May. 21st, 2017

flexagon: (blue)
Topic that came up with therapist lately, and which could turn into an essay or more structured musing at some point: my mother has always been disappointed in me for not being more into color. Or possibly disappointed for me that I haven't gotten into it... either way, it's especially about colorful clothing. This goes back to at least college:
  • One time when she visited, and said aloud something like "I thought you'd stopped wearing black so much, until I saw you fold your laundry".

  • Just over a year ago I dressed up as Kimmy Schmidt (this outfit) for Halloween. Her response was "Hallelujah, you've discovered color! :-)" Later she laughed about the moment when she realized it was a costume.


Unfortunately for her, my tolerance for color in clothing has taken a nosedive in the last two years, right along with my tolerance for scratchy clothing tags and seams. I haven't talked to her about this but, at some point, I should. And what I should tell her is: bright colors sap my energy and make me tired. She might not realize this, given how long it took me to realize it myself, and therefore might not ACTUALLY be wishing that I'd annoy myself all day more often. :P

I've heard her use the term "feasting one's eyes". Maybe she needs to know that eyes can be force-fed, too.

Anyway, we became curious whether this is a common sensory processing thing, related to the aspie/autism spectrum, and yesterday I did a few searches. Sure enough. Not always, but sometimes, and the specific colors that kids with sensory issues like are the ones that I have always liked. I found a lot, but here are just two quotes.

  • From here, autism parenting magazine: "Reds, oranges, yellows and white are over stimulating and can be highly disturbing, whereas blues, greens, purples, browns and black are soothing and comforting. We educate parents, family members and caregivers to not only be aware of the colors that surround the children, but also what people wear around sensory kids..."

  • From here, "Children with sensory issues typically like muted tones of blue and green, This is according to the research of Rogers, J., & Short, J., in "Sensory Differences: Online Training Module," for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. These colors have shorter wavelengths than brighter colors and thus do not create as much stimulation in the brain."


Intriguingly, this all led to a good discussion with [personal profile] heisenbug about how he doesn't like bright lipstick. Somewhere in a tab that I closed was, indeed, a story about a boy who loved his aunt but wouldn't greet her on the days when she wore red lipstick... the contrast with pale skin, apparently, is part of it for the bug, along with the idea that the bright unnatural ick might smear onto one. That, in turn, led me to something else the smithy proprietor talked about, "the hand of the eye", and how we can be displeased by something that looks bad to touch even if we're not planning to touch it.

I still like lipstick, but I don't feel so bad anymore about the mom thing. And I got lucky when it comes to palettes, really: there's good overlap between what I like and what looks good on me. If I were black and looked fantastic in bright orange, that'd cause some terribly interesting tug-of-war between vanity and tranquillity.

Only in this moment did I realize that when I changed my last name in my early 20s, I chose a color and it's arguably the most neutral of them all... laughing as I post this.

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