Gifts Outside the Comfort Zone: A Letter to You

Text: Danielle Smith // Illustration: Annelie Tesch 


The last word that would describe my aesthetic taste is colorful.


Here I am what you’d probably call highly-sensitive to what I perceive as the abrasive brightness of color and instead tend toward warm neutrals and natural textures, certainly nothing that would stand out or distract.


Such a dull and muted color palette evokes for me what the Danes call hygge. A coziness that comes from a roaring fireplace, lit candles on a dark winter night, or a warm cup of tea and a book. Somehow in these hygge moments, the comfort each of these little things provide have the power to speak to my soul about what is safe. Just like my neutral colors.


If I’m honest, my beloved beiges and whites are actually quite boring. But for me, so calming and comfortable.


To leave my safe, trusted and familiar is uncomfortable. To deviate from my tastes, my inclinations is just like leaving the comfort of my calming, cozy apartment not knowing what might be lurking around the corner, just several meters away. Different can sometimes feel threatening.


This edition is about leaning in toward diversity, both the beauty and the messiness when each of our inherent differences coincide. It’s about accepting these differences, in both ourselves and others, and realizing that at the end of the day, it’s different that we all have in common. And it’s precisely these unique differences that make up our humanity, mirroring the timeless eternity within every human heart. 


Most of us would probably agree to being open and accepting of others whose background, beliefs and culture are unlike our own. Perhaps you’re someone who even prides herself for being especially tolerant of different. Most of us could probably even recount stories of times we’ve encountered diversity and how the experience influenced us for the better.


But how often do we pursue what is different, foreign or misunderstood at the cost of our own comfort? And not simply tolerating different, but rather leaving one’s familiar to enter someone else’s safe. Leaning in to embrace the embodiment of a culture, whose colors, smells, tastes, and sounds mean home to someone else, all for the sake of knowing, understanding and loving another. What could it look like when the diversity of our home cultures, tastes, situations, and beauty was celebrated and sought after in this way?


Morgen Harpor Nichols recently wrote on her blog, “I think unity is a matter of bringing the raw ingredients of our differences to the kitchen table. And at that kitchen table, we will look at all of our ingredients, and we will realize, it’s actually pretty difficult, messy, time-consuming, and energy-consuming trying to make all of this work together.” The end meal most certainly won’t evoke the hygge feeling I imagine, served on a minimalistic table, linen tablecloth, and simple white dishware, all around a single lit candle of course.


We know the courage it takes to leave the comfort of what one knows and to posture oneself entirely different to learn, listen and receive from others unlike oneself. We also see the loneliness when one’s background, race, or simple differences are not embraced by others nor celebrated within oneself. Wherever you find yourself on this spectrum today, the one in need of different, the one longing to be accepted for her differences, or perhaps the one still needing to accept her own uniqueness, we’ve curated this edition especially for you.


Bonita shares with us how she boldly celebrates the beauty of her skin color, despite lifelong encounters with racism. Kaila accounts her formative years of growing up and feeling on the fringes of almost every friend group. Franzi writes about the way she has even misunderstood herself and the hidden diversity that lives in each one of us. And Carina reflects on her freedom from the categories her dual-citizenship had reduced her to, and how she no longer must hide her unique differences of the two cultures that reside within her. Each of our authors share their unique experiences and challenges as colorful painters and the mutual faith that grounds them.


We believe a perspective that’s unafraid of a splash of color is one worth opening up to, that it enrichens our worldview and increases our love and understanding for our neighbor. And in doing so, as our author Bonita puts it, we “gain the world.”


Welcome, Buntmalerin, to Wildblume’s second edition.