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  • Writer's pictureAllison Canter

"Describe your pain as a color."

I could’ve gone my whole life without using this blog again. “What do I do with all of these emotions?” and “What even are my hobbies?” were the only thoughts rotating through my head when I clicked publish on my first blog. But the emotions evaporated eventually, and I realized that maybe my hobby was being heard as opposed to blogging. I was going to take the link out of my bio, leave it in my portfolio, and move on with my life. But I saw this TikTok, and it said, “Describe your pain in a color.”

And here we are.

The cycle of grief is something that I’ve become too familiar with too quickly. It was a rough 3 years. It was 3 years of changes that knocked me off of my feet. 3 years of deaths, losses, betrayals, frustration, and giving in.

But, it works out.


I’ve really only felt this type of pain on a handful of occasions, but each time I felt it, the pain wasn’t touch-and-go. I’ve known this part of grief to follow me around for several months before it turns into something else, slightly better. It wavers. There’s a series of days where you think you’ve made it out on the other side, only to be brought back into it at the sight of something arbitrary, like a show you were avoiding beginning to auto-play on Netflix.

On the bright side of this type of pain, each time I’ve experienced it I’ve gotten a lot better at going through it. But, no amount of preparation ever softens the initial blow of this kind of hurt. I’m not a crier, really. I think I’ve mentioned before that crying makes me uncomfortable because I’m not fond of being comforted - but I’m not sure, honestly I don’t proofread my blogs and I rarely read them after they’re published. But anyways, I’ve only really cried when it was accompanied by this kind of pain. I do cry every time I’m frustrated or I hear the opening to the Eras Tour, but I’ve never wept outside of something that feels like Blue does. The most insufferable time was when I was afraid of sleeping because my dreams would make me wake up sad in the middle of the night. The worst thing about Blue is that you can’t control it, it’s not like you want to feel that way. It’s not like it’s something that you’re used to. You have to let it run its course.

Actually, this is kind of funny, if you’re curious about what I’ve been up to in my free time (I’m sure this is something you think about a lot) I saw a TikTok about TMS therapy, and it’s a type of intensive mental health treatment where they’re essentially doing electromagnetic shock therapy on your brain. My experiences with this type of pain made me sign up for that! I wish I could put a heart eyes emoji here.


Add a shimmer of yellow light to your Blue pain and you get Green. The Green phase is a color that’s backed by a false sense of security that tends to be created by people with an overactive imagination. Green isn’t any less painful than Blue, it just feels less serious, more like a tough diagnosis, and less like a death sentence. There’s the initial Blue pain, and then there’s what seems to be a soft yellow light, but if you take that yellow light away, you’re just Blue.

This is starting to feel like that one Halsey song about Matty Healy.

Empty promises, signs that don’t mean anything, a good day out of 100 bad ones, a feeling that maybe they’re going to get better - all of it’s real when you’re in the moment. Of course, it is. It’s real, it’s just not significant.

I think this feeling is worse than the one that accompanies Blue, at least you’re confident about what’s happening when it’s Blue. But with Green, once it leaves you, you just feel stupid. You feel really stupid for thinking that you had more time, or that it all meant what you thought it did, or that it’d just work itself out. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, every single time I thought I wasn’t going to get through something, I did. But, there are also times when I thought it’d all magically solve itself, and that wasn’t the case, and that’s Green.


I remember praying to just be full of anger and resentment instead of full of longing and sadness. I could deal with anger, I could put that somewhere. I knew how to channel anger into something useful and at the end of the day, if I couldn’t make my pain useful, I didn’t want it. But, if you pray hard enough, anything’s possible. So I prayed for anger and got rage instead.

I wasn’t full of rage in the present tense, I was full of rage in hindsight. I was combing back through my memory and picking out moments where I should’ve stood up for myself. Times I should’ve walked away. Times I was consciously wrong but argued anyways, and times when I pretended to be wrong just because I wanted to go to bed. I didn’t know where to place my rage. Part of it came back at me, and another part of it was all but literally carved into my journal (if I ever suddenly die please just burn the journal).

I knew I deserved more, I knew I had been wronged by a lot of people. I knew there were people in that mix that were dead and others that weren’t accountable for me. I really only physically had myself to be angry at, and I took advantage of that. I was angry that I wasn’t delicate and soft when I spoke. I was angry that I didn’t find men funny anymore. I was angry that I convinced myself to believe things that I don’t. I was angry that I knew how to read tarot cards and still didn’t know the answer to my issues. I was angry that I’d accept an apology rather than brush it off. I was angry that I ran back home instead of dealing with my anxiety. I was angry that my dog was dead and I forgot to post a picture of her to my favorite song. The list was endless.

Luckily the rage wasn’t though. I’m actually getting heart palpations. Next topic.


Eventually, after a series of heightened, challenging emotions, you forfeit. You either decide to stop putting yourself at the head of an uphill battle or you go insane. I was actually probably going insane for a little bit in February. But it’s May, and I’m good. But in between losing my mind a little bit and the calmness I feel right now, there was a period of feeling nothing. I wasn’t sad anymore, truly, and I was rarely angry. I was still a little hurt over the events that took place during the last 3 years, but it wasn’t physically making me nauseous anymore. I was just floating. I had given up on fights I knew I just wouldn’t win. I was just burnt out. I couldn’t handle any more polarizing feelings or jumping from one extreme to the next. I was exhausted of being full of so much emotion all the time. I wasn’t okay with any of my outcomes at that time, but I didn’t care to advocate for something else.

Clearly, I’m not a private person. Honestly, I probably should consider becoming one. But on the contrary, I was in the process of making peace with things I don’t really even allude to. I was struggling with a lot of things that I was confident would always make me less than every other woman alive. Grey was numb and foggy, but I also didn’t know what to do, either. I’d been carrying a lot of excess energy and baggage around with me for most of my conscious adulthood. At the end of feeling this way, I decided that no amount of apathy towards myself would change things that already happened.


At some point, your pain becomes a part of you. I’m aware of how negative that sounds. But, eventually, the reflexes you developed as a response to what was hurting you become traits, and that’s not really a bad thing. Turning your pain into something other than a battle wound or a defense mechanism is actually pretty incredible.

If you can’t go home anymore, you have to find somewhere else to be from and another city that does it for you. It doesn’t matter if you had already found your favorite spots. It doesn’t matter what you think you’re entitled to. It’s arbitrary. You learn how to respond to harsh comments made about you as opposed to absorbing them and taking them at face value. You stop looking so hard for someone to fill a void. You find new hobbies, new favorite shows, and a new backyard to sit in. It all stems from the same emotion that was Blue, it’s just working with you instead of against you now. When you see it like that and you see the hurt as necessary, you begin to lose the whole color palette.

I saw a quote that said, “When I turned to face the grief, I realized it was just love in a heavy coat,” and it changed the way that I saw my pain. Pain and love are sort of the same thing if you think about it.

There are things that I learned about myself when accepting the different parts of my personality. I was never going to be delicate and quiet, no matter how hard I tried to be. There’s never been a point in my life where I wasn’t loud and invested in being a part of the conversation. A lot of times, I respond before I think. Depending on who you are, that’s a turn-off. Sometimes I can come on too strong. Not everybody who’s met me enjoyed the process. But at least I know how to apologize to people when they deserve it. At least I can make something out of all of this.


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