YK’s 365 Release: Day 17

Growing up, red was my favorite color. I’m not certain who dressed me for my school outfits, but I’m pretty certain I had a say in it. My awesome school photograph outfits, as you can see, were red. Every single year. You can also see, my mother cut my hair in basically the same cut. Every single year.


(Sidebar: the reason I have a tuft of hair on top of my head in the second grade photo is because the night before the shoot I got gum stuck in my hair, so to avoid getting in trouble by my mother, who forbade us from chewing gum, I cut it off. I got in even bigger trouble obviously.)

In the middle of the fourth grade, my family moved to Korea where uniforms were required, so came an end to my red era.

When I was in the second grade, I went to a gifted summer school. It was designed to help children think further and outside of a traditional setting. I rode horses, did archery, and constantly participated in a flurry of innovative activities.

One day, we were asked to be in a competition. Mind you, this is before Korea and my trauma around competition (see Day 9). But you will see from this story, even before Korea, I was never much of a fan of competition in the first place.

We were shown three ribbons, first, second and third places. They were satiny and shiny, with gold lettering embossed upon each. I distinctly remember everyone ooohing and aaaahing over these simple prizes.

The competition involved us laying on our stomachs on large palettes with four wheels on them. Like body-sized skateboards. We were supposed to navigate through an obstacle course made with cones. The quickest to reach the finish line, won.

I was always physically energetic, and have always excelled at running, sprinting, things that involve speed. I was always the strongest of the group and I could always count on the natural dexterity of my body.

We each got on our palettes, the signal was given and we were off! The obstacle course was serpentine, zigzagging the entire width of the gymnasium. I shot away from the group and was leading very easily. Then it hit me. Wait a minute, first place was a blue ribbon, but second place was a red one. So all of a sudden, in the middle of the race, I came to a screeching halt on my body board. I waited for a few seconds, for those who had been trailing me, to catch up. As soon as the runner-up reached and passed me, I got back into the race. I went fast enough to stay ahead of third, but slow enough to remain in second. I didn’t care about first place, I wanted the red ribbon.

I made certain I came in second. And I got my red ribbon. I remember the kid who won the blue ribbon was gloatingly jubilant. The thing is, I was also rapturous over my red ribbon. I got exactly what I wanted.

day17Remember the times when life was this simple? When you just went for what made you happy, not for what other people thought was supposed to make you happy? That’s still how I try to live my life. Even if society tells me what first place is supposed to be, I will follow my heart and go with my own passion instead. I will never settle. Do not ever live someone else’s dream, live your own. Find your own red, and you will be happy.

On Day 17 of my 365 Release, I am releasing something that has deep historical significance in the color red, The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. I have this book because I believe we have many things to learn from ideologies across the board. I specifically believe this is important because we live in a country that is complacent with capitalism and founded on a system where the rich get richer at the expense of the poor. And I want to educate myself around radical ways that we can live outside of what we are told is the way to live. Sometimes, red is not just a color, sometimes it’s a whole way of life. We must each find our own red to find our own happiness.




[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

3 responses to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 17”

  1. […] Day 17 (9/24/10): book, The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx and Frederick Engels […]

  2. […] is to make you enter competitions. By now you know how much I abhor competition (see Day 9 and Day 17). Even so, I did win trophies and played for 10 years until I left […]

  3. […] twice), I couldn’t deal with how competitive it was. And as we know, I hate competition (see Day 17 and Day […]

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