The Faded Colors That Wear So Much More

Natalia - Austin, Texas
Entered on February 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in vintage.

I believe in the pink and yellow cotton-spandex outfit that I wore on my first grade picture day as a hand-me-down from my older sister. When all my friends had Power Rangers t-shirts, I still loved the Disney Jasmine dress my sister always wore before she grew out of it. I loved the soft feel of the fabric that had been broken into by my sister’s thin 7-year-old torso or Skip It-bruised chicken legs. I love the faded colors that wear so much more. They carry the stories of our childhood when we’d play kickball on the street or get grass stains climbing down from the tree house.

Since my childhood, I’ve always hated the scent of plastic toys—the scent of factories and their monotonous machines. They’d never touched the tile floor or suffered my little sister’s teething age. I definitely preferred the tiny dolls old women sold on sidewalks. They had hand-woven dresses with yarn braids and colorful shoes that smelled of the dirty streets of Mexico City and the broken feeling of callused, wrinkled, sunburned hands.

Today, in the time of Ikea and cookie-cutter houses, I prefer craftsmanship. I love the impurities of the old furniture in my grandparents’ house: the strokes of varnish still peeping from the corner of the dining room credenza, and the carvings of my mother’s childhood bed making me feel so small, making it look that much more comfortable.

I feel unwanted in modern living rooms. I feel as though I should not sit on a pearly white couch that looks more like a bench with a cushion that is really like a sheet of paper. I love the feel of a large fluffy couch that I can curl up into, and the distraction of an eighteenth century painting of the Virgin Mary above rustic furniture. I get bored and lost in a room of white and black; I prefer all the colors in between.

Perhaps dogs can teach us more than we think. My three-legged dog hates finished wood floors because he always slides on them. But he loves the old, unfinished wood floors of the 1940’s Austin house he now lives in. He even prefers the torn, fuzzy, braided rugs of our living room floor to his new fluffy dog pillow. But I don’t blame him; the rugs have a much warmer feeling. For a dog living in a modern age of hideous dog costumes and harsh, hot asphalt, Apollo prefers his long golden fur and delicate paws in the grass.

Apollo has taught me—among many things—that it’s okay to love vintage. I don’t need new jeans every time I spill grape juice on another pair. In an age of consumers, I want to reuse Momi’s old dresses Nonna made her. I want my boyfriend’s 1968 Ford Mustang. I want my latticed wood headboard from Mexico that I have grown up with. I want to adore what so many tend to forget and don’t care to love. All the olden things that everyone dismisses—that’s what I want.

In an age of modern, I want vintage.