flexagon: (blue)
[personal profile] flexagon
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.

Date: 2017-05-22 08:01 pm (UTC)
coraline: (Default)
From: [personal profile] coraline
Huh. I don't really think of myself as anywhere on the spectrum, but bright colors in large quantity definitely... well, they make the inside of my head itch. Makes my mom crazy too :p

Date: 2017-05-22 09:12 pm (UTC)
justplainuniverse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] justplainuniverse
interesting (and yes, weird that your mother cares!). i have noticed lately that if i am wearing an unsaturated pale-ish color on top (like eeyore-blue) and reach for something similarly insipid to wear on bottom (like medium-gray sweatpants) i experience aversion i can only describe as "it's like i don't exist" or "it's like i'll just disappear." i love wearing certain bright colors and they feel SO affirming and i can't explain that, either.

Date: 2017-05-22 10:42 pm (UTC)
triesticity: (Default)
From: [personal profile] triesticity
Interesting. A while ago someone at work made a comment about how I always wear black or gray - which isn't strictly true but yes, I wear a lot of those colors, especially at work because it's just easier. I also feel like as a redhead with my complexion there are a lot of colors that don't look good on me, though yeah, blues/greens/purples do work and I do like/wear them, sometimes.

Date: 2017-05-24 02:04 pm (UTC)
melebeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] melebeth
Fascinating!

Date: 2017-05-25 05:26 pm (UTC)
drwex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drwex
blues, greens, purples, browns and black

So you just described my wardrobe except add a little bit of what I call "brick red" (like http://www.marshmallow-fondant.com/brick-red-fondant_htm_files/17049.jpg) and take out most of the greens.

To some degree that's a response to my skin color, which has a distinct yellow undertone and if I wear green or a few other colors I look jaundiced. I used to be called "swarthy" and I've had people from Iran mistake me for a countryman.

When I read the title, though, I thought this was going to be an entry about skin color and was afraid your parent was going to be one of those who is tolerant of other-color-skin people but not in relation to her daughter. In a sense, whew.

In another sense, I've never figured out why some parents feel compelled to comment endlessly on their (adult) childrens' choices in clothing, hair, and weight. I hope to hell I'm not one of those parents when my kids are fully out-of-the-house adult.

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