The Color Green

James Prashant Fonseka
4 min readJan 29


I remember my first favorite color. Maybe that means it’s always been my favorite color. When I look back to those earliest thought-memories, that is: memories of thoughts, words, and idea; distinct from the memories of places, faces, feelings, and images that predate them, I wonder why I stated a favorite color at all. Is the idea of a favorite as natural as our perceptual distinguishing between red and blue? More likely, I suppose some adult, maybe family member or teacher, asked me about my favorite color. Something about preferences must be innate to our cognition for even the most juvenile of my cognition fully grasped what was being asked of me by favorite, and I remember by age four or five confidently stating that my favorite color was green. I didn’t hold firm on that preference for long, however.

In my earliest years I was easily swayed by popular opinion. I regret that now, but forgive myself. We all must forgive our adolescent selves, for it is those missteps and mistakes of youth that create the void we spend the rest of our lives filling. Suffice to say, green wasn’t a popular favorite color. It wasn’t that oddball of a choice, but I remember red and blue were quite a bit more popular. It puzzled me that the color of the gentle blades of Bethesda grass we rolled around in as kids were less appealing to my peers than the colors of medicine and Republicans — yes, politics were present in the minds of even the five year olds and Republicans were anathema in a town that voted 95% Democratic in the 90s. Perhaps finding myself already a bit more disconnected from my peers than I would have liked, I waffled on green and started to alternate between blue and green for favorite colors. For one, it is harder to find fault with blue.

In the previous paragraph I was trying to think of negative associations with the color blue and I honestly was grasping. With red, you think can of blood and gore. With green, squished bugs and the less wholesome products of the human body. Nevermind jealously and greed. But for blue, I’m stumped. Maybe bruises? But I think those are more purple. On the flip side there are many great associations with blue: the sky and the ocean (acknowledging that those two aren’t fully independent).

But still, I never said my favorite color as blue as strongly as I did green. At best, I said blue was one of my favorite colors, alongside green. To be fair there is a color space between blue and green, given that they are adjacent colors, and an area at which the line or definition blue or green may be indeterminate or vary amongst individuals. That’s definitely a mature adult intellect post-facto rationalizing the thoughts of a child; I may have been bright but I didn’t understand that nuance of those colors, beyond maybe an intuition that blue and green are closer to each other than red, which I now know to be a spectral fact. After years passed by when I was much older, I really flipped.

At one point, as my social and political ideologies evolved beyond what everyone I grew up around believed, I began to embrace the color red. I think I embraced red because it seemed a bit naughty and contrarian. At one point I may have asserted that red was my new favorite color. I don’t think that’s true. I think I’m really pan-color liking and that I genuinely like all colors. Aesthetically I like the color red and at this point in my life I wear a lot of outfits with black, red, and gold. But I don’t think red is or was my favorite color, and if I said it was, I would say that was more prefrontal cortex projection than an earnest assessment of deepest and most innate preferences. If asked my favorite color today, I would default back to that which I once said with the utmost clarity, unfettered by outside opinion: green.

This color did manifest in my impulse decision almost a year and ago to buy a bright green Lotus. I never thought I would buy or want a green car. I have considered almost every other loud color: purple, orange, yellow, baby blue, but never green. Yet there I was at the dealership looking at the last lot of Lotus Evoras ever to be built and the very last one, bright green on green cat scratches with a stitched yellow interior, spoke to me without doubt and I made a purchase of no regrets on the spot. Perhaps the bigger lesson is to learn to trust those earliest instincts.

In healing arts practices, it’s common to try to get the mind back to a youthful, nascent state to find our deepest joys and pleasure. As young children we learn like sponges and play, joy, and even the now so sought after state of being in flow come quite naturally to most children. Our greater tendency in society is to brush off those early experiences as childish, but I frankly think at times that adultish should be the greater insult. I see tremendous potential in looking back to our early selves when we feel lost as adults. These exercise won’t easily yield the answers to our toughest questions, but maybe start with the simple, like the favorite color.

My favorite color is green. My favorite color is green. My favorite color is green. It feels weird to say that out loud or even type it three times in a row. As I’ve developed I’ve become so squishy on my own preferences, deferring to flexibility and adaptability, probably with the intent to fit in. I rarely say I have a favorite anything. But today I feel re-empowered to stand on whatever beliefs, or favorites I may have. It’s okay to have a favorite, and it’s okay to have a less popular favorite — it only needs to matter to you.