedest to tamp down.
Everything is a system and we live exist in every one. Political, church, workplace, family, each with its own structure, accepted behaviors, processes, and connectivity. “Get” the system and you will get by. There is scant demand for Gypsy Red walls in most systems. Accessible Beige (the color of my living room) is more apropos. We clamor for individualism but gravitate toward conformity and uniformity. It is safer. It pays the bills. It makes people like us. But do we end up still liking ourselves?
I struggle with exhibiting my personal propensities and keep them deftly concealed, popping out in metered dosages to gauge their reception. Right now that is subtly displayed with daily choice quotes or infographics on my office whiteboard that express my distinct self – and a means to spark conversation.
Years ago I spent a few weeks reading Atlas Shrugged over my lunch hour, posing the dense book on the corner of my desk as a potential dialogue starter. Those who “got it” would often give me a conniving smile. I am an ardent advocate of free ideas and free speech. I am foremost a free agent, a Creative (or in Ayn Rand’s world, a producer). And what and whom I create for is my own choosing. That is a powerful concept and a potential threat, a kink if you will, to an organized system. Call it Creative Kink.
One of my favorite songs that always grounds me is Dave Matthews’ “Ants Marching.” It is a song devious deejays tend to play during rush hour:
When all the little ants are marching
Red and black antennas waving
we all do it the same
we all do it the same way …
If I am ever to be on par with an insect, please let it be a red beetle...