I turned the page on my calendar relieved. Hopeful. Ready to write about something lighter and happier than my January navy-blues.
So, let’s talk about orange. I know, tis the season for red, strawberry and chocolate but my heart belongs to orange.
It’s not the color that I love, it’s the flavor. Truth be told, I’m kind of citrus-snobby—Juicy clementines, yes please. Navel oranges, no thank you. My best affection goes to the cheap imitation—orange in all of its deliciously artificially sweetened varieties.
If I were watching a movie of my life right this very moment, I’d be lying on a couch in a therapist’s office reliving my childhood.
“It all started with baby aspirin,” I’d divulge sheepishly. “I’d tell my mom I was sick just so I could eat some chewables. Once medicated according to the directions, I’d sneak extras from the non-child safe bottle.”
Then I’d recount how my aunt kept a stash of jelly-like orange candy, shaped like fruit sections and covered with sugar crystals. They were tucked away in the corner of her cupboard and when she took them out for my visits, I’d eat the whole bag.
After a pause, I’d affectionately recall our family tradition of Friday night grocery shopping and my mom’s “yes” when I added a big bottle of Faygo orange pop or a box of orange Creamsicles on a stick to the cart.
“Later, I discovered orange rolls in the refrigerated aisle, the kind you bake and frost,” I’d muse dreamily, then sadly add how I miss them since they vanished off the shelves after the pandemic.
And, I’m a huge fan of orange Skittles, Starburst, Trolli gummy worms and now, thanks to my son-in-law, Sour Patch Kids. “I eat all the orange ones and give the rest of the bag to him because I’m so generous!” I’d confide, grinning like a naughty kid.
I’m taking a class this semester about Play Therapy because one way or the other, almost everything circles back to our childhood stories and the stories before our stories. That’s called epigenetics and it’s full of intrigue about the mysterious transmissions of gene expressions between generations. Maybe even related to food preferences?
I wonder if my mom loved orange too… I wish I could ask her. I wish I’d been more curious about her ordinary stories—the everyday experiences that made her life sweeter.
My professor says, “If you’re going to be a counselor, you can’t take anyone further on their healing journey than you’ve gone yourself.” So, we do a bunch of exercises to get acquainted with our own inner kingdoms, our mental narrators and the language our bodies speak. We use the palette of our senses– what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell, together in symbiotic relationship, to ground us in the present and illuminate the past. By God’s grand design, our olfactory nerve is direct wired to our brain and viscerally connects scents with associated memories.
And right now, I smell orange.
What’s the point of this meandering rumination? There’s something worthwhile in wondering about your story, in non-judgmental observation of what you’ve loved. There’s something life giving in being curious about who you were and how it impacts who you are now. Orange and I, we go way back. We’re pals. And as my Instagram friend Kate Bowler would say, that’s a “Good Enough” thought to inaugurate this new month with.