I Want to Be Purple

Bipolar survivors are to be admired.  Bipolar is not for the weak. Carrie Fisher’s words: "At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication."

I myself want to be a purple thread in a toga of pure white.

The Roman Sumptuary Laws required that the clothes that the Romans wore displayed the status of the person wearing them. The clothes would indicate wealth and social standing. Roman citizens were the only ones allowed to wear togas.  Togas were formal wear.  Less formal were everyday Roman tunics.  Either on the toga or on the tunic, only men of great standing could be adorned with a purple stripe that would stand out against the pure whiteness.  Purple was highly prized, as it came from a snail in the Mediterranean, and some 10,000 of these snails were required for the purple band of a toga.

A Greek philosopher who was brought to Rome as a slave, Epictetus, wrote a story of a conversation between two Romans.  One did not want to attend one of Nero’s musical performances but dared not miss it.  The other said he would not attend.  He was asked why.  His response: "Because you consider yourself to be only one thread of those which are in the tunic. Well then it was fitting for you to take care how you should be like the rest of men, just as the thread has no design to be anything superior to the other threads. But I wish to be purple, that small part which is bright, and makes all the rest appear graceful and beautiful. Why then do you tell me to make myself like the many? And if I do, how shall I still be purple?"

I want to be purple.