I’m something of a pen thief. If someone hands me a really awesome pen, the kind of pen that rolls smoothly across the page without smearing and seems to suggest beautiful things will come naturally to one’s head when one uses it, I’m liable to slip it into my purse without thinking and only later realize my transgression.
And then keep that pen for five years.
One such pen is a light blue ballpoint that has lasted me since study hall my senior year of high school when I accidentally stole it from Ashleigh H. (I’ll probably apologize to her at our five year reunion.) It’s lived in my pencil case ever since, usually employed to note important events in my beloved planner (which, as we’ve established, I love to color code).
Freshman year of college, I designated this blue pen for events pertaining to the Catholic student center where I spent most of my free time. Dinners, movie nights, youth group, etc. were all recorded in light blue ballpoint, next to the green fountain pen reserved for work and the orange highlighter that means something horrible like a test or a huge paper is about to happen. Through the beginning of sophomore year, I associated blue with this student center, and because this place was such a huge part of my life, blue showed up a lot in my planners.
Then, midway through sophomore year, a Really Big Conflict arose. The details are a story for another time, as is the extent of the fallout, but it involved A Certain Person from the student center, and led to me pulling away from some of that involvement.
I fought with a lot of mental murkiness following this Really Big Conflict. I fought to regain my faith, and I fought to maintain friendships, and I fought to keep the community that had become central to my college life. Things have gotten better – a lot better – in the year and a half since.
But I realized that I stopped using blue.
The events I still went to at the center were labeled in plain black. Even my blue highlighter was getting far less use. Green, which now represented a job I love, made me happy, but when I flipped a page in my planner and found an event I’d written months earlier in blue, I flinched. I was avoiding a color I’d chosen originally for its calming qualities!
So I’ve made an Executive Decision. I am reassigning blue. Blue is now for things that are good for me, things that help me with self care, things that make me happy. My anniversary with the Engineer, for instance, or my dad’s wedding, or a girls’ weekend with the Southern Belle. (I might even put some dinners at the Catholic student center in blue again.)
I am reclaiming blue. And it does feel good to write with that wonderful pen again.