Last week I accessed my Google drive for the first time and found a bunch of things from my past: old labs, data sheets, little blurbs I had written in high school, and – perhaps most interestingly of all – my college application essay. It was an open response essay which meant that you could write whatever you wished. It’s an interesting little peek at who I used to be – it made me realize that I haven’t really changed all that much, at least in style. I also find it funny to read again because it’s pretty clear to me where my mother’s criticisms about having a more concrete, show-offy essay started to cramp my style – can you spot where?
Into the Blue
Color is a product of waves existing within the visible light spectrum. All colors fall within the range of low frequency red and high frequency violet. From a realistic perspective, that is all color is, nothing more, nothing less. Yet this view, this definition of color, limits its potential. With a little imagination and a touch of personal perspective, color can become a symbol for a whole world of meaning. In this manner, specific colors can reflect all the objects, ideas, and emotions that a person associates with them. Yet, of all the different hues and colors in the world, there lies a single color that is special to a person, a single color that a person associates himself with the most. In an attempt to understand a little more about myself, I sought the one color that holds that special meaning. I found, after analyzing myself and my life so far, that that color was blue.
When I think of the color blue, the first thing I imagine is a peaceful stretch of ocean. Its flow is calm and steady: nothing can disturb its relaxed waters. The blue of the water is simple, yet refined, holding a certain level of mystery within its deep color. Reflecting upon myself, I realize how well I match the cool, calm, and collected nature of that ocean. The blue of that ocean holds a profound sense of rationality, tranquility, and thought that truly characterizes my mind and personality. These characteristics make me somewhat quiet and reserved because I am constantly thinking about something or other, yet I find that I am still quite personable and always willing to have a conversation about anything.
Looking at blue from a more personal perspective, I realized that blue has been—and still is—a major part of my life. It has been present at many significant experiences and in many cherished objects in my life. Not to say that other colors were not present at those occasions or on those objects: it is simply that blue seems to be the significant color at many important times of my life.
When I think about where blue shows up in my life, I realize that it has been with me in just about everything. Blue was present in the waters of the pool that almost drowned me when I was a toddler. Ironically enough, blue was the color of the pool in which I overcame that trauma with the aid of my family and it is the color of my pool that I swim in everyday during the summer. Blue was the color of the old, crowded van that took the six members of my family on numerous road trips, and, even though it broke down a lot and was not the most reliable machine, we considered it our second home. That van holds years of family bonding and echoes the countless laughs that have been let loose from within. Blue was the color of my uniform when I started Catholic school. I was terrified of the nuns and it was the first time I had been separated from my mother, but luckily my older siblings were always there whenever I needed someone. Blue was the color of my favorite lunch bag in middle school. I was relatively new to Edison and I did not know anyone, but it was at lunch that I met many of my best friends that are still with me today. Blue was the color of my passport when I first visited my ancestral homeland of the Philippines and got acquainted with my family’s roots. That trip was the last time I saw my grandfather alive, and I treasure those memories with him. Blue was the color of a backdrop that was used by my Odyssey of the Mind team when we placed first at the regional and state tournaments and had the privilege of competing at the 2007 World Finals. Though we only got twentieth place out of fifty-nine, it was an experience that I will never forget. Blue was the color of the pen set I bought for my dad at the NASA Ames gift shop. To me, those pens are a reminder of the opportunity that was given to me to work for NASA and all the life lessons I gained by seizing that opportunity. Blue was the color of the sky as I looked out the window of the plane on my way back from California. It was the first time I had navigated an airport and traveled alone, and it was at that moment that I realized how independent I had become.
Each of these memories holds a special significance that has made a specific imprint upon my life. The color blue helps me to recall those memories and remember what those events really mean to me. To put it simply, blue does for me what madeleines did for Proust: it opens up a rich world of powerful memories and cognition.
Blue is a color. Color is a product of waves within the visible light spectrum. To some, that is all the color blue is and all that it will ever be. But for me, blue has become something beyond its definition. It has come to symbolize the values and memories I most appreciate and cherish; it has come to symbolize me. And as ironic as it may sound, I truly am happy to be blue.