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Purple Is

A digital image of a textured purple background, dark to the left and fading to pale on the right. On the right side of the image there is a crown of thorns.

By Emma Tindale

As a child, purple was everything pure:

The colour of Lent in the Catholic Church

The Bishop’s robe as he gave the sermon

Sunday mornings and sacrifice as we’d fast

Purple was my craving, giving into temptation. 

Purple was the matching outfits of three little girls

Sisters that rode imagined dragons, climbed trees, lived in jungles

Boundless imagination, enthusiasm for every game

Purple was exploration, innocence and awe. 

Purple was a prison, disguised as a high school

The art room that brought forward my creativity 

The purple library where we took refuge when classes didn’t appeal 

The institution that moulded us into refined Presbyterian women 

Purple was our rebellion, when none of us obliged. 

Purple was the hickeys from highschool boyfriends when my sexuality arose 

Conspicuous marks that concealer couldn’t camouflage

Purple was my abashed expression when my hair parted from my neck 

Revealing to all my weekend disgrace. 

Purple was strobe lights in clubs and parties when I began to drink

The lights that I chased around Europe when I travelled overseas

The bass of songs, the lurid flicker of lights

Purple became bad habits and tequila shots 

Purple never foresaw the hangover.

Purple was sexual liberation, exhilaration in the city

Purple glitter on my face through the Mardi Gras

The bodies, the dances, the sex, the floats—kissing women, pining for men

Purple was no longer the Catholic Church. 

Purple made me question everything. 

Purple was the dress I wore to the ball three weeks before a relationship fell apart 

Purple hung in my cupboard unwanted, drawing me back to the pain 

Reminding me of what was lost, engulfing my dejection

Purple was primary, blue and red, love and loss. 

Purple was the heartache that changed me. 

Purple has decorated moments of my life

Purple has contoured who I am. 

Purple has been pain, elation, solidarity, isolation. 

Purple is memories I’ve held onto and longed to forget. 

Purple is progress, an association to many of life’s events, momentous and trivial.

As I am, purple is everything.