What fills your lungs and clears your head?
Takes you somewhere better, brings you calm?
Fresh brewed coffee.
The spice store up the street.
All the stuff to open and sniff at the local Aveda spa.
A good man, freshly showered with a nice, simple soap.
Minty fresh breath.
Smoke and BBQ'ed meat from a back street rib joint.
Wild lilacs on a cool breeze.
Fresh ink on new paper.
Old books, much loved, with yellowed paper.
A pot of chili on a cold night.
Mulled wine on a colder one.
A baby's head.
The salt-rimmed shore of the ocean.
Fresh cut grass.
Honest sweat on that good man, mixed with the simple soap of his shower.
Clean laundry dried outside your childhood home.
Your mother's perfume (even if it made you sneeze).
Garlic and onions and cinnamon and peppers and cardamom
and cocoa and chili powder and vanilla
Sometimes, it is very simple things we need, we crave, we seek, when things are not going well. And the memory of scent can elevate us from a dark spot to one warmed by thoughts and pictures of better things gone by.
I've had a week that has been stained with tears I couldn't hold back, even when I tried with all my might. It's been a week of working behind a closed office door. A week when kindness from others has only served to bring on more tears. Hell, I looked at the big model dinosaur at work and it made me cry. It's a fake dinosaur, for crissakes.
There's this little, angry demon of doubt that has taken up residence in my gut, and as it kicks and struggles from within, it feels like a belly full of broken glass and ragged-clawed cancer—a cancer of distrust and uncertainty. It's something I cannot change. I cannot change what someone thinks of me. I cannot change someone's belief that I am lazy or useless or untalented. I know it's untrue. And fuck 'em if they can't see that.
This ugly sadness will pass, I know, and I will find myself again in that place where I feel right. Until then, I'll try a little homegrown aromatherapy voodoo to raise my spirits. I will breathe deeply and take in the good stuff, the simple stuff, the stuff that floods me with all the little pools of love.
I worked from home today in blissful quiet. First thing this morning, I made myself brew a pot of coffee just to fill the apartment with a little Starbucks vibe and find a better spot in my skull. I only drank a cup of the coffee, but that didn't matter. It cleared my head and I could pretend people I love were here with me, chatting, laughing, doing nothing and yet everything that makes me feel better.
Now, I'll mix myself some chai, sit on the balcony, and fill my lungs with the spices spinning in the glass. And in the darkness, punctuated by the crickets and owls and fading cicadas, I will tell myself everything is going to be okay. And I will hear those words in your voice. In my mother's voice. In my best friend's sweet voice. In all the voices that matter to me. And I will know I am not alone.