I was just listening to a Chelsea Handler podcast while doing errands and her guest was a psychic medium. I’ve always loved Chelsea Handler but in the past year have really come to admire and identify with her as she has kind of been going through this journey of “auditing” and owning up to her demons, her flaws and taking ownership of who she is…who she thinks she should turn out to be. So her podcast is of that flavor and totally resonates.

Her guest today was talking about how sometimes people are born a certain way for a reason. That perhaps they are born into a family in which that person is vastly different than the family because the family needs transformation. She talked about how “purple” people are those people. I am a purple person in that I have had my aura read a couple times and that’s my aura color. I also have some blue.

Purple is the color of highly intuitive and creative people, often of psychic capability and vibrating at a higher energy than those around them. Purple people are incredibly spiritual ( not necessarily in religious terms) and are very tuned in to the feelings and thoughts of people around them. Purple people absorb all the energy and information around them and every action they take is for the intent of doing good even if that’s not how it plays out. Purple people are so open that others gravitate to them and know there is a safe space to express themselves which can occasionally make a purple person struggle with self protection barriers. We are explorers, empaths, find energy in nature.

Purple people often struggle in relationships. They come on strong and we are super attractive at first but can then become intimidating when we seem to understand everything about the other person, basically see through them and they know they can never truly know us back. People who have shame or guilt are particularly troubled around us because they sense we know what they are hiding. That explains so many of the personal and professional relationships I have struggled with through the years. I have always been positioned as maligned and when I think of the common denominator in all those dynamics, there was something a little bit unlovely and devious about them. I could always feel it. I never felt the need to call it out but when it was only the two of us in a room, there was nothing for them to hide behind. They knew I could see the parts of themselves they didn’t want seen. What’s sad about that is that I never would have exposed them or treated them badly. It was just something I knew and kept filed away for myself. It didn’t mean I couldn’t accept them in my life but they couldn’t accept me in theirs so it has often subjected me to being slandered, gossiped about and even labeled as crazy in relationships. My “crazy” was just about wanting “him” to acknowledge or admit what I already knew. I guess that’s why gaslighting enrages me. I have no ill intention. I just want my knowledge to be acknowledged and for it to deepen the connection so I can actually help that person. My intention is never to leave, chide or abandon.

I have spent my entire life wanting to fit in and to understand my purpose. Society tells me purpose is about being a wife and mother, neither of which I am. So what am I doing here other than idling and occupying space? When I heard the concept this morning about how purple people might be born into families who need a major narrative shift, things started to make a lot of sense. My family dynamic as a child is nearly unrecognizable to what it is now. My parents have never changed their ethics or integrity but the way in which they view the world and respond to people is nothing like what I grew up with.

I was never accepted for who I was growing up. I have written about that many times. I was emotional, challenging, passionate and outspoken. All of those are traits that not only my parents looked down upon but generations before them did as well. In their minds, the best thing they could do for me to prepare me for a successful outcome was to the try to change me and get all that “wrong” stuff out of my system. In fact, as a young child I had psychic abilities and knew deaths were coming before they happened. Deaths of family members as well as strangers and neighbors I barely knew. I always kept those thoughts and dreams to myself as I knew how incendiary it would be to share with my parents. It was bad enough they had me seeing a therapist by the age of six because all this passion, emotion and adult knowledge was not considered normal by them. They wanted to give me every tool they could find to help me find a way to “convert” myself into the quiet, obeying, cooperating sports playing child because that’s how all the normal kids were. They knew life was going to be so much harder on me and they have absolutely never been wrong about that. They were just wrong to fear it so badly that they handicapped my self-esteem which would be the one piece of armor I would have needed to get through it a little less unscathed.

The upside to all of it was that I fought “conversion” every step of the way. I used my therapist sessions to further embrace who I was and to get her to help my parents learn how to better work with it and make me feel accepted. Yeah, I was that smart as a kid. I didn’t fall for their game. I didn’t become more of who they wanted me to be. I became even further validated in just being myself. I had a therapist I saw every week where I got to be myself for an hour on Saturday mornings. And, I had my best friend Sally and her family who also accepted me for me. Those were my only 2 safe places but it was enough because I made it. I never changed. I never shoved my personality, desires, ideas into a closet.

