Yellow – one of the primary colors. It is one hue; it is a million hues. Pale yellow, the color of silt in China’s River of Life; saffron yellow, the color of Chinese sovereignty for two millennia; tanned yellow, the tint of my skin.
The first day of fourth grade in America, I felt as if I stepped into an aviary full of white birds who chattered in a tongue that I could not comprehend. I began to regret and even resent my parents’ decision in moving here – nothing’s the same! From the hue of their skins and eyes, to their gestures, speech, activities, and even clothes! And so I embarked on an arduous mission toward conformity. In the second week, wearing my first Gap outfit, I strutted into my homeroom, assured that my clothes would garner acceptance and new friends. Instead, come lunchtime, I wandered amongst the throngs waiting for an invitation that never came. Likewise, I remember frantically trying to translate the deluge of English around me, and in turn, haltingly reply.
Puberty splattered crimson pimples on my face and murky shadows on my confidence. My awkwardness intensified as my family, during our first six years in America, moved six times to three cities. But to lessen my parents’ worries, I often hid my frustration. After all their efforts for my happiness, how could I appear otherwise? They also continuously reminded me that indeed one could never change her color. Inversely, the diversity present in the world actually vivifies life.
It was as I settled into my skin that I finally saw beyond the visible colors, to glimpse the vibrancy within. Through clubs, sports, music, and even the simple gestures of caring and community, I began to blend in amongst the colors of my friends. Our conversations flowed easier, and our laughs freer. Through our camaraderie in difficult times or enjoyment in simply being together, their colors began to shift before my eyes – they themselves embodied unique hues, born of a million and one moments in life. By marveling their differences and sharing their similarities, I foster a stronger confidence in myself, assured in my abilities to adapt and thrive. I now heartily appreciate my itinerant years when I have witnessed the true beauty of diversity, embellished by the inimitable colors of life I have beheld along the way.
Striking as a lone color may be, the blending of colors is breathtaking. The harmony of colors inside myself and outside in my environment gives me life. I am one color, I am a million colors: I am the yellow of China, black of certain confidence, the red of dedicated passion, the blue of invariable peace, green of newborn imagination, the pink of brisk youth, the white of hope – a full palette. I dream not of a rainbow, but of a future. Wherever I may wander, I will never be lost.
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