Don’t be beige.
I scribbled the words excitedly in my journal like a 15 year old writing about her new crush. So profound. Or was it? I can never tell if these thoughts that occur to me in the shower, or while driving around town, or while I’m half-watching Law & Order: SVU and half-making an imaginary grocery list. (Does anyone else do that? I’d imagine it’s a normal part of life as a mom/household manager/toddler wrangler.)
Anyway… beige. The walls in our apartment are beige. I don’t mind it. It’s not particularly exciting, but it’s fine. Beige is a neutral – one of the blending colors. It’s a color that allows all the other decor to be seen. Beige is a good background because it isn’t memorable or noticeable. It does not stand out.
Don’t be beige is my new motto. So what exactly do I mean when I say, “don’t be beige”?
I mean show yourself. Reveal who you are. Don’t be afraid to live your life at full volume because you think someone else won’t like your song. In order to live a fulfilled life, you need to in full glory and magnificence, without any care for what anyone else thinks.
I think that people are comfortable being beige. Beige isn’t scary. I get that. They feel beige is safe. It’s polite. It doesn’t offend. I tried to be beige, I tried to please people, tried to blend, tried to step back so others could have the attention. While blending in and being beige may make others comfortable, ultimately living life this way ends in disappointment and regret.
Two major things I noticed while I was consciously camouflaging myself:
- There is no benefit to me. – I gained nothing from stepping back, dimming my own light or quieting my passion. Literally nothing good comes from silencing my voice so that someone else can speak. I get no life experience, meet no new people, and receive no praise because no one sees me. And ironically trying to please others didn’t make them like me more ore less.
- There is no benefit to others. – The people who shine do that because of who they are. Colorful, magnetic, fun, talented. My beige-ness didn’t accentuate them. It only hid me. Worse, being beige causes me to miss out on contributing to the world in a way that only I can.
When I realized I wasn’t being my authentic self, I made a choice to be more colorful. I spoke up when I felt passionate. I accepted invitations to parties. I wore the sexy dress without worrying what someone else might think. Creatively, I have so much to give, and expressing that through writing, podcasting, and other venues allows me to contribute something tangible to the world. My kids see me being silly and it shows them that they can be silly too. I follow my own rules and beat my own drum and in the same way, peers and friends hear me telling my story and they are emboldened to tell their own. It’s a beautiful domino effect.
These days, I have renovated my soul. There is no beige. I am memorable. I stand out. I am not a neutral, because I have a voice and I’m not afraid to be seen, and my home – and my whole world – is so much more colorful.