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A very gray day

Today was–at least where I live–a very gray day. (We had a spectacular, fiery sunset minutes ago, but that’s a side note and not the purpose of this post. It was pretty darn spectacular, though!)

I had planned to do a number of errands on this very gray day, starting at the Canton Car Wash for a quick rinse then off to RoFo for gas. It wasn’t particularly cold or windy today, though it was chilly enough for me to don my silver-gray, wide-brimmed fur hat for an extra layer of warmth.

As I’d been sitting much of the day, I decided to stand while the gas was pumping. Just stand. Not look at my phone. Just stand. Look about.

I was feeling a wee bit conscious about my hat as it’s new to me and on the “Hi, I’m a big furry hat” side of the hat spectrum. I love my hat, and envision myself wearing this or similar hats for the rest of my cold-weather life, but I’ve found sometimes it takes a few times wearing something new to feel comfortable in it. I was on Day #2 of wearing said hat, and I was aware I was the only person at the dozen or so pumps who was wearing a big blueish fur hat.

I started looking at what people were wearing, especially their clothing color. Wherever my eyes looked (except for one young Black woman with a cute bright green hat and cute green pants to round out her outfit), with my blueish hat and rose-colored jacket, I was the only person wearing any color to speak of. Every — and I mean every (other than the green-hatted gal) person was wearing black, gray and dull-looking-on-this-gray-day neutrals.

I have nothing against neutrals; I love, appreciate and wear them, but everyone’s neutrals ‘should’ — in that weird word called ‘should’ — pop them, blend with their skin and look good on them … not make them looked washed out, as was the case in so many of the people I saw.

I had to wonder: Was it the gray sky and gray day that made everyone’s attire look so gray and dull today? Did people who normally wear more color choose grayish and bland neutrals to wear on this grayish day? Were things always like this and I simply hadn’t noticed before? I wondered.

Then I noticed the cars.

Every single — and I mean EVERY single–car in my sight was black or charcoal gray or gray or dirty white or dirty taupe. Not a single car had any pop of color … except for the ruby or garnet or whatever-color-they-call-it burgundy-ish color Subaru I drive.

Then, in my mind’s eye, I saw the whole picture: me with my big, blueish fur hat, rose-colored jacket, light-colored blue jeans, burgundy lipstick and garnet-colored car popping out in a sea of black and gray and charcoal and neutral-colored cars and similarly clothed people on this very gray day.

And this was all quite odd for me, for I have spent much of my life being colorless. (Not in personality, per se, but in–literally–color.) I have spent most of my life washing myself out of photos and scenarios in neutral, muted warm-color clothes that washed the natural coloring out of my skin; by driving in charcoal gray or goldish, neutral-colored cars; or by going months and years with barely any makeup or jewelry worn. I have stood behind tall people in group photos, intentionally. And I watched, as well, as I passed into midlife and menopause as my skin color and natural coloring seemed to fade at an even faster pace, and I did nothing about it.

But now I’m not who and what I was before. Now I wear color. And I know, for the most part (I’m still learning the nuances), which colors to wear. And I’m not afraid to wear colors because they’re the colors that complement me. And I’m not afraid to wear makeup for fear of drowning in it. And I’m not afraid to buy jewelry because I now know which metals and stones and sizes and shapes compliment me and my style better, and jewelry doesn’t languish in my drawers any longer.
And I’m most certainly not afraid to wear a silver-gray, wide-rimmed, yeah-I-look-Russian hat as I go about my suburban errands in my garnet Subaru on this very gray day.

I didn’t get the best photos this evening, but check out my friend April Fowler Gomez’s photo she just posted on FB. (Republished with her permission.)

Today’s sunset. Photo by April Fowler Gomez. St. Michael’s Maryland.





  • Deb Donofrio
    Posted December 8, 2023 at 1:00 am

    I love you. I remember so clearly the first time I met you. Camping at 5RHYTHMS. I felt your free spirit instantly. I couldn’t tell you what you were wearing because you were already as wonderfully colorful. Snd kind. And smart. And fun. 😘

    • Post Author
      Jessie Newburn
      Posted December 11, 2023 at 5:19 am

      Hah! I felt the same! Your free spirit and desire to embrace life. Can’t say I remember what you were wearing, either … but I do remember you were full of life! And fun!

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