Pink Think: “Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen
Today, I’m going to do it.
It’s Sunday and I’m getting dressed for church. I will be wearing a bright (I kid you not) pink dress I bought last year from the Philippines. Whenever I wear it, I feel like I am back in the tropics again.
It needs just one little accessory: a flower tucked behind my ear.
But I can’t work up the courage to do it. I worry I’m going to look silly.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get to tag along to Puerto Rico when my husband attended a veterinary conference. For nearly a week, we stayed at this very nice resort. As I recall, it was in the middle of the winter in Utah, and Puerto Rico thawed me out to the core.
You stay a while in the tropics, one begins to lose one’s inhibitions. Something to do with the hotter temperature, I guess. I stopped blow drying my hair and let it go frizzy. I stopped for coconut impulsively outside the resort. I found a pretty pink flower clip and tucked it behind my ear, as I sipped the coconut juice.
On the plane ride home, my tropic high began to fade. I felt silly, wearing a flower in my hair. I cried as the plane descended, because I felt the magic of the tropics wearing off. Worse, I discovered I lost the clip somewhere between the plane and baggage claim.
It was okay. Somehow, wearing an accessory like a tropical flower behind your ear feels out of place in the desert landscape of Utah.
I found this hibiscus (‘gumamela’ in the Philippines) flower at a party store called Zurcher’s. It’s actually a napkin holder. I cut the long stem that you’d wrap around a napkin and hold it up to my hair. The flower matches my dress perfectly.
It’s time to go. With trembling fingers, I attach the flower on my hair with a hairpin.
There. Very tropical. Very me. I tell myself it’s okay. Most people will see the half of my head without the flower and it won’t be very noticeable. As we are getting out of the car at the church parking lot, my son (who had shopped at Zurcher’s with me) asks, “Mom, is that a napkin holder?”
“Er, yes,” I reply, red-faced.
I feel that somehow I am committing a sin by wearing something unorthodox to church. I resist the urge to take it off. I make it through two meetings. A couple of ladies compliment me.
My friend Debbie taps me on the shoulder just before sacrament meeting starts. “The flower in your hair,” she says, “how beautiful.”
I want to tell her it makes me feel more tropical, that it makes me happy, that it brings me back to the Philippines. I want to tell her that whenever I see women do it, I never think they are silly, that I think they are brave and are having more fun than the rest of us. That I think about doing it all the time, but I never work up the courage to do it. Until today.
But there is no time to chat, the meeting is starting.
I touch the flower in my hair and reply, simply, “Thanks.”