I grew up to beige. Everywhere my mother and I went in our sojourn of shelter was beige. Chicago was beige. Atlanta was beige, when I travel it’s always been beige.* Lead beige, latex beige, low emission beige, cheap beige, always beige, beige painted on top of beige. A color so prevalent that institutions and residences alike use the color; it’s neutral, have them tell you.
I should have known something was wrong with my first marriage when She Who Still Has My Last Name (Why I don’t know?) said “We need to repaint the living room.” So we went and got paint samples, she deliberated for two weeks and then picked the color. Another week passed by, and then we prepped the room and began painting. Soon after starting She Who Still Has My Last Name (Why I don’t know?) feigned an injury, left me to do the work on my own and when the paint dried we realized it was the exact same color; no shit. Who repaints beige to beige?
Beige has always left me wanting…
Anytime I’ve ever suggested white to people they’ve recoiled. The only time I’ve been inside of houses that were painted white,I could best be described as being in the role of “The help.” White is an absence of color that I have always associated with peacefulness, wealth, art & museums. I was a little black kid raised on the south side of Chicago; my mom wouldn’t even let me have white tennis shoes “You’ll dirty them up” she’d say. White makes me feel at peace, but it also makes me obsess over dirt. When i'm relaxed though I somehow feel a stillness that I’ve never felt in beige surroundings.
*When I spoke to the love of my life about painting our house white, she politely reminded me that we have two kids.
White can admittedly feel unsettling and stark. You can’t live in white, you must live with white, there is a difference.