The irony is that I always thought my sister playing hockey and eventually coming out as gay is what changed them and softened them. They were absolutely wonderful and accepting of her from the day she was born. She could make no bad choices. Everything she did interested them. She chose hockey and they loved that sport. She became really good at it and better than the boys she played with. They really enjoyed those years. While I cannot imagine the pain she endured her whole life of feeling different and not being able to share those feelings with anyone, I can say she did have a vastly different childhood from me despite there being only a six year difference. Whoever she knew she was, she definitely kept a good chunk of it hidden while I was balls out being myself and refusing to be snuffed out. She had my parents. I had Sally and my therapist.

I still had a rough road with my parents into my early 30s but they did become more accepting of my choices and they were able to acknowledge occasional pride at things I demonstrated I could be responsible about. Like, I think they never believed I would make rent or car payments by myself or on time or that I have any work ethic. I have never missed a bill payment. I learned my lesson in my early 20s when I didn’t pay off my Express credit card balance of $300 in a timely manner. When people talk about debt problems, they are talking tens of thousands of dollars. For me, usually under a thousand. Stressful for me but still pretty responsible. Also, I have yet to meet anyone with the intense work ethic I have outside my parents and siblings.

Today, I wondered if I actually made my sister’s road easier than it would have been had I been the complacent child. She would have had to be the first to challenge them and break them while doing it with the most sensitive of topics. Would they have had the easiest response to that if I hadn’t worn them down and prepared them for the fact not everyone fits into their little box? Based on who they had been to me, I honestly can’t say they would have responded to her in the way that she needed. I truly don’t believe they would have. I think they would have come around at some point because they are very good people. I just think they would have a lot of the wrong things first. They definitely would have pointed out to her that her life was going to be harder because of it. Instead, they spared her that statement understanding it wasn’t a choice she made. They did not spare me that. They always believed I chose to be “difficult” and chose to make my life hard. But thank God it was me they said it to and not her. I am sure she woke up every day knowing how hard her life would be and wishing something different. She didn’t need to be told. That would have been devastating and cruel for her.

It’s funny to know myself now as purple now since, technically, my favorite color is red. Looking back on my childhood, I insisted my bedroom walls be lavender and my bed set to have purple in it. It wasn’t easy to do lavender paint in the 80s. I even had a purple rug at one point. Serendipity I guess. There was also a pivotal moment once sitting in that bedroom floor in high school with a dear friend. She and her brother were being raised by a single mom. She never spoke much of her father other than that he lived in San Francisco and she didn’t see him often. One night she broke down and told me he was gay and HIV positive. Huge, adult topic we didn’t run into in our private Catholic school or suburban, perfect lawn neighborhoods. We cried together for hours. I cried and it had nothing to do with me. Like massive, snotty, wipe my nose on my sleeve all night cry. I just felt such immense pain for her and such empathy for the double life she had to live. Afterwards, I remember feeling really weird about my reaction. I also felt exhausted for days and really heavy. My parents told me and everyone else I was selfish so I wondered if I was somehow trying to make this my own drama. Today, I recalled that night and now know that was empathy. It was a sign that I was an empath. I just didn’t know that then. But it’s not unlike any reaction I have now to difficult things people share with me. It’s not hard for me to cry with them and carry their pain with me. I am not a crier in my own life. But for other people’s pain, it comes rather easily.

Anyway, some people don’t believe in this stuff and just chalk it up to one more thing which makes me crazy and that’s fine. I don’t need those people in my life. They are ordinary and stunted…the kind of person my parents originally thought it would be best for me to grow into. All the people who are in my life are deep and fascinating and multi-dimensional like me. I love my deep, rich, purple life and it makes a ton of sense to me that I served a purpose. Our family history in terms of how we behave and believe is forever altered and the new, better, more emotionally evolved dynamic is already infused into the next generation with my sister’s children who actually have a real shot at living a life of acceptance and getting to develop into who ever they are going to be with out fear or judgement or someone telling them how hard they are goi g to make life turn out for themselves. It’s not about being able to choose a life that’s easy or hard. It’s about being loved, supported and equipped to get through whatever challenges you face without being your own hater in a world full of people who will do it to you themselves. You need to be solid with yourself and that comes with the foundation of a healthy childhood and open parenting. That pain of my childhood, my parents’ childhood and whatever was wrought on their parents and generations before is done. It’s not passing on anymore. That is simply magnificent. That is “purple.”