Humans have strong scent memory. What’s your favorite smell, and what does it make you think of?.
I started to write a new post, topic in mind and everything, and there was this little link that said “Looking for inspiration? Inspire me!” So I let it, and then that quote was on the top of my post. After all, who am I to question the ways of the universe?
When I think of smells, my brain pretty much runs in the opposite direction of nice. I initially think of stinky things and unpleasant things. Unfortunate but true, regardless. If I let my brain relax, though, and I let the thoughts bubble up to the surface of my conscious, my answer is really clear.
I think of hairspray, and I think of fast food mixed with plastic toys. Which, in its own crazy and beautiful way, means I’m thinking of my family.
I remember the way I would dawdle in my mom’s bathroom while she got ready in the morning. I still do, on occasion, when I’m visiting. My sister is so so so not a morning person and this was the time that I had my mom all to myself. We would talk. I would ask random questions and she would give random answers. I would tell her whatever strange idea was bubbling in my brain and she would feed my momentum. Sometimes I would just sit there, watching the most beautiful woman I had ever seen as she transformed into an elevated, magnificent version of the figure I trusted and loved more than anything. An essential part of the morning routine was that she always uses hairspray. Not in epic, Southern proportions, but enough that it would smell like hairspray once she was finished arranging her coiffure. It’s a nice smell, and very indelibly linked to early morning memories shared with my mom, one of my all-time favorite people in the universe.
I remember the way my sister, who has the privilege and burden of being older by two years, dragged her untrusting and scared four-year-old little sister in the closet of their playroom with the promises of something really cool. I was terrified of the dark when I was little. Okay, let’s be real, I still am. Her attempts to cure this fear backfired pretty traumatically in the past but have turned into some hilarious family stories but this one was the best. She had gotten back from spending time with a friend and they had gone through a fast food drive through–a very rare treat for us. I could smell what she was about to show me in the dark, even before she uncupped her hands. It smelled like plastic mixed with greasy french fries–a smell that my brain still associates with calm and trust. Opening her hands, she revealed a tiny glow-in-the-dark troll. It was simple and plain, but it was the first time I had ever seen anything glow in the dark before. She let me hold it close to my face and I stood there, breathing in the probably toxic plastic grease and felt amazed that something could not only survive in the dark, but thrive–the darkness gave that toy its real purpose.
My family will be the first to tell you that I’m not a fan of Thanksgiving. It goes a long ways back and is a blend of rational, political, emotional, and personal reasons. They’ll argue that a lot of them are irrational, and I get that they don’t really understand why I don’t like this holiday to the extent that I take it. It’s okay–I don’t really get it either. They do, however, love me regardless. I’m not spending Thanksgiving with them. I’m actually spending it with David’s family which is a step up from my usual plan of moping around by my lonesome.
I may not be spending it with them, but I am thinking of them, and of how much I love them. Those two ladies are a vital part of my core, of my me-ness and I love them with a mighty powerful strength. Even more, I am very very very grateful for them.