Today I went to a follow-up day for the Writing With Soul course I attended in October last year. Our focus of attention was Writing With Your Inner Child. Little Mandy came out of hiding and has had quite a day. The warm-up activity was called ‘A Coloured Memory’ and involved thinking of a colour that we positively associated with our childhood, recalling the memory and writing about it. Stream of consciousness style. Free-flow. No editing. No judgment.

As the activity was being set up and our wonderful facilitators shared their examples to get the creative juices flowing, my own mind was complelety blank. Nothing. Colours? Childhood? The shelves of my memory empty.

Still, l picked up my pen when we were asked to begin, looked at the blank page in front of me and then there it was. In bold capitals. Being written neatly and confidently in the top left of the page.

RED

Clearly there was something to say here. Something little Mandy knew which I didn’t. This is what she wrote.

“Red. The colour of my belonging. A red neck-tie sitting boldly around the collar of a white shirt. A new school. Growing up. Red tie for Red House. The best house of course. After all I was in it! Red House was my Gryffindor. I was in a tribe now. Visibly marked by my red tie.

Blue, green and yellow were the other houses. They became the competition. And competition was encouraged. House points. Who was winning? I remember my absolute delight when I was elected Red House Captain, an accolade I carried for many years. I liked being a leader even at such a young age. 11 years old. Red House Captain.

I’ve never really thought about it before but for me red is indeed the colour of my belonging. Being born in Lancashire, the county of the red rose, this makes absolute sense.

Such a basic human need. To belong.

Red is also the colour associated with the base energy center of the human energy field. Our anchor to earth. Our grounding. Where we create a sense of safety and trust in life. It’s the colour of the football team I grew up supporting. The colour of the bobble hat and scarf I used to wear to make it absolutely clear where my allegiance lie. The colour too of the political party my family sided with. All these aspects of belonging. Coloured-in in red. Quietly, silently even, red had played such a big part in my childhood. What a beautiful paradox. The stealth of such a loud colour.

I’ve always wanted to live in a house with a red front door without really understanding why. Now I do. Red, for me, is the colour of home.”

The warm up ended there. And now I was warm. I’d had a revelation. Red is the colour of home. Red is the colour of my belonging.

What about you? If you had to write about a colour that you positively associated with your childhood, what would you write? What would your coloured memory be? Why not have a play? It doesn’t take long and is rather fun. Let me know how you get on.