I think one of the first steps to becoming “worldly” is to learn to appreciate lime green fabric. I’ll be honest, I generally associate lime green with ugly junior high fashions and little else. But then I started noticing how often lime green fabric shows up in the pictures of my friends who have been traveling or who break outside the WASP mold that keeps many of us stuck.
I have a friend who is Cambodian and recently family wedding pictures showed one of the bridal outfits to be lime green. Not lime green accents, but full on, head to toe lime green suit (traditional style) for the groom and full lime green gown (again, traditional Cambodian) for the bride.
When Jesse and I had a family ashabi made, I went to Francis (a local tailor who made Elle’s family ashabi) and handed him a lapa and measurements for a shirt for Jesse. “Take Bubba and add four inches to the length.” The shirt design included a collar in a complementary fabric. I left the choice of that fabric to Francis. When the shirts were delivered to us later that week, I noticed the collar was bright lime green. The fabric iteself is deep red and blue and green. But not lime green. Deep green, like the crayon you used if you were drawing trees in 2nd grade. So, I didn’t really think the choice of collar material was appropriate. But the longer I looked at it, the more it seemed to fit. One stereotype I think you can make about the whole continent (which trust me, you shouldn’t make those stereotypes too much…its a continent, not a country.) is that Africa is bright. There are bright, vibrant colors every where you turn. Kangas in Tanzania, lappas in Sierra Leone, paynes in Ghana, the material is always deep and colorful. Muted, neutral colors are rare. Even the landscape is vibrant. Bright red dirt. Shockingly green trees. Harsh yellow deserts. Africa is vibrant. And the bright lime green seemed to fit.
So I thought about lime green. And how harshly I judged that garish color. And realized, you’ve got to let some new colors into your pallete. What do you gain by sticking to the same tans and greys and purples? There is nothing wrong with these colors, but they never grow dimmer because you’ve added another. We’ve got to embrace the world, in all its vibrancy. Let the lime green mix in with our childhood experiences and grow a little bit more beautiful for that.