I’ve been gently teased by my friends throughout the last year or so for pretty much only wearing one color. My outfits, sleepwear, party attire, and even swimsuit fall somewhere along the line of a cream to a dark chocolate color. I call it “The Brown Scale.” When I went to Japan to study abroad, one of my first Japanese friends said “キャロ、茶色が大好きだね。(Kyaro, you really love brown, huh?)” And it’s true. I was wearing a brown skirt, my backpack was brown, all of my notebooks and pens and highlighters were various shades of beige and mahogany and oak. But why?
Well, the first and most obvious reason is that I love the color. I’ve always felt strongly about my favorite colors throughout the years. When I was in high school it was royal purple. I knew the history of how purplish-indigo dye used to be gathered. I would purchase items mostly in the purple I liked, or in complementary colors. When I was in middle school, it was pink. My friends’ favorite colors were very important to younger me as well. I held strong associations of color when it came to my friends and family. Brown is a color that makes me feel grounded, that makes me happy when I see it in everyday life. It’s the color of things I love, like coffee, chocolate, and bookshelves.
Another reason, and the reason why recently my fixation on the color brown has been so consistent, is my OCD diagnosis. OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a disorder characterized by intrusive (or obsessive) thoughts that are “solved” by specific actions taken by the person with OCD. Recently, I discovered that I can redirect some of my obsessive tendencies. I can expend energy worrying over my fears, or I can spend time obsessing over making sure every last sticker in my planner is a gentle umber color. One of those is far less damaging to my mental health than the other (though perhaps, it’s more damaging to my wallet).
And lastly, it’s really not just the color. I feel like the people who know me as “the person who always wears brown” are picking up the most obvious thing about my appearance, but it’s not everything. It’s about the whole aesthetic. It’s about feeling cohesive. There’s no easier way for me to feel better in my everyday life than dressing to impress, than feeling like my school materials match, than feeling put together and ready to tackle the day. It makes me laugh when my one friend says “You’re so light academia today,” but that’s the whole point. I want to cultivate an aesthetic and an image that is consistent, and reliable, not just for those around me, but also for myself.
So if you have a favorite color you obsess over, or a drink you drink each morning, or a particular style of shoes you wear, keep doing that. If it’s not hurting anyone, and it makes you feel good, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Small favorites can really make your whole day.