After reading Self Portrait in Green by Marie Ndiaye, I could not help but to reflect on those green people in my life — those people who exist but, to me, somehow exist more than other individuals, if, of course, I could quantify the concept of existence relative to perceived presence in my life.
It would be difficult for me to describe what qualified as a green person. The book certainly does not give an exact definition; it describes a series of characters throughout the narrator’s life that transcends into a state of greenness. It would be completely possible these perceptions exist solely as a project of the narrator’s natural affinities towards the color green; sometimes, the existence of green people would be dependent on explicit articles of clothing that have the color green. the narrator notices to be green. But, even so, green exists as an abstract concept of a measure of relative existence. Even without the label of “green people,” there exists subjective hierarchies created around individual values.
It could be friends and family members that I have known for a long time. Individuals could ascend to a shade of green the same way individuals can “glow up” given a prolonged period of separation. Like Ndiaye, I also perceive the glow to be green but not through the same sight that defines my perception of the green on a leaf. Similar to how I sense individuals through the vibes they give, I can also perceive the strength of their existence relative to me my existence to my feeling of their greenness. When the glow becomes exceptionally strong, I could sometimes see the tangible manifestation of an intangible quality through my vision. Those perceptions are strictly limited.
Each individual values different qualities in others. But, unlike superficial qualities such as attractiveness, the lines drawn in existential admiration cannot be simplified into a series of factors with as little controllability as attractiveness.
Although their glow would not be explicitly green, Sometimes, they acquire a quality to them that allows them to glow a faint shade of green. Of course, because aesthetics is a matter of bridging the gap between the experience and the experienced, each individual’s perception of greenness differs greatly.
I, too, have a definitive set of experiences that I would prefer to see in others that would allow some individuals to exist more to me. I value experiences of sadness in others. I relish spending time with individuals who have experienced a notable amount of suffering in their lives, who do not view sadness as a quality that should be avoided in individuals.