My blogging life began on the now-defunct Multiply.com, where I went through a phase of posting personality questionnaires and quizzes. There’s one still imprinted on my memory: what color is your heart?
Mine, allegedly, was blue. Something about sentimentality and generosity. I don’t recall in full, but I remember that it was blue.
There’s no telling why I loved it immediately – blue, the hue of sadness, a sixth-grade code name for a boy, a feeling I would come to befriend. I never particularly liked the color but I wholeheartedly and unhesitatingly invited an algorithm to dictate my personality to me.
My heart had thenceforth been the color blue.
Around that same era, I turned my chat messenger status into a question for a while: what color am I? And because the world was small and friendships were easy, the answers came pouring in: powder blue, baby pink, chrysanthemum yellow, apple green.
It was my profile description for a while, a list of colors with little context and much meaning. I was too young to know what semantics was, but I allowed it nonetheless to tell me who I was.
Then it happened, the year of winter and the year of M. The year I started collecting receipts, the year I kept needing proof that all of it was real. That I had been places and seen certain days.
And so I did what any girl on the verge of disappearing would do. I asked the boy that was my would-be ghost, “What color am I?”
He looked at me for days, told me he didn’t know its name, told me it was a color that moved. Like a nebula. Later, on that very same desk where we played make-believe, he told me he finally found its name. He said I was the color opal.
I stopped asking anybody the question ever since because curiosity tends to die after somebody calls you iridescent.
Fast forward some eight or nine years, I am more haunted by blue than I am by opal. I have amethysts and an angel aura quartz that looks like it trapped a rainbow. I dress in beiges and blacks, and my paintings are always brighter than I need them to be.
I cannot bring myself to want the color blue the way I did before.
It looks like jeans that do not fit or achievements I did not win. It reminds me of people that made me almost disappear, weddings that could have been, and watercolors I still have not learned to paint with.
It is the color the sky should be, but isn’t. It is the universe I should be, but am not. It is the heart – a generous, still, and romantic heart – that I thought had, but don’t. It reminds me that all I am is coolly quiet, unmagnificently dark, and perpetually blue.
It reminds me that I am not opal.
I paint my nails iridescent, but my heart is always blue.