I liked the color blue unconditionally until today. I live for the blue sky, which turns to neon peach in summer afternoons and falls asleep with the sleeping light on. I feel closer to the pretty sky knowing she’s ever-changing and clumsy like me. I wear blue clothes: striped blue-and-white button-down for days when I feel extra committed to work, asymmetrical periwinkle puffy-sleeved blouse, midnight-blue floral shirt I got to attend a music event where my crush was playing, and a light blue blazer calmly waiting for an invitation to a business event where it will camouflage my wonky demeanor. I’d pick lapis lazuli over amethyst. And so on.
I had only sweet sentiment for the color until I noticed that attention and yearning are blue. Those check marks on instant messaging apps turn blue to mark my worth for someone’s time. The circle next to our messages on another app won’t turn blue until they reach our significant other. On that same website, we restlessly wait until our post gets at least ten blue thumbs. The 280-characters ramblings of people with blue badges are somewhat verified while others’ are not (‘hear, hear!’ up the flag).
Pantone says blue calms the mind, associates with tranquility, and translates into an image of dependability and trust. I believe this is exactly why these social connectors use the color, to transform these acknowledgement into feed for your peace of mind and sense of accomplishment. Before that calm settles, though, insecurity pokes around. The color of Anxiety 2.0 is blue. I wonder how digital native kids handle it.
Come to think of it, I didn’t wear as many blue clothes as I do now. Ask my mom and she’ll tell you how black-and-white-and-brown I was. Have I been subconsciously swayed by the need for approval and likability, by conforming to the most adorable of all colors? Or have I merely made more efforts into appearing more fun? Doesn’t matter, I’m not buying more clothes this season anyway. But I’m holding my phone and setting this read-receipt off now. Let me set a smoother way to my own peace of mind, before they stop me from having that luxury.