Shauna started off our week with a tribute to Kurt Cobain on the 20th anniversary of his untimely death. Therefore, I’d like to bookend our week with my own tribute to Cobain by referencing Nirvana’s hit song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Wednesday night, I was taking a shower to try and flush out my sinuses. While I absolutely love Seattle in the spring, I do not like the many allergens that show up this time of year. I’ve been coughing, wheezing and itching all over for about a week. So, I thought taking a hot shower with some Eucalyptus oil would clear things up. While the steam did help considerably, I have a flair for the dramatic and often go overboard. So, I thought spraying perfume on at nine o’clock at night would also help to dilate my nasal blood vessels. So, I grabbed a bottle of perfume from the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. It is a fragrance that I never wear. I only still have the bottle because perfume is so expensive, I can’t ever imagine throwing it away.
I spritzed liberally, and guess what? It smelled like teen spirit…the teen spirit of one particular brown-haired girl who wore a burnt orange and olive green Abercrombie & Fitch sweater and was leaning against a tree. Her arms were crossed, but her smile wasn’t. Her green eyes were daring you to know her.
So, there I was, standing in the steamed bathroom with a towel on my head and a robe on my body thinking only of relief from seasonal allergies, and with one spritz, I was instantly catapulted back to my youth, remembering the portrait of Shauna in her senior picture.
Scent is a remarkable thing. It is commonly known as the sense with the most memory. I couldn’t believe how one perfume spray could recall from my preconscious a picture I hadn’t thought of in years. I decided then and there that any chance I get, I’m going to spray some perfume from the fragrance counter at Macy’s, or breathe deeply from a peony blossom, or inhale the citrus oils of an orange peel, or crack the lid off a coffee can, or peel the seal from a coriander tin, or sit in a car that is brand new, and drink in fragrance. I will let scent organically transport me to a time long forgotten. Then, I will sit for a moment and relish the thought of a life once lived remembering the shadows and highlights of that image and will be glad.
What scents do you love? Is there a memory you have any time you catch a whiff of something in particular? Tell us a story about it. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, these multiple images convey more than my original blog post could.
I’m a little stuck this morning. Stuck in the muck of comparison. What is the deal with women and comparison? I have all sorts of ideas around how our culture fuels this behavior, but I’ve begun to wonder if comparison is truly the big bad wolf. Perhaps comparing ourselves, our own stories, our bodies, our racial group, our socio-economic circumstances is inevitable in a world so filled with difference. Maybe there is no actual harm in comparison and instead the damage is more reflective of what we do with the differences we discover by comparison.
In the beginning of our development we sort out who we are by looking into the face of another. As human beings we are created with eyes that cannot see our own faces. We were created to see outside ourselves. Babies learn about their own emotions by scanning the faces of their primary caregivers. This process of searching the faces of others for their response and reaction to our own presence is how we develop a sense of ourselves and eventually a sense of separateness and individuality.
So perhaps comparison is an extension of that process. Perhaps it is a natural or instincutal component of our development. But the issue seems to be that we don’t always make neutral distinctions in our comparisons. They are loaded with judgments. In our culture, we often categorize differences into hierarchies. She wore that dress BETTER than the other celebrity. She is SKINNIER than me in a world where SKINNY=BEST more often than not. Her house is BIGGER and NICER than mine. She is SMARTER, SEXIER, WEALTHIER and ultimately SUPERIOR to me. Do you see the ranking system we have going on in our own little worlds? Instead of comparison revealing the beauty of difference – that there can be so many millions of beings on this planet and that no two are exactly alike (not physically and certainly not spiritually) – we opt to peer through a more destructive hierarchical lens that only leads to negative feelings towards the self or others. [···]