I enjoy color, whether it is my crisp clothes or the blinking light of my alarm clock. Like some grand accomplishment of constructing an Academy Awards outfit, I stare in awe at my closet, my source of pride. “Okay, school-bus yellow is darker than lemon yellow,” I tell myself as I meticulously rearrange my color-coordinated clothes. As I look at my variegated shirt selection, I revel in my need for joyous color and expression. Because, you see, my everyday life is colorless, gray – dark and full of challenges. Catching the bus at 6:35 (nope, no car for me) and helping my mom (single parent at that) cook, budget, and pinch pennies – these are the realities of life. It’s not unfair, but it’s hard nonetheless. I make the best of it in my search for color, my search for illustration, my search for self. Taking a look at my closet, which is essentially a reflection of my chirpy persona, one would notice that I own few solid shirts. That would be boring – the antithesis of everything I represent. I need vibrancy; I need sizzle; I need dimension. Plaids, stripes, and eye-boggling outfits fulfill this yearning. Each color contributes to my message. Although most guys would be frightened to wear one, I’m not afraid to sport a salmon-pink rugby shirt or a rich Tyrian purple T-shirt. Because my father was never around and I didn’t have the whole father-son experience with football and no-girls-allowed playhouses, my colorful world has taken a new hue. So, while the “big game” is on television, I knit my friends scarves, I cook my own dinner, and I organize my house. My life experiences have made me who I am: a person not afraid of ridicule and persecution as a result of my preferences. Though I am not afraid to wear anything, I do have a favorite shirt that totally represents who I am: a vintage lime-green T-shirt with horizontal tangerine strips. It is not pristine – scattered holes demonstrate its use – but it’s frequently worn nonetheless. The T-shirt is bright and distinctive. I love offbeat; I love to stand out. I wear who I am, not who others are. It is not just making a loud, aesthetic masterpiece for the eye, or getting the colors just right – it is an emotional longing, a joyous enthusiasm, a constant lifestyle. Color is not just color; it’s the fuel that ignites my bones. It is who I am: a vivid dreamer. I do not want to be black and white. I want to stand out; I want to shine. I want to be the neon colors that light the world.