Tomorrow, I Shall Wear Purple

Found it. Wrinkly, but lavender.
Found it. Wrinkly, but lavender.

Or lavender, because I’m pretty sure I have a lavender sweater buried in my closet. For the past few days we’ve had record-setting heat trying to ruin my October bliss, but tomorrow the high is supposed to only hit 69 or 70 degrees. That’s outside. Inside my new workplace, maybe 50. Maybe.


That was a surprise. Turns out the boss gets hot in his office, one of only two with windows, and the staff pays the consequences. I don’t mind; I’d much rather be too cool than too hot, or deal with angry coworkers always adjusting the thermostat. I went through that once, with dueling menopausal women in a Cincinnati newsroom. D-r-a-m-a.  Too cool air is nothing a littler personal heater can’t fix, and you get one if the coolness is an issue. Just that simple.

I was proud to respond in yesterday’s meeting of the development team that yes, I already knew about the purple thing: Wednesday, Oct. 20 is “Spirit Day,” and all Americans are asked to wear purple to oppose the bullying of homosexual kids and teens.

I hope I don’t need to remind you of the recent spate of gay suicides, or the “It Gets Better” movement. If you’re unaware, there’s Google.

You don’t need any special level of sensitivity to be opposed to hate or bullying of anyone, especially children. However, if you grew up different in any way from your peers, you might have contemplated suicide a time or two. Or even homicide. Because teens’ emotions can be just that extreme. Man, there’s not enough money in the world to pay me to  be a teen again.

I can’t say I was bullied much about my weight. Sure, there were attempts, but that’s when I got into the few fights I’d ever had, and I always won. Bullying became a nonissue. I think it helped that my township’s school system was relatively small compared to the university-sized institutes teens attend today. If you had a certain rep, everyone knew it, good or no.

Not sure how or where I first heard about Spirit Day, which I was calling Purple Day, and noted in purple ink on my calendar. Maybe it’s the nurturing/codependent thing, but I’ve always been a champion of the underdog, and back in the day – and maybe still today? – some of the underdogs were gay.


Today, why, some of my best friends are gay. I’m not just saying that to be funny. (OK, I am.) It’s also true, when I think about it. And I have to pause and actually think about it, because their gayness is a nonissue. Now that I am thinking about it: my best friend from college is a lesbian; so are a few cousins, though they think folks don’t know it, and my sister-in-law; I have several gay workplace friends from back in the day, with whom I keep up on Facebook, and I’ve picked up several more gay acquaintances via FB.

And you know what? That’s probably where I first heard of Purple Day.

Time to get ready for work. I swear on a stack of bibles, I have no idea how I worked 40 hours a week and raised two small kiddies. Granted, I got a lot of help from the hubby, but it’s still a yeoman’s job.


But that’s a story for another day.

By the way, purple is big this fall. Just absolutely everywhere. You don’t have to have gay friends, or know gay people or children, to support a child or teen’s basic right to move freely and without harm among his or her peers.


So please, wear purple tomorrow. It’ll do your heart good.

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple. With a red had which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.  ~  opening line of the poem ‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